By Madeline Kempf | Staff Writer
Lady Gaga’s newest single, Judas, has critics, Christians, and just about everyone else in a controversial tizzy. If the ‘plot’ is not well-stated enough in the title: the new ballad depicts Judas’ betrayal to Jesus. And people are writing it off as sacrilegious on those grounds alone.
As a Catholic, I know darn well enough the history behind the song, but her statement, “Jesus is my virtue,” in the midst of the song leaves more to common sense. She wouldn’t do something without good reason. After Gaga appeared at the VMA’s in a meat suit to protest the U.S. military’s policy, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” against gay soldiers, it’s not that hard to realize that there must be something deeper buried beneath the apparent bait.
First off, let me get this to you straight. Gaga has professed Christianity- Catholicism, specifically- and does not mean to offend. In an interview with Popjustice, she literally says, “It’s about leaving your darkness behind in order to come into the light.” The song is chock-full of metaphors, and the Judas-Jesus concept, in all its complexity, is explored within it.
Later in the same interview, she explains the reference to bad relationships and lovers who are personified through Judas and Jesus. “I have a lot of things that have haunted me from my past – choices, men, drug abuse, being afraid to go back to New York, confronting old romances – and Judas represents, for me, something that is bad for me that I can’t escape. I keep going back and forth between the darkness and the light in order to understand who I am from,” Gaga explained.
For those who still don’t believe, there’s a part in the song that states: “In the most Biblical sense, I am beyond repentance. Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind. But in the cultural sense, I just speak in future tense. Judas: kiss me if offensed, or wear ear condom next time.” Gaga has committed her sins, but in society, she just wants to make a difference. Those listening in are not compelled to do so.
Had I not looked further into it, I probably would still be offended and upset with Gaga. But when you realize the depth and reality that the song holds, you cannot possibly remain upset with Gaga just because she’s using a reference to make her difficulties more understandable. In any case, she’s well-covered by the First Amendment in depicting her views with her choice of analogies.
It’s a catchy song, in any case; and controversy is nothing new in the world of pop music. She’ll always be Lady Gaga and those tuning in can expect nothing beside the unexpected.