Halsey Expertly Trolls Christian Op-Ed Claiming They’re ‘Disrespecting Catholic Iconography’
Halsey clapped back following a negative Christian op-ed that was written about their new album, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power.
An article written by Portia Berry-Kilby in The Spectator, a Christian publication, argues that Halsey's use of religious iconography and Catholic imagery and themes should be considered offensive and/or on par with cultural appropriation.
"Halsey exemplifies the disregard that today’s pop culture shows towards the core tenets of Catholicism. Yes, Jesus died for us all. But he didn’t die for us so that we could all free the nipple and strike a pose as His Blessed Virgin Mother," Berry-Kilby writes.
The author also slams Halsey for referencing various Catholic imagery on her album, including in the album cover art for If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power. (Halsey previously used some Catholic imagery in her visuals and music videos for her 2017 album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.)
"The cover depicts her and a baby in a pose resembling Fouquet’s Virgin and Child, bare boob and all. Aside from the grandiose nature of this gesture — to put oneself in the place of the Mother of God requires some hubris — such role play is not, in and of itself, first-degree blasphemy," Berry-Kilby claims.
In response, the "I Am Not a Woman, I'm a God" singer responded simply with a photo of herself at her First Communion — meaning Halsey is or was a practicing Catholic. The First Communion typically takes place during third grade for children who are raised in the Catholic faith or at any time for those who convert into the religion later in life as an adult. The ceremony is the person's first reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist: Jesus' body (host) and blood (wine).
Halsey previously said that the image on her album cover was meant to depict "the dichotomy of the Madonna and the Whore. The idea that me as a sexual being and my body as a vessel and gift to my child are two concepts that can co-exist peacefully and powerfully."
While everyone has a right to their opinion, and the topic of cultural appropriation can be complex one, as someone who was raised in the Catholic faith with a Deacon as a father and studied world religions at college, I'm not offended by Halsey's work.
Halsey's album and album cover are art pieces that don't blaspheme Christianity; they are simply her own artistic statements which she is entitled to, and which are inspired by some of the artwork of the religion, which is part of secular history in certain aspects (including artwork, styles, historical events, etc.).
The one thing I can tell you is that practicing Catholics and Christians wouldn't want to waste their time criticizing art that does not directly harm or perpetrate violence towards their religion, but instead spend that time doing good for the world, like volunteering.