Who’s Bigger Than Jesus (2015 Edition)?


It was almost 50 years ago that the Beatles beat Christ in a blowout. March of 1966, the news hit the London Evening Standard. According to the surging band’s lead singer John Lennon, Christianity was in decline and he proclaimed the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”

The reaction: In many southern US states, radio stations banned the Beatles, and zealots burned the Fab Four’s vinyl records.

If it happened today, it would be a lot different. First of all, there’d be no burning. There’s no way to set fire to a download. And our iPods and phones are waaaay too important to torch.

There also would be no uproar. In a world in which Saturday Night Live can unleash a skit called “DJesus Uncrossed,” starring Christoph Waltz as a vengeful, thorny-crowned, gun-toting vigilante Messiah…comparing your rock band to the son of God is about as outrageous as a young woman showing some (gasp) cleavage in a music video.

Lennon’s statement was singularly scandalous for its time. Now, in our shock-weary culture, where rudeness knows no limits, the same proclamation would produce a yawn.

Current stars would have to kick it up a notch. And there are certain celebrities today who would fall over themselves to outdo Yoko’s better half.

Kanye West, whose 2013 release of “Yeezus” caused quite a stir in the religious community, would no doubt be first to leap right in. He’d bypass Jesus, and declare himself bigger than God. And probably with none of the sarcasm Lennon used.

U2 might be equipped with the right attitude and track record to compare to Jesus. Although, after the split decision over the free automatic download of their newest album and the ensuing public relations fallout, the dudes in the band might prefer if Bono went solo on that.

Egotistical, entitled big shot punks like addled actor Shia LaBeouf and snotty singer John Mayer would definitely not be too shy to take a shot. And Mayer’s half-Jewish, so at least he’s got the bloodlines to compete mano-a-mano.

Talented ex-Catholic Lady Gaga doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with these other dorks in many regards, but she sure has enough show bizzy-ness to make a big multimedia splash in this arena. And, after all, she wrote and sang this:

There’s only three men that I am a certain my whole life
It’s my daddy and Nebraska and Jesus Christ

Madonna, on the other hand, another lapsed Catholic, is no stranger to using religion to make a point and earn a buck. Remember when she staged that fake crucifixion at a performance in Rome? The woman is 56 years old, for Christ’s sake. She has a net worth of over $800 million. Isn’t it time for her to just relax and take her four children on a Disney cruise or something?

Who would get YOUR votes when it comes to Current Celebrities Who Think They’re Bigger Than Jesus?

Dave Coombs is a veteran morning radio host and a lapsed Congregationalist.

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