The famous Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is usually illuminated to support social aid causes, displayed some unusual messages this week with the help of a projector. The reason has baffled many internet users.
Charity work, publicity stunt, or lack of respect?
The Archdiocesan Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer reported that its rector, priest Omar Raposo, accepted a request from “Swifties” (followers of the singer Taylor Swift). Swift will perform at the Nilton Santos stadium as part of “The Eras Tour.”
“In response to the mobilization of fans of the singer Taylor Swift on social networks, the rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary, Father Omar, accepted the request of the ‘Swifties’ and proposed a challenge: to raise more than 20,000 units of panettone and mineral water before 9:00 p.m. this Thursday, November 16, to help people in situations of vulnerability and social exclusion.”“The initiative of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary aims to raise awareness and mobilize society against poverty and social exclusion, in commemoration of the World Day of the Poor, instituted by His Holiness, Pope Francis, which will be celebrated on November 19.”
The sanctuary added that the challenge seeks to help more than 120 social institutions and thousands of homeless people.
Those responsible for the sanctuary offered the fans that, if the goal was met, a “mapped projection would be made on the monument to Christ the Redeemer, complying with the fans’ request, with a welcome message to Taylor.”
After the fans met the challenge, on November 16, Christ the Redeemer was illuminated with a projection of a t-shirt used in the video clip for “You Belong With Me,” with the inscription “Welcome to Brazil,” along with the name of the Brazilian states.
Taylor Swift’s Projection Stirs Controversy
Although many of the singer’s followers celebrated the gesture, criticism was also observed.
CEO of Word on Fire Father Steve Grunow expressed his displeasure with what he referred to as using “Christ as a billboard.”
“Christ as a billboard – or projecting onto ‘the Icon of the Invisible God’ an idol of superficiality, and in doing so, demonstrating the soul-crushing bankruptcy of a culture that raises vapid commercialization to ultimate concern.”
Christ as a billboard- or projecting onto “the Icon of the Invisible God” an idol of superficiality and in doing so demonstrating the soul crushing bankruptcy of a culture that raises vapid commercialization to ultimate concern.
— FrSteveGrunow (@FrSteveGrunow) November 17, 2023
Several other users also expressed their disgust, some calling it blasphemy.
One user said, “I’m sorry, the statue is a sacred tribute to our Lord Jesus Christ. I like Taylor Swift but please do not dishonor our Lord by using him as a billboard.”
Another user also said, “Let’s see what Lord God Almighty has to say about this! Downright blasphemy. Bookmark it.”