Pray away the Gaga

photo: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

Christians attend a prayer meeting being held as they pray to stop the concert of Lady Gaga, at a church in Seoul April 22, 2012. The Christians blame Lady Gaga for promoting indecency and "homosexual love." Gaga performed live in Seoul today, despite the incantations. Below, her performance during the MTV Video Music Aid Japan event in Chiba, near Tokyo, last year.

photo: Reuters/Issei Kato


  1. So many questions…like wouldn’t you say to yourself “Gee, God totally didn’t listen to us in any way shape or form and the concert went off without a hitch, maybe we’re wrong”?  or is logical thinking just too big a leap of faith (get it) for people who believe in a fairy tale to make?

    1. It’s also possible that God actually likes Lady Gaga. A bit of a stretch, I admit, but not impossible at all. His taste in music is likely as ineffable as everything else about him.

      1. Ineffable, really?  Maybe you haven’t heard the stuff His mega-church congregations sing, it’s amateur night every night, and then some.

          1. Speaking from my own heart, if John Coltrane didn’t tickle His fancy, nobody yet has.

            But then again, nobody ever saw any devout Far Orient Christians protest the arrival of John Coltrane back in 1966.

            I shudder to think about what my life would be like today, if certain things were erased from my trajectory and experience.  One of them is John Coltrane in general, his album “A Love Supreme” in particular.

            Anyway, YouTube audio link, Coltrane live in Japan, “My Favorite Things”.

      2.  most probably he is a Motorhead fan, evidenced by the fact that Lemmy Kilmister defied all odds and survived a life time of being Lemmy Killmister.

    2. Belief in magic stuck around so long because of the idea that if it didn’t work, you must have done it wrong.

      1. Lady Gaga herself constantly plays with the modern mythology of the Illuminati and associated magickal and mind-control themes. Here is a guide to the symbology. (One need not believe in the referents to be able to read the symbols.)

      2. [The post I made here before got eaten. Edit: and now it’s back. ]
        [ Edit2: …and now it’s gone again after I changed one preposition in the original post . It’s a Disqus-ting. ]
        [ Edit3: …and back again.]

    3.  That’s the whole point of religious faith- the less it works, the more you believe in it. The less evidence there is, the more of a virtue it is to believe anyway. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

    4. Remember Pat Robertson praying on television for “an opening on the Supreme Court”?  Not-so-secret code for elderly liberal Justice John Paul Stevens to retire or die.  As it turned out, Nixon appointee William Rehnquist retired, so a conservative was replaced by another conservative, John Roberts.

      Robertson went at it again:  “We thank you Lord for your less-than-stellar job recently, but we need a real opening on the Supreme Court.”  Soon after, Reagan appointee and swing voter Sandra Day O’Connor retired, replaced by shithead Sam Alito, so chalk one up for the conservatives.

      Now Obama has replaced conservative Souther and liberal Stevens not with two more WASPs, but with two females, one of them a Latina.  And still that court is skewed to the right, but anyway…

      Take heed, Jesus freaks:  the god of the desert does not care about your petty petitions stemming from political viewpoints and saccharine moralisms.

      1. God is certainly not some supernatural room service that will fulfill your every request. Praying is good, but you’re still not getting a free Ferrari. And praying for someone’s death is about as wrong as it can possibly get. (And did he really say “less-than stellar”? If so, he clearly believes much stronger in his own righteousness than in God’s.)

    5.  See, that’s when they trot-out the “God’s will” and “God has a purpose” tropes. It’s a win-win for God, really. If the concert is canceled, they shout about “Prayers being answered”. Concert goes as planned, it’s “God’s mysterious will.” Either way, it’s a moment of praise.

    6. Praying serves many functions besides the supernatural one. People are extremely social – even political- animals.  If someone is praying in public (you know where they speak the prayer) they are expressing all sorts of things to their peers they may not have an easy way to express otherwise. Most churches are built with a podium upfront. They can say “please god give me the strength and money to fight this cancer” whereas it sounds demanding and grabby without the please god bit. In a more reserved church they can ask the priest, preacher, or deacon to say that prayer for them. They can run all sorts of things up the flag pole and see who in their church responds. 

      In this case they are saying “please god take this lady Gaga and all the gay things that bother us away”, it could sound awful even to them if they took off the please god bit.

      1. It’s certainly better to lay this sort of thing before God than to do something terrible in trying to prevent the concert on your own. 

  2. Of course they’re going to pray away Lady Gaga.  After all, look how effective those prayers were in overthrowing the North Korean government.  Oh, wait…

  3. Isaac Asimov dated the start of the scientific age to when lightning rods were installed on church steeples. Otherwise no amount of prayer would keep a church from burning to the ground when struck by lightning.

    1.  And in a personal response to a fan letter I wrote him shortly before he died he added that the scientific age would end when people tried to pray away the Gaga. I dismissed that as AIDS related dementia clouding a once great mind and forgot about that letter until I saw this post here on bOING bOING.

      Amazing man, that Asimov. Gotta go find that letter.  I think it’s in the same box as my John Wayne Gacy sketches.

        1.  WTF! You really think Asimov sent me a  letter telling me we would know the scientific age had ended when people assembled to pray away the Gaga?

          Dude; If I knew you in real life I would never risk telling you a joke.

  4. I never thought I would see eye-to-eye with Christian fundamentalists on anything. I guess I was wrong.

    1. She got where she is by hard work, not talent or looks, so she gets some credit. Don’t worry, someday she will vanish overnight and become an anonymous Long Island hausfrau. 

      Meantime you have to give her credit for spawning Lady Gaga parodies that are hotter and more talented than she is.

      1. Actually, I heard she got by on family contacts in the record industry and plain ol’ good luck. 
        And who cares of other women are hotter than her, or if she’s hot, why are we still making these statements in the 21st century??! I don’t care for her music or faux-outrageous manufactured persona, and I think she’s a terrible dancer, but I happen to find her quite attractive. We really need to quit body-snarking on female celebrities, it doesn’t create a healthy environment for girls OR boys to be bought up in. 

      2. I think she’s a giant tool, but it’s got nothing to do with her looks.

        Also I think that time has arrived, this is the first I’ve heard of her in months tbh. Still far longer than the 15 minutes she deserved.

      3.  Disagree on the “hotter” and also don’t care why it’s relevant- although the body and face concealing outfits she wore in the beginning imply she was trying to avoid being judged solely on her looks- and definitely disagree on the “more talented” The main talent needed in a parody work is to be funny, you see. That was funny in the same way that Scary Movie was funny.

    2.  Right? I would love to pray this woman away…. Actually if she would just stop speaking in public about how original she is while ripping off half a dozen or more iconic STILL LIVING artists, I could probably ignore her.

      1.  She’s not ripping off Madonna, she’s paying tribute! That’s different because she says so. – Every Lady Gaga fan ever.

    1. I would think this would be the great unifier, with atheists agreeing with wacky Christians, homosexuals aligning with heterosexuals.

      Lady Gaga must be stopped.

  5. And so now you will hear from the conservative side here.  Although I find Lady Gaga to be disgusting and strange, I would NEVER attempt to curtail her right to be disgusting and strange.

  6. Am I permitted to point and laugh? Aw, to heck with the permission, I’ll point and laugh, anyway. HAR HAR-HAR HAR!

  7.  “Life unquestioned is life in a religious state.” -Godfrey Reggio, director of Koyaanisqatsi

  8. Thank goodness they aren’t trying to pray away poverty, disease, corruption, political and social oppression, racism, sexism, violence, mistreatment of indigenous people, or persecution based on lifestyle, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender or differing genetic and geographic origination, air pollution, acid rain, water and soil contamination, financial corruption, malnutrition, starvation and war. These people have priorities!

  9. Eh, let ’em pray.  It’s not like they’re hurting anything.  They’re at least right about how Lady Gaga promotes indecency and some other dubious things.

    What really fascinates me about Lady Gaga though is how she’s made a singing career by pretending that she can’t sing.  She seems to be working in a whole damn field where being talented is a good way to end up unemployed.

  10. Having lived in Korea for three years, let me say…there are a LOT of wacko crazy Christians there, and they are extreme as hell.

    Let’s not forget this is where the moonies were based.

    I will never forget the time I was approached by a woman wearing a full face sun visor, looking like fuckin’ darth vader. ( ).

    She approached me assuming I was Christian. When I told her I leaned Buddhist, she spent literally 20 minutes harping on in broken English ‘Did Buddha create the flowers? Did Buddha create the sun?!? Who is this Buddha?!?!? Why do you hate Jesus the Lord??!’
    I would have just ridden off, but it was just too goddamn funny.

    1. I was going to make a similar comment. I know some Korean Christians and have come across others in my travels and they strike me as among the wackiest of Christians. Not because of their crazy beliefs or their evil indoctrination methods (like Mormons, who I’d probably consider to be the worst), though.

      Yes, they try to indoctrinate you, like the woman who approached you. One time in high school I went with a couple of friends to find our Korean friend at his house. He’s atheist, but the rest of his family (including his sister who is also a good friend) are crazy Korean Christians. For some reason he wasn’t there, but his mother invited us in to wait. She gave us snacks and sat us down on the couch and started talking about God and invited us to church… in a very surreal manner. 

      Anyway I’m getting sidetracked, what I mean to say is that they’re extremely sincere but also very naive and completely ineffective. I get the sense that they don’t learn the whole cultural history of Christianity, and that their devotion to it is both very deep but also very superficial.

      And it really bothers me because it’s not their religion. It’s an artifact of the bad old days when Christian missionaries were actually somewhat effective at spreading Christianity. “Somewhat” effective because it feels so, so, much to me like something you’d see in a movie where the locals take the idea of Christianity from the missionaries and embrace it despite not understanding it at all. This despite their own local beliefs being much more suitable to them and their culture – at least until they’re ready to abandon religious beliefs altogether (according to Wikipedia South Korea is certainly heading that direction). It’s particularly a shame in this case because Buddhism is partway there already.

  11. Where are the religious boingboingers to defend these good Christians? We need an apologist to explain how these people didn’t pray hard enough, or prayed wrong, or however they explain it when talking to themselves doesn’t actually change anything…

    1. I’m a Christian, and I’m always surprised when it’s necessary to explain that God isn’t just some service where you can order whatever you want and then get it. This sort of thing is an attempt to create God in your own image. This is trying to make God do your work instead of the other way around.

      Mind you, if they’re upset about Lady Gaga, it is of course very good and healthy to lay that before God. Just don’t expect him to come down and do your bidding.

  12. Every people has their own right. as long as the right not disturb somebody right,then it will be ok I think. The culture in many country are different. We have to respect it.

    1. We don’t have to respect it if it is ridiculous . Also, if they had successfully prayed away Gaga, then they would have disturbed thousands of Gaga fans, so this praying to an invisible god actually was actually intended to deny the rights and freedoms of a minority of South Koreans to enjoy the music of their choice.

      Religious people are bigots when they claim their belief in the supernatural is somehow better than our secular world view, and then claim persecution when the holes in their faith are pointed out.

      I think it is very important to point out the ridiculousness of religion when religious people try to stop others from doing what they want just because of their belief in the supernatural.

      1. Well, you see, if you deny religious people their right to deny other people their rights, you’re a bigot.

  13. 11 of the world’s 12 largest congregations are in Korea. Over 50% of S. Koreas profess religion and over 40% of these are Christians… a huge chunk of any population for this area of the world. Japan, by contrast, is less than 1%.

    Unfortunately, for those who want to live and let live in close proximity, the Krazy Korean brand of Kristianity is a unique and terrible monster. 
    Honestly, I didn’t think anyone could give fundies a run for their money until I had to deal with these fanatics. If you see a red neon cross in Japan, these are the folks who are running it. Not surprisingly these fanatics then abuse their tax exempt status on a massive scale to fund criminal enterprises both inside and outside the country… all the while merrily skipping through customs with a revolving door visa while those of us who vie for legitimate visas are put through the red tape ringer.

    Why religion – especially these hate mongers – get special entitlements I will never understand. 

  14. I appreciate the sentiment, your article is being disingenuous in it’s phrasing and choice of imagery. The issue is much broader than just a bunch of churchgoers objecting to a raunchy show:

    And it is part of a very long-running battle between music fans and the Korean government regarding censorship and ratings:

    A battle which is at times both frustrating and absurdly funny:
    (Pop group ‘Phantom’ thumbed their noses at the censorship board by releasing a medley of 19 songs banned by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)

    Love your blog, but you make some rather knee-jerk contextualizations at times.

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