About 85 percent of U.S. Christian bookstores are refusing to carry P.O.D.'s (Payable on Death) latest self-titled album. The problem doesn't deal with P.O.D.'s musical content within the album but the cover artwork, "which depicts a naked woman with butterfly wings, her arms crossed over her breasts and a banner with the word "Sanctus" - a Latin word for the sung part of the preface in Mass - across her nether region," according to MTV News.
More specifically, the bookstores are dissatisfied with the visibility of the woman's pubic bone and the using of the sacred word "Sanctus" in a sexual context, according to P.O.D.'s spokesman.
The bookstores would agree to carry the album under the conditon that the cover artwork would be modified. However, the spokesman for P.O.D. reported that they refused to change the cover artwork. The band laments the lost of support from the church pertaining to artwork most of all.
"This is sad, not because P.O.D. needs to be carried in those stores, but because for thousands of years the church led the world in great art and music," the band said in a statement on its Web site.
A similar happening occurred four years ago, when numerous Christian bookstores refused to carry the band's major-label debut, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown due to issues with the artwork on the album cover. The cover features a man sitting cross-legged with open cavices on his head and body. There are many more elements to the artwork on the cover including a dove dropping an olive leaf into the open hole on the man's head and a cleanly severed arm pulling something holding onto a rope extending from the body. According to MTV News, the artwork was replaced with an all-black cover upon the request of the stores which would not carry the album otherwise.
Payable on Death was released to retail on November 14, 2003.