While many are struggling to see what they can make out of singer David Bowie's controversial "The Next Day" music video, which features Jesus in a bizarre lounge with scantily clad women, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League called it "a mess."
"David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long. The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women," Donohue writes, commentating on the music video.
He notes the several bizarre scenes in the video, which feature actor Gary Oldman playing a corrupt priest and actress Marion Cotillard as one of the lounge-girls. The priest hits a homeless man, people inside the lounge participate in self-flagellation, some kiss the hands of what appears to be a Catholic bishop, others are served eyeballs for dinner, and there is plenty of blood and semi-nudity. Bowie himself appears as a Jesus-like figure singing in the background with an angelic light over his head.
Some of the lyrics include:
"First they give you everything that you want
Then they take back everything that you have
They live upon their feet and they die upon their knees
They can work with satan while they dress like the saints
They know God exists for the devil told them so
They scream my name aloud down into the well below"
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has also denounced the video, saying in The Telegraph, "Frankly, I don't get offended by such juvenilia – Christians should have the courage to rise above offensive language although I hope Bowie will recognize that he may be upsetting some people."
Bowie has admitted that he finds himself confused when it comes to religion and spirituality, but said that he is leaning toward atheism.
"Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It's because I'm not quite an atheist and it worries me. There's that little bit that holds on: Well, I'm almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months," the singer said in an interview a number of years ago.
Donohue cited Bowie's internal questioning when it comes to religion, but suggested that "The Next Day" shows that the singer is still thinking about Roman Catholicism, meaning "there is hope for him yet."