Lady Gaga Rides Religious Spectacle to the Top of Billboard Charts

Lady Gaga's latest album Born This Way, featuring the gay-affirming title track and the twisted love song "Judas," has sold over a 1 million copies within its first week and is number one on the Billboard charts.

The controversial sophomore album Born This Way, outdid record label estimates which originally guessed it would sell about 400,000 copies, then 700,000 copies in its first week. The now platinum album has sold 1,108,000 copies, the biggest one-week debut since rap artist 50 Cent's 2005 album The Massacre sold 1,141,000.

Gaga now exists among an elite group of musical artists.

Since Billboard's SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991, only 17 albums (including Gaga's), have sold a million in under a week. An even more exclusive group is that of the women who have achieved the honor. Gaga now sits in the company of female artists such as Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Norah Jones and Taylor Swift who have all attained the million-copies-sold status.

Gaga's album is still quite different from any of their albums.

It's doubtful that Jones' folksy jazz album Feels Like Home, depicted a love triangle between Judas Iscariot, Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ as does the single "Judas." It's also doubtful that Houston's soulful "Bodyguard" movie soundtrack heralded the homosexual lifestyle in a music video mimicking a woman giving birth.

No, Born This Way with its heavy religious metaphors, constant mention of Jesus and gay anthem is in a class of its own. The album has drawn criticism from conservatives and faith leaders who say Gaga is misusing the Bible for shock value.

Matt Philbin, managing editor of the conservative Culture and Media Institute, said in a statement to The Christian Post, "Gaga trades in shock, so a song identifying with Jesus' betrayer is hardly surprising."

Philbin also said of the title song, "As a liberal, she's happy to assert that God doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't, as long as it furthers the social agenda of her gay fan base."

The singer, who often preforms in colorful wigs, fake blood and bizarre runway couture, defends her work saying she is merely an artist.

In an interview addressing her detractors, Gaga questioned, "Is it that you believe that I am attention-seeking or shock for shock's sake, or is it just that it's been a long time since someone has embraced the art form the way that I have?"

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donahue asserts that Gaga, raised a Roman Catholic, is exploiting the Christian faith for her own gain.

"This is a stunt," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "She is trying to rip off Christian idolatry to shore up her talentless, mundane and boring performances."

Gaga first ignited religious passions with her song "Born This Way."

In the song now billed as the gay anthem, she sings, "It doesn't matter if you love him or Capital H-I-M/ just put your paws up/ because you were born this way baby." Gaga also emerged from a giant plastic egg to sing the song at the Grammy's.

Just as her "Born This Way" antics were fading from the media, Gaga re-emerged in the Judas music video, riding with the 12 disciples' motorcycle gang and washing the feet of a mock Jesus wearing a crown of thorns atop braids.

She concluded the video by being stoned for her love of Judas.

"It's about constantly walking towards the light in my life, but always clutching onto the light while peering towards the devil in the back," Gaga told the Skorpion Show

The album, which went on sale last week, was heavily promoted on Zynga's Farmville, Good Morning America's summer concert series, and in retailers like Starbucks, CVS and Walgreens. She also performed on Saturday Night Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Idol.

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