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American Idol Jesus Controversy

April 09, 2008 09:47 PM by Joe Reality

American Idol Shout To The LordLeave it to American Idol to step into a huge controversy with a charity fundraiser. To close out Idol Gives Back, the American Idol top 8 finalists sang “Shout To The Lord.” By ending the show with a Christian song, it ran the risk of possible offending people of other religions.

However, the finalists sang a modified version of the song. Instead of singing the verse that goes “My Jesus, My Savior,” the finalists sang “My Shepherd, My Savior.” Jesus was replaced with the word “shepherd.”

The change was likely an attempt by American Idol producers to lessen any controversy among people of different religions. However, the modification of the song seems to have created controversy as well.

After Idol Gives Back, the American Idol message board lit up with posts of people questioning the appropriateness of having the finalists sing a Christian song. Not only were some people of other religions offended, but some Christians were also offended that “Jesus” was edited out of the song.

Even though “Jesus” was removed from the final song, “Jesus” was included in an earlier song by Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey sang the verse “Higher Jesus” in the song “Fly Like A Bird.”

Also, creating some controversy was Ben Stiller’s final appearance on the show. After American Idol closed Idol Gives Back with two songs with religious messages, Ben Stiller appeared in front of an empty theater. After realizing no one was there, Ben cursed “What the ****, Seacrest. **** Seacrest.” While Ben’s words were bleeped out, some viewers felt it was an inappropriate way to end a charity show.

Reality TV Magazine is your source for American Idol news. For other great American Idol news, please feel free to check out SirLinksALot: American Idol.

Photo Credit: Reality TV Magazine

Topics: American Idol |

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7 Responses to “American Idol Jesus Controversy”

  1. lucbren Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised when the group came out singing Shout To The Lord. I love that song and wondered if All the contestants happened to be Christians. But then I realized that Jesus was left out…but I still loved it. I’ve felt like there are more Christians getting on American Idol and they are not afraid to let their faith be known. Thank you contestants for professing your faith on a show with millions of viewers. It was a breath of fresh air.

  2. acw Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I too was happily surprised that AI Gives Back closed with Darlene Zschech’s Shout To The Lord. It’s a song we’ve sung in church for years along with many others of hers. Darlene Zschech is an enormously talented songwriter/performer and worship leader in the global Christian music arena. Check her out on YouTube.

    Yep, the substitution of “shepard” for “Jesus” was a political Hollywood copout. Wierd in spite of Mariah Carey’s song and also Dolly Parton’s song last week.

    It’s acceptable to pubically sing Jesus songs if you’re African-American or from the South I guess.
    Hollywood needs to get over it’s Jesus phobia…

  3. Scott W Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Great, balanced article. You got the controversy exactly right. I’m seeing as much outrage from SOME Christians about Jesus being substituted with Shepherd as I am SOME cynical press members calling it a church service.

    As a Christian, I think it was a great reminder that it is Satan, not God, who brings suffering and hopelessness to the world. But God gives us good gifts so that we can share them with others. The inspirational closing song gives us a glimpse of what could be possible if we started realizing the fact that we are creatures of a good, and giving God who wants us to reflect those qualities to others who are in need.

  4. imajoys1 Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I was also pleasantly surprised when the music started for “Shout to the Lord”, but it did not last when the second word “Jesus” was replaced with “shepherd”. This song was written to praise Jesus and it has been sung countless times by Christians around the world to do just that. When did the name of Jesus become so offensive? Why sing the song at all? There is so much sex, crude language and violence on TV, but FOX omits “Jesus” not to offend people? I have been a fan from the beginning, but after this, I will no longer watch American Idol.

  5. k1986 Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I thought the American Idol Gives Back special was very good, especially the last song Shout To The Lord. Except, I do have to say the very end with Ben Stiller was very disappointing. The program had ended with such a uplifting and positive note. I feel that Ben’s final comments were in very poor taste.

  6. Guitarman Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I must admit being a Christian I was offended by the fact that they changed the words and removed Jesus from the song. Tonight on the show they corrected it. When I first heard the lyric change I stopped to consider why and look at it objectively and this is what my thought was. When an individual sings a song it is seen as that individuals story or point of view. But when everyone on the show performs a song together it is different; not everyone who sings it or watches the show may feel the same way. The show probably didn’t want to appear as an endorser of a specific religion due to the multicultural aspect of the country and the program. So the real issue is that each person has to deal with the question of Jesus individually, therefore the collective singing of the song brought forth a controversy. Jesus told us that he was the “The Truth” and his words were Spirit and Life but that the world could not receive the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17). The world as a whole can rally around a great cause but they can’t all agree about Jesus. He must be known and received individually and personally. Which is why Jesus said he didn’t pray for the world (John 17:9), meaning the world system. He said that this world hated him without reason and this is true of all of fallen humanity according to what Jesus taught. So we shouldn’t expect the world to be in collective agreement about a song that glorifies the Son of God. But I was happy with song being at the end because I was hoping that God would be glorified in this great cause and not man.

    Don Boudreau

  7. frazier1119 Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    If anyone thinks that American Idol inserted this “Jesus” song (sans “Jesus”) because they wanted to make some kind of religious statement you’re an American Idiot.

    American Idol, its producers and share-holders and advertisers know darn well who their shows target markets are. Idol routinely targets middle-class, white, suburban families. You know who else targets middle-class, white, suburban families? TBN and CBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network and Christian Broadcasting network). Why? Because that market is two things: 1- typically wealthy and 2- typically easy to emotionally manipulate.

    I’d bet money that the producers and writers of the show wanted to appeal to the Christian sense of charity so as to raise more money (and ratings) for their show. Too, Idol isn’t giving anyone any money in the name of “Jesus”, “God”, “Buddha” or any other magical deity.

    Don’t be fooled by clever marketing ploys. People with big money typically are concerned with one thing, getting more big money. I violently protest any “gosh-aren’t-they-wonderfull-to-include-jesus” themes in this chat-log.



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