Madonna hasn’t yet sung a note in New Zealand, but she and her Rebel Heart tour are already under fire from a Catholic bishop in Auckland who has described some of the Material Girl’s material as “highly offensive to Christianity.”
The New Zealand Herald quoted Bishop Timothy Dunn saying, “There is no question in my mind that some of Madonna’s material is highly offensive to Christianity and will be found just as offensive to the majority of people of religious faith, as well as many cultural sensitivities.”
Madonna is scheduled to play the Vector Arena in Auckland on Saturday and Sunday.
Dunn also expressed solidarity with an archbishop in Singapore who had recommended that Catholics in that country not attend her show because she “denigrates and insults religions.”
Dunn has stopped short of asking people to boycott her Auckland shows, saying, “Here in New Zealand, religion is not always taken very seriously, yet in addition to Christianity there are people of many other faiths, all together representing over half our population.
“In a multi-cultural and multi-faith society like New Zealand, it is imperative that entertainers not presume their own cultural perspective is that of the majority,” Dunn said. “Often it is not.”
The Herald said for the New Zealand shows Madonna is using a massive crucifix that spans the arena and contains a Rebel Heart logo. It also reported that the production includes a “holy water” segment in which "nuns" wearing bikinis perform on cross-shaped stripper poles.
On Thursday, Madonna tweeted a photo of herself from the back, appearing to be topless, in front of a horse, holding a riding crop and wearing bicep-length rubber or vinyl gloves, with the message, “Getting my horses ready for the show......Giddy Up New Zealand.”