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The Holy Rock And Rollers - Designer Religion for the Stars

Jagat - Mon, 26 Apr 2004 16:54:21 +0530

I post this article in the general consciousness of "religious marketing." Clearly, the religious need is widely felt, even by the rich and famous. It's been a while since the Hare Krishnas had their George Harrison, and it's tiring to see that Iskcon still flogs this dead horse, depending on his long past participation for its bit of star appeal. But surely a religion that is based on God the Beautiful should have attraction for artists. The infatuation with Kabbalah is interesting. Kabbalah is essentially a Tantric type of mystical ritualism, as is Tibetan Buddhism, elements that also exist in the Vaishnava path. Is it valid to play up particular features of a religion in order to tailor it to the Zeitgeist, i.e., to "design a religion"? Has this not in fact been done in the past?

Discuss this article HERE

The Holy Rock and Rollers

They're the stars who have it all -
fame, wealth and now it would appear -- designer religion

By Brian Mciver

Glasgow Daily Record, Apr 14 2004

CHURCH leaders once considered her the most dangerous woman on the planet and her music was roundly condemned as blasphemous and sinful. But Madonna is now one of the highest profile members of the 21st century god squad - the growing number of celebs who have embraced religion as the latest hot new trend.

From Beyonce to Daniel Bedingfield, Evanescence and Mick Jagger, more and more music stars are finding faith and are basing their lives around religious beliefs - or at least a trendy new version of them. Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears, and Lisa Marie Presley are just some of the other stars who have been turning up at their local church, while Mel Gibson has brought religion to the fore with his controversial but successful movie The Passion of The Christ.

But they are just some of the stars who are jumping on the holy bandwagon.
More and more young and trendy singers, musicians and actors are to bring some sense of meaning or faith to their sometimes shallow and transient lives.

In the past, stars like George Harrison turned to Hare Krishna, Cat Stevens to Islam and Boy George to Buddhism, while the Osmonds were all Mormons. But modern celebs are instead looking to more trendy faiths like Kabbalah and Scientology.

And it is the biggest trendsetter and most controversial woman in the world who has brought modern faith into the limelight more than any other.Madonna, who was once universally condemned for her depiction of a sexy black Jesus in a music video, is the most famous follower of the hip holy Kabbalah. Along with Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and Mick Jagger, the religion, based on ancient Jewish beliefs, is one of the fastest growing in Hollywood and showbiz circles with Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie among its biggest fans.

The controversial singer, and lapsed Catholic, has just re-arranged her world tour so she won't be playing any dates on a Friday, in order to fit in with the principles of Kabbalah.

The faith is based around spiritual teachings which are believed to have been given to Moses by God shortly after the ten commandments, and passed down the years before eventually becoming a written faith in the first or second centuries AD.

But despite its historic origins, the modern versions of the Kabbalah faith include personal development courses and well being aims and followers are usually seen with string bracelets.

Other famous believers include Jerry Hall, Melinda Messenger, and Liz Taylor, but it is not the only modern belief to attract the in-crowd.

The controversial Church of Scientology is where some of the real A-list stars worship, with Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes, John Travolta, Jenna Elfman, Lisa Marie Presley and Juliette Lewis among the faithful, with even Geri Halliwell dabbling in it.
It was created by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954 and based on the belief that we are descended from aliens and fight negative forces known as Engrams. It is not recognised as a church in most countries and is best known for its famous believers.

Another 'hip' religion for cool stars to follow is Buddhism, which enjoys followers such as Sting, Keanu Reeves, Richard Gere and Boy George, as well as Tina Turner, Joanna Lumley and Ruby Wax.

Late Beatle George Harrison was also enchanted by eastern religion and turned to Hare Krishna and Hinduism, which dominated his spiritual life until he died.
The clean living Osmond clan remain the most famous Mormons in the world and have been one of the biggest publicity vehicle for their religion.

Turning to Islam is more popular among American rap stars, with Ice Cube among the band of Nation of Islam converts, as well as former House of Pain rapper Everlast, although the most famous Islamic pop convert was Cat Stevens who became Yusuf Islam.

Michael Jackson is alleged to have been targeted by American Muslims for recruitment following their support during his recent child sex allegations, while he has also been linked to Kabbalah and Scientology, via ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley.

Rat packer Sammy Davies Jr. famously converted to Judaism, while folk singer Bob Dylan went the other way in the Seventies - going from Jewish to an atheist to Jewish again - then he became a born-again Christian with his wife.

Despite the new sects and faiths, Christianity is still the biggest player in the pop world, with faithful musicians ranging from Cliff Richard to Evanescence. The Christian pop market is worth 20million a year in the UK and is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US dominated by singers like Amy Grant.

Almost every star in the States is well aware of that and is careful to name-check the almighty at award ceremonies, with otherwise violent or sexual stars like 50 Cent and Beyonce all praising Jesus at every turn - even Run of Run DMC is a local preacher.

UNTIL her recent wild child behaviour, Britney Spears was the poster girl for American Christians, declaring her virginity and her chastity to anyone who would listen, and was the perfect American WASP couple along with Justin Timberlake.
But following their break-up, and a series of alleged sex scandals which culminated in her prank wedding earlier this year, the bible belt girl was soon by her mother's side at her local church seeking forgiveness.

On the other side of the coin, crossover Christian bands such as Evanescence and P.O.D made their name by trying to spurn the Christian tag they began their careers with. British stars like Daniel Bedingfield and Belle and Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch are card carrying Christians and regular church goers, but don't make an issue of it, perhaps fearing the 'Cliff' effect on record sales.

But the biggest religious boom of recent years has been Mel Gibson's take on the events of the crucifixion. The devout Catholic self-funded his pet project The Passion of The Christ which tells his controversial version of Jesus Christ's death at the hands of the Romans and Jewish elders.

Despite allegations of anti-semitism and revisionism, the film has become one of the biggest box office hits of all time, with 180million takings so far. Starring Jim Caviezel - a strict Catholic who has refused to do sex scenes because of his religion - as Jesus, the movie has made Gibson tens of millions of profit.

And in true religious style, he has been celebrating by doing some construction work at his home in Malibu - building his own Church.