David Bowie's new Christ-like video panned by church critics

(Photo: Reuters / Neil Hall)A neon sign is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, March 20, 2013.

Christian leaders and commentators in different continents are poorly rating a new David Bowie's music video, which features him posing as Jesus Christ.

The adult-rated music video "The Next Day" features singer David Bowie, who is 66, dressed in ancient shepherd's garb, a look commonly associated with Jesus.

On the video rob-clad Bowie has his charges kneeling down and praying to him.

As he sings about God and the Devil in a bar covered in Catholic iconography, including nuns bleeding from the eyes and a priest committing self-flagellation, a priest played by Gary Oldman attempts to seduce a prostitute (Marion Cotillard).

During a dance between the religious figure and the promiscuous woman, Bowie's song forces her to see the light.

She receives the stigmata on her hands and is later shown wearing a crown of thorns.

Her religious conversion is seen to outrage Oldman's corrupted church leader.

The video was temporarily removed from Google-owned YouTube due to an evocative reaction toward its content and can now only be watched by viewers aged over 18.

Lord George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, told British newspaper, The Telegraph, that the video was juvenile and should be ignored.

"Frankly, I don't get offended by such juvenilia," said Carey. "Christians should have the courage to rise above offensive language, although I hope Bowie will recognize that he may be upsetting some people."

Carey added that he did not think Bowie was brave enough to parody other religions.

"I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery," Carey said. "I very much doubt it."

In the U.S., the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights left a response on its website to the video.

Written by Catholic League President Bill Donohue, it states "The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.

"The video is strewn with characteristic excess: one priest bashes a homeless man, while others are busy hitting on women; self-flagellation is depicted; a dancing gal with bleeding hands makes a stigmata statement; and a customer is served eyeballs on a plate

The video questions the pop singer's debatable spirituality says Donohue noting, "The video reflects the artist - it is a mess."

He further questions Bowie's religiosity, referencing 10 years ago when Bowie said he was unsure if he was an atheist.

"Not sure what he believes in today (anyone who is 'not quite an atheist' is not an atheist), but it's a sure bet he can't stop thinking about the Cadillac of all religions, namely Roman Catholicism," wrote Donohue. "There is hope for him yet."

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