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Pastor of Catholic Church Condemned by Right Wing Pundits for Commending Lady Gaga

Friday May 2, 2014
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Lady Gaga with students at the Convent of the Sacred Heart on her TV special "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving"
Lady Gaga with students at the Convent of the Sacred Heart on her TV special "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving"  

From "demon jazz" to Elvis Presley’s famed gyrating pelvis and beyond, popular music has remained a favorite target of American evangelicals hoping to stir up their base or fill column inches in their weekly rants.

Little surprise that when the pastor of an upstate New York Catholic Church praised Lady Gaga as the product of a Catholic education, a pair of right wing commentators took to their syndicated column to gas up the christian panic machine.

At the center of the controversy isn’t so much Mother Monster herself, but Rev. John Medwid, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the upstate New York town of Amsterdam.

In an annual newsletter for the St. Mary’s Institute (the Catholic school affiliated with Medwid’s parish), he said "In September at the opening Mass I officially announced that this was going to be the Year of Lady Gaga at SMI [...]many people may not realize that Lady Gaga is the product of Catholic education [...] "she was someone who followed her own path ... It takes a great deal of courage especially for young people to blaze their own trails in life!"

Lady Gaga (aka Stephani Germanotta) is a graduate of the prestigious Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan where she remains an active alumna.

Medwid’s letter provided the impetus behind an opinion piece written by L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham published on conservative christian (but not Catholic) news outlets Friday. In the piece, Bozell and Graham used the letter as a jumping off point to attack not only Lady Gaga’s more sensational brand of entertainment, but also her support of gay rights.

In a series of facetious questions asking what Catholic children should find commendable about Lady Gaga, Bozell and Graham took particular issue with her history of advocating for gay rights.

"Was it how she constantly promotes gay themes in her music and bashes the military for its treatment of gays? Or maybe she’s a trailblazer of another sort."

True to form, the pair of right wing commentator made sure to somehow implicate President Obama in this non-scandal, saying:

"Speaking at a gay-left dinner in 2011, President Barack Obama began by joking, ’I took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga.’"

Comments to Bozell and Graham’s article CNS News.com were typical, with their "christian" readers predictably eating their own.

"Beware those who say the Catholic religion is Christian."

"Excommunicate him NOW."

"This pastor is brain damaged, possessed, or both."

Bozell and Graham are no strangers to inflammatory rhetoric. The pair work for right wing Media Research Center where they serve as president and director of media analysis respectively. Together they have authored "Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election---and How to Stop Them from Doing It in 2016" and "Whitewash: What the Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will." Their work has been lauded by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2014-06-05 15:28:53

    Why is it that church leaders immediately ousted this priest, yet they allowed so many to rape children? Is something not amiss?


  • Anonymous, 2014-06-05 23:56:59

    Apparently a few people at St. Mary’s went and told the bishop that Father John was gay and forced him to resign. Don’t quote me on that, but Father John is a good man and family friend and even if he was gay(which I doubt he is) how dare they make him resign from a place where he had such a positive impact. Amsterdam isn’t a great place and we really need any positive people we have to stay.


  • Anonymous, 2014-06-09 09:43:19

    I would like to know why Giovanni Virgiglio (principal of St. Mary’s Institute) allowed songs like "tutti-Fruitty" and "Great Balls of Fire" to be sung by elementary children at their spring concert. If mentioning Lady Gaga was so blasphemous, why are Catholic children singing songs that were #1 written by a man (Little Richard) describing sexual relations with his boyfriend, and #2 a grown man (Jerry Lee Lewis) who had relations with his 13 year old cousin singing a song about the actual sex act itself? I think Virgiglio needs to resign or be put out! The man also allows bullying to take place in his school (because hey, money talks and he doesn’t discipline those students who have wealthy parents. Who by the way are the ones bullying Fr. Medwid)! Those few people do not represent our congregation, and I do not know why they feel they had the right to speak for all of us. His accusers don’t have all the facts either. I wonder if they know of all the positive things Lady Gaga has done. She is a spokes person for the MAC AIDS Fund’s campaign which donates 100% of it’s proceeds to the global fight against AIDS and HIV. And for girls? She isn’t afraid to act smart, dress for herself, focus on things other than her body, be different, and most importantly be who you are. Where are these righteous people? I don’t see them in church! They don’t even belong to the parish! Father Medwid is a very holy man. He is very much loved and desperately missed by his parishioners. He is also incredible with the youngsters and getting them involved. Look around in church! It’s mostly elderly! Very few young people attend. Fr. Medwid keeps the children involved and motivated in the church. I really don’t know how people get off being so righteous. I wonder what would turn up if their private lives were investigated. Perhaps they would lose their "holier than thou" mentality.


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