According to the LA Times, boxfuls of Lady Gaga’s new album, “Born This Way,” were intercepted late last week at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon. Officials said that the music was confiscated because it was potentially offensive to Christians. Reports were floating around today that the album had been officially banned from sale in Lebanon under a law which stipulates that “distributors are prohibited from circulating media that diverges from public decency and morality, or is at odds with nationalistic or religious beliefs.”
Since Maronite Christians comprise 20% of Lebanon’s population, if “Born This Way” was indeed offensive to Christianity, this would be a clear infraction of the law. One of the album’s songs, “Judas,” was already banned from Lebanese radio earlier this spring.
“We collected the CDs on the grounds that the music was offensive to religion,” said one official from the office of censorship, according to the LA Times. “They are still in our offices. We are still deciding what to do with them.”
The puzzling thing is that although Lady Gaga was clearly trying to be provocative, both in the lyrics and music video for “Judas,” which depicts the twelve apostles as tough-looking bikers, accompanied by Lady Gaga’s assertion, “I’m just a holy fool, but I’m still in love with Judas.” But the song doesn’t succeed in its attempts to be offensive – in terms of religious imagery, it’s mostly nonsensical. As far as I’m concerned, there are more references to Madonna in the video than the Gospels. That’s why it’s confusing that Lebanese officials think “Judas” – or anything else on the album – is worth banning.
The people who seem the most concerned are distributors, who are alarmed by they might not be allowed to sell this lucrative album. But surely Lebanese Christians have better things to do than raise a fuss over a song which fails to provoke anything except confusion.
Photo from Domain Barnyard's Flickr photostream.