Madonna, a subject of controversy in many religious circles, said she wants to be Jesus.
Months after outraging Christians for her performance of hanging on a cross during her recent "Confessions" world tour, the American diva said, "For me we all need to be Jesus in our time," in an interview with Sirius Satellite radio.
Christians condemned Madonnas performance last fall, where she wore a crown of thorns while appearing crucified on a mirrored cross.
The Roman Catholic Church and Muslim and Jewish leaders said the act was "disrespectful," especially when her tour hit Rome's Olympic stadium, just a couple of miles from the Vatican.
Some believed Madonna's act was "Christ-bashing," as Catholic League President Bill Donohue had said. But the singer's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, said at the time that it was not mean to be negative or disrespectful toward the church. The performance, rather, was communicating Jesus' teaching of "loving thy neighbor and tolerance"
Madonna reiterated her message in the latest interview.
"Of course some people thought, 'Oh, she's just being controversial, she's just getting on a cross and trying to [anger] people ... 'but that wasn't my intention at all," she said.
"Jesus' message was to love your neighbor as yourself, and there are people in need. I hope that people got that message," Madonna explained.
Jesus is not the only figure the singer wants to model after. She further stated that she wants "to be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King and John Lennon.
"But I want to stay alive," she added.
At the end of the tour, NBC was scheduled to broadcast the "Confessions" tour in November. Avoiding confrontation with religious groups, the television network had decided not to show the crucifixion scene.