Rome's Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders have united to condemn pop star Madonna's decision to stage a mock-crucifixion when she performs in the Italian capital on Sunday a stone's throw away from Vatican City.
The lapsed-Catholic diva's latest irreverent performance sees her wearing a fake crown of thorns and descending on a suspended, glittery cross as part of her worldwide "Confessions Tour".
Cardinal Ersilio Tonino, speaking with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI said: "This time the limits have really been pushed too far.
"This concert is a blashphemous challenge to the faith and a profanation of the cross. She should be excommunicated."
"It is disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative," Father Manfredo Leone from Rome's Santa Maria Liberatrice church said late on Wednesday about the star's latest stage stunt.
"Being raised on a cross with a crown of thorns like a modern Christ is absurd. Doing it in the cradle of Christianity comes close to blasphemy."
In an unusual show of religious solidarity, Muslim and Jewish leaders added their condemnation of the self-styled Queen of Pop, famous for peppering her concerts and videos with controversial religious and sexual imagery.
"I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home," Mario Scialoja, head of Italy's Muslim League said.
Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman and vice president of the Roman Jewish community, added Madonna should have pulled the routine considering where she was performing -- a stadium a mile from the gates of Vatican City.
Walk into a gay bar on a Sunday, and you'll see football playing on flat-screen TVs and customers in jerseys, downing beer and yelling at referees, just as you would if you walked into a Chammps or a Buffalo Wild Wings.
Yet the decision to have Madonna perform at halftime during the Super Bowl is in some ways an opportunity for the NFL to dispel long-standing stereotypes about gay people and sports. (To be fair, though, the NFL did recently add language to its collective bargaining agreement with players that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in addition to race, religion and some other categories.)
The halftime show also is an opportunity to capitalize on an audience segment with a huge amount of buying power nationwide -- $769 billion, to be exact, according to research by Witeck-Combs/Packaged Facts.I'm sure there are plenty of folks in the gay community who would agree that Smith's perception of Madonna as a gay icon is a somewhat dated view [that would be Lady Gaga these days--ick], but I digress. The Super Bowl is for people who love the sport of football, Erika, and the half time show should be about entertainment that appeals to the very large and diverse American audience who tune in to watch the big event. Madonna, who expatriated to the U.K. and took up a fake British accent to boot, doesn't come close to fitting that bill unless your object is to put someone on the big screen that most Super Bowl viewers find not of their taste or just downright repulsive.