Bowie’s NSFW video for the title cut of his first album in years stars Marion Cotillard and Gary Oldman and features nudity and religious imagery. Bowie plays a Christ-like character and Oldman, a priest, and there are plenty of images of clergy consorting with scantily clad women. The concept for the video was Bowie's original, and it was meant to be a companion to the song’s lyrics.
In the Catholic League’s news release, titled “Bowie’s ‘Jesus’ Video Is a Mess,” the organization doesn't mince words. “David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long," it says. "The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.”
The release further describes various assaults on religion as the video depicts self-flagellation and stigmata as well as the other imagery. The Catholic civil rights organization raises concerns about the lyrics for “The Next Day.”
While the organization may appear to be out of touch, the Catholic League does have a sense of humor. Using a quote about Bowie’s past relationships with Buddhism, Catholicism, pottery and Satanism before he finally turned to music, the Catholic League said, “Too bad the pottery didn’t work.”
The Catholic League pokes fun at Bowie once more with the release’s conclusion. Referencing a decade-old interview in which Bowie said he was “almost an atheist” and that a few more months would let him make the full conversion, the organization points out, “It’s a sure bet he can’t stop thinking about the Cadillac of all religions, namely Roman Catholicism. There is hope for him yet.”
David Bowie's controversial video for "The Next Day" can be viewed below.