Marilyn Manson's appearance at Kanye West's Sunday Service receives mixed reaction from Christians
Manson appeared on stage with West, who now goes by the name Ye, and singer Justin Bieber at a Sunday service this past weekend. Pictures of the event show Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, leading a prayer circle with West and Bieber, and nodding as Bieber proclaimed, “we cast out any demonic presence on this day in the name of Jesus.”
While some Christians praised Manson’s appearance at the event as a possible example of redemption, others concluded that it might be inappropriate for such an event to prominently feature a celebrity who is alleged to have committed multiple acts of sexual assault.
Speaking to the Daily Beast, Blair Preston, who described himself as a devout Christian, remarked that “Christians love a big redemption story.”
“[I]f Marilyn is going down that path of, ‘I need to get back in the public’s good graces,’ Christians are going to be in a frenzy over that, like, ‘God converted Marilyn Manson.’ Or Kanye West converted Marilyn Manson, because right now, there’s a lot of publicity about Kanye getting him there in the first place,” Preston added.
While Christian radio host J Love agreed that forgiveness and redemption are important to Christianity, he told the Daily Beast that “If he’s guilty, whatever the penalty for that is, then absolutely you should pay that. Forgiveness doesn’t mean lack of accountability.”
Earlier this year, several women came forward with sexual abuse allegations against Manson, beginning with his ex-fiancée, actress Evan Rachel Wood. In 2018, Wood detailed the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of Manson in testimony before Congress, without actually naming him.
The actress recalled “the toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me, raping what he believed to be my unconscious body.” Wood named Manson as her abuser in a February Instagram story, referring to him as a “dangerous man.”
Shortly after Wood identified Manson as her abuser, singer Phoebe Bridgers recounted a visit to his house as a teenager, where he bragged about having a “rape room.” At around the same time, singer Ellie Rowsell took to Twitter to reveal that after meeting Manson backstage a few years earlier, she realized that “he was filming up my skirt with a gopro.” She lamented that “There were no repercussions for his behavior, his tour manager simply said ‘he does this kind of thing all the time.’”
Actress Esme Bianco, who once dated Manson, also accused the rocker of inflicting sexual and emotional abuse on her. She told her story to New York magazine, which reported that “he repeatedly cut her torso with a knife” and sent pictures of her cuts to his assistants and bandmates. Bianco later filed a lawsuit accusing the singer of raping and beating her.
Another one of Manson’s ex-girlfriends, Ashley Morgan Smithline, lobbed similar allegations against him, claiming that he whipped, cut and sexually assaulted her throughout their relationship. Shortly after her claims were documented in a People magazine cover story, Smithline filed a lawsuit against Manson, which included claims that he bit and burned her.
For his part, Manson has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. He has also denied that he was a minister in the Church of Satan. When former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly identified the singer as such in a 2001 interview, Manson pushed back: “It was a friend of mine, who’s now dead, who was … a philosopher that I … learned a lot from and that was a title that I was given. So a lot of people made a lot out of it.”
Manson maintained that it was “not a real job.” O’Reilly also confronted Manson for engaging “in a sex act with another man on a stage in Miami.” The singer responded by saying “to a certain degree,” adding, “it wasn’t so much a formal sex act” because “no one was aroused.”
Throughout the 20-year-old interview, O’Reilly raised questions about Manson’s influence on children and society, specifically expressing concern about the vulgar lyrics in his music, the “sexual imagery” in his performances and the perception that his music encouraged people to commit suicide.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org