David Bowie‘s controversial new video has been branded “juvenile” by a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
The singer plays a Christ-like figure in the video for “The Next Day”, while his co-star Gary Oldman appears as a priest and Marion Cotillard is seen with stigmata wounds on her hands. The video premiered yesterday (May 8) and was briefly banned from YouTube before being reinstated later in the day.
Writing in The Telegraph, former Archbishop of Cantebury Lord Carey states that the video is “juvenile” and criticises Bowie for “upsetting people”. “If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery perhaps Christians should not worry too much at such an exploitation of religious imagery,” Carey writes. “I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery – I very much doubt it. Frankly, I don’t get offended by such juvenilia – Christians should have the courage to rise above offensive language, although I hope Bowie will recognise that he may be upsetting some people.”
Additionally, the Catholic League, which bills itself as America’s “largest Catholic civil rights organisation”, has taken issue with the video’s overtly religious subject matter – posting a scathing blog post on its website titled “BOWIE’S ‘JESUS’ VIDEO IS A MESS”.
The group’s President Bill Donohue writes: “David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long. 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.”
Continuing, Donohue claims that the video is”strewn with characteristic excess” and Bowie himself is described as “nothing if not confused about religion”. Donohue concludes: “In short, the video reflects the artist – it is a mess.”
You can read our guide to Bowie on film here.