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CHRISTIANITY HAS MURDERED GOD; She once ripped up a pic of the Pope, then she became a priest but now Sinead says..

Byline: By LYNNE KELLEHER

POP singer Sinead O'Connor has claimed Christianity has murdered God in a new documentary that probes the scandal provoked when she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on live TV.

In the Channel 4 documentary God Gave Rock And Roll To You, she gives an insight into the reason she risked outraging America by ripping up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live in 1992.

The expectant mum said she was making a statement about the way the Catholic Church was sweeping abuse claims under the carpet in Ireland at that time.

She said: "We knew in Ireland 10 years before it became apparent in America that there had been sexual abuse rife in the Church.

"At the time, there were a number of families trying to bring cases against the Church and they were being silenced and priests being transferred all over the world rather being brought to court like they should have been."

She said she was just testing public reaction in the United States when she decided to protest against Pope John Paul in 1992.

She said: "Partly I was curious to see what would happen. I was wondering what would actually happen if you were to do that...

"Sometimes as an artist you just want to know what would happen if you cut a cow in half and stuck it in formaldehyde.

"It was very, very interesting because obviously everybody thought I was a lunatic.

"I don't know why it is that Americans buy steamrollers and roll over copies of people's records when they don't like what you say," she said with a rueful smile.

She was booed off the stage in the United States at a charity concert a week later but the New York-born DJ Paul Gambaccini said he believed the singing star was very brave to make the public and graphic statement about her religion.

He said: "I just thought this was a daring visual vomit against having had a rough ride inside the Catholic Church.

"What I didn't realise was that she was making a very early statement about the child abuse scandal that was to sweep Ireland and America.

"Americans didn't know about this so they didn't make the connection and thought: 'God, she's being rude. She's being sacrilegious.'"

The singer also hit the headlines in 1999 when she was ordained a priest of the Latin Tridentine Church.

In the two-hour documentary, the theologian and pop lover Dr Robert Beckford examines the turbulent relationship between religion and pop music over the last century.

He said: "I remember the press after the Sinead O'Connor scandal. It was so vitriolic. Pop used to be able to change the world with these kinds of protests yet now it was being censored by the public itself."

Sinead O'Connor is in the company of legends such as Elvis, the Beatles and Marilyn Manson is getting into religious hot water.

The Irish singer said music was becoming more and more censored in the early 1990s when her career was at its height in the United States.

She said: "When I started off, when my career was doing its thing in America, it was a big time for censorship.

"There were bands getting censored left, right and centre.

"The 2 Live Crew had loads of trouble over the song You're So Horny and for what?

"They realised we were dangerous. Music is almost the new religion.

"Traditionally, when you look throughout history, Christianity has been a control freak and a bully and has murdered people horribly for not behaving and obeying its dogma and rules and regulation and in fact it has murdered God."

TV presenter and pop pundit Mark Lamarr said he believed Sinead O'Connor knew her career was going to suffer because of her five-second action in 1992.

He said: "She knew she wasn't going to come out that well but maybe spiritually she did."

Q magazine editor Paul Rees said it had destroyed her career when she was riding at the top of the charts all over the world with the single Nothing Compares 2 U.

He said: "If you wanted to ensure noone in America ever buys one of your records again, a pretty good way to go about it is to tear up a picture of the pope on live TV."

The documentary will be on Channel 4 on Saturday, December 23 at 7pm.

CAPTION(S):

Singing priest on The Late Late Show in 1999' Ripping up a picture of Pope John Paul II (left and below)' Sinead O'Connor's outspoken antics did not help her career
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2006
Words:772
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