Christians in the Philippines are speaking out against upcoming concerts by Lady Gaga, arguing that the singer has a negative influence on young Filipinos because her attitude promotes "godlessness."
Catholic leaders are now calling on religious groups to boycott Gaga's upcoming concerts, which are part of her "Born This Way" tour in Manila, scheduled for Pasay City on May 21 and 22.
"Her attitude seems to promote godlessness, offensive to any religion," Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, a member of the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, told reporters, according to Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"People have the duty to discern the quality of entertainment […] Christians must exercise self-censorship to avoid shows that are harmful to their faith," Bastes added.
Gaga has been known for her edgy styles and her penchant for getting nearly naked on stage. Many compare her to pop artist Madonna, and her lyrics are often criticized as being blasphemous.
For example, her 2011 song "Judas" includes the lyrics: "Jesus is my virtue, Judas is the demon I cling to."
In the music video accompanying the single, the 25-year-old singer dresses as Mary Magdalene.
The Philippines is not the first Asian country to express skepticism of Gaga's performances. Recently, authorities banned Gaga from performing her June 3 concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, making her the first foreign artist to ever be denied a concert permit by state authorities.
Powerful Islamist groups in the country argue that Gaga's blasphemous lyrics are corrupting to the morals of Indonesian youth, even though her Jakarta concert has sold out.
South Korea banned underage teens from attending Gaga's Seoul concert in late April.
According to The Associated Press, about 70 members of a group called Biblemode Youth Philippines staged an anti-Gaga rally on Friday, gathering in front of the Pasay City Hall. The youth chanted "Stop the Lady Gaga concerts," even though authorities promised that the singer's outfits and acts would remain modest.
The protest's leader and former Philippine Congressman Benny Abante told the AP that he plans to sue Gaga and the concert's organizers if Gaga performs "Judas" at her Philippine concerts.
The Philippines, which is 85 percent Christian, mostly of which are Catholic, remains very protective of its religious identity.
"We believe that this concert is grossly blasphemous, immoral, lewd, obscene and carries demonic and occultic undertones that are insults to our God and are direct attacks against our Christian faith," Fred Magbanua, a Christian leader, said at a United Christian Groups press conference in Mandaluyong City, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
According to the AP, the Rev. Reyzel Cayanan from Biblemode Youth Philippines will lead another protest, accompanied by a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening.