Singapore's top Catholic leader Archbishop William Goh has urged its members to boycott Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour concert. The concert, already rated R18, with an advisory on "sexual references" by the authorities, is scheduled to take place on 28 February.
Under this rating, only those aged 18 and above will be allowed into the National Stadium where the concern will be held. This will be the Material Girl's first concert in the republic.
The 57-year-old was banned from performing her controversial Girlie Show World Tour way back in 1993 in Singapore after police described her performances in the tour as bordering "on the obscene ... [and are] known to be objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds."
Despite concert organiser Live Nation Lushington giving an assurance that Madonna will not be performing her song Holy Water at the Singapore leg of her tour, both the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches in Singapore are not happy. The Media Development Authority of Singapore had stated that this segment of her show will not be allowed to be performed in Singapore as it contained "religiously-sensitive content which breach our guidelines."
The offending segment of her concern features nuns pole-dancing on cross-shaped stripper poles. Madonna also has a turn on the pole before joining her dancers on a Last Supper-style table.
Meanwhile leaders from Protestant churches in Singapore have also raised concerns, as they fear the pop singer may use lyrics and stage props that may offend Christians in her concert. These concerns were raised at a meeting between eight church leaders and K Shanmugam, the Home Affairs and Law Minister.
The Catholic church did not participate in the meeting - a regular meeting scheduled between the Ministry and religious bodies - which took place on 23 February, Channel NewsAsia reported, quoting sources. The Roman Archdiocese of Singapore however had issued an online statement on 20 February denouncing Madonna's blasphemous music and even props."
According to the Catholic Church, Archbishop Goh had made the church's "grave concerns" known to the relevant authorities and was given the assurance that restrictions had been put in place to ensure that religiously-offensive content will be banned.
The Catholic Church spokesman said that Goh's statement was not new but merely a reiteration to remind Catholics of the need to be true to their faith. "For those who have already purchased their tickets, they should act according to their informed conscience." he said.
Archbishop Goh said that it was the "moral obligation" of Catholics to not support those who insult religions as well as anti-Christian and immoral values promoted by the secular world." He said: "There is no neutrality in faith: one is either for or against. Being present [at these events] in itself is a counter witness. Obedience to God and His commandments must come before the arts."
The cleric continued: "As the people of God, we should subscribe to authentic Arts that lead us to God through the appreciation of beauty, harmony, goodness, truth and love, respect, unity and the transcendent; and not support the 'pseudo arts' that promote sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography, contamination of the mind of the young, abusive freedom, individualism at the expense of the common good, vulgarity, lies and half-truths," he said.