STATE OF GRACE
Katy Perry’s Battle with Christianity
The child of two evangelical ministers, Katy Perry began her career as a Christian singer. Then she ‘kissed a girl,’ and her parents shamed her. Now, the nuns are on her case.
This story’s got it all: angry nuns, lapsed Christianity, disappointed parents, bi-curious kids, and deviled eggs. I mean angel eggs.
On the heels of her bossy Forbes cover, Katy Perry is getting knocked down by none other than the big guy upstairs. Bible thumpers and teenyboppers alike have probably heard about Perry's recent real-estate struggles. America’s fourth runner-up for sweetheart is fighting for the right to purchase a convent in Los Feliz. Perry is up against a couple of angry Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a local restaurateur with a competing claim on the property, and the specter of her own good Christian girl past.
In other words, the struggle is real.
Perry’s simple dream of buying a $14.5 million convent in which to “sit in the meditation garden, sip green tea, and find herself” is being thwarted by two of the five nuns who last occupied the property. Perry visited the convent in her most conservative outfit (a cloak covered in cartoon animals? A full Sesame Street costume she nabbed from the set?), sang “Oh Happy Day,” and even showed the sisters her “Jesus” tattoo. Remarkably, Perry’s bod-mod didn’t convince the nuns of her devotion; while the sisters abstain from a number of earthly pleasures, Google is not one of them. Sister Rita found Perry’s videos online, and “wasn’t happy with any of it.” Apparently, hits like “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl” pushed the sisters to publicly reject Perry’s bid and kick it old school (Old Testament?) with some publicly catty comments and a legal showdown.
It’s safe to say that Katy Perry has been pretty thoroughly crucified by organized religion. In a 2011 Vanity Fair cover story, Perry claimed that she “didn’t have a childhood” due to the punishing ideologies of her Evangelical-minister parents. According to the pop star, she was barred from reading secular books or reading secular novels; in her family, deviled eggs were “angel eggs,” and Planned Parenthood was referred to as the friendly, neighborhood “abortion clinic.” In 2001, Perry released her first album under the name Katy Hudson (and her cat’s name is Kitty Purry. Keep up!) The Christian foot-tapper featured family-friendly tunes for a religious audience. Unfortunately, Jesus hated it, and the 16-year-old’s label went under quickly after the album’s release.
In what may have been an overzealous reading of a bad omen, Perry did a total 180, pushing down her religious upbringing and pushing up her push-up. The 2008 Katy Perry record One of the Boys was clearly the result of a deal with the Devil. Unfortunately, these days a deal with the devil doesn’t exactly buy you Bob Dylan’s voice—but Satan can still wrangle up some lesbian-lite lyrics, a closet full of gravity-defying bustiers, and three Kids Choice Awards.
In addition to pissing off a higher power (God and/or Taylor Swift), Perry’s rock ‘n’ roll Rumspringa earned her more than a raised eyebrow from her born-again parents. While the songstress insists that she and her parents “coexist,” her proselytizing mom and pops seem to think otherwise. Momma Mary Hudson reportedly preached that, “She is our daughter and we love her and can’t cut her out of our lives. But we strongly disagree with how she is conducting herself and she knows how disappointed we are...The message she is promoting is about homosexuality, which the Bible clearly states is a sin.” Mary added that, “Some of her outfits are too revealing and her father has had words with her about it.”
When he isn’t policing his daughter’s cleavage for Jesus, Keith Hudson can be heard calling his progeny a “devil child,” and urging congregations to “pray for Katy.” Papa Perry allegedly ranted, “I was at a concert of Katy’s where there were 20,000. I’m watching this generation and they were going at it. It almost looked like church… I stood there and wept and kept on weeping and weeping,” he said. “They’re loving and worshipping the wrong thing.” Ugh, parents just don’t understand.
After Perry’s 2012 divorce from noted churchgoer Russell Brand, Mary Hudson told her congregation that the legal separation was actually a blessing in disguise: “I’m sure Katy is trending on the Internet just to get you to church tonight.” Naturally, any mom who correctly uses the word “trending” is probably up to something.
In Mary Hudson’s case, that something is a proposed memoir, in which the god-fearing, publicity-loving preacher will “tell ‘her story’ and dispel a lot of rumors. Katy’s success has impacted her ministry in both negative and positive ways.” Hudson’s book proposal explains that, “She loves her daughter very much and is very proud of her accomplishments, but disagrees with a lot of choices she makes in her career.” Selling out a famous child used to be the exclusive domain of bottom feeders like Dina Lohan—but now it’s practically a sacred calling!
Katy Perry might not be a remarkable musician, but she’s clearly managed to fight her way out from under a lot of Christian craziness. Perry doesn’t identify as a Christian anymore, but insists, “I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time.” Much like her Jesus tattoo, Perry’s uber-religious background isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even though she barred her Republican parents from attending her performance at President Obama’s inauguration, she insists that she has “a great relationship” with the dynamic duo.
While Perry has been accused of milking her bible camp past for its shock factor, the pop star has undeniably had her fair share of religion—and is somehow respectful and forgiving in spite of it all. If the nuns of L.A. were truly compassionate ladies, they would reward Perry’s complicated religious journey with the convent of her dreams. Plus, Taylor Swift and her giraffe girl gang wouldn’t dare attack someone inside a holy convent…right?!