During Lady Gaga’s Jan. 19 Enigma show in Las Vegas, Nev., Gaga decided to make some very strong, but fair, political comments right in the middle of her performance of hit song “Million Reasons”.. According to Vanity Fair, while seated at her piano, “Gaga first interrupted her performance to call on President [Donald J.] Trump to end the government shutdown and restore pay to federal workers.” Though this was just a small piece of what she had to say, it was something that needed to be said about the situation of our government, where USA Today reported that around 800,000 federal employees were working with no pay or were completely out of work because of Trump’s demand for funding for his border wall. According to USA Today, on Jan. 25, “President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have reached a deal to reopen the government for three weeks,” thankfully calling back the workers who were being affected.
Gaga followed this shout out to Trump by turning her attention to Vice President Mike Pence’s support of his wife, Karen Pence, teaching at a Christian elementary school that bans employees and students of LGBTQ+ identity. NBC News reports that “Karen Pence returned to teaching art at an evangelical Christian school in northern Virginia that explicitly bans LGBTQ employees and students.” I understand that religions have the right to believe what they believe, and that schools have the right to accept who they want to accept. However, with Pence being a large public figure representing a country full of members of the LGBTQ+ community, I believe that it is wrong for him to show any kind of support for such a thing. In the words of Gaga herself, Vanity Fair quotes what she said during her show: “‘And to Mike Pence,’ Gaga continued, ‘who thinks it’s acceptable that his wife work at a school that bans LGBTQ–you are wrong. You say we should not discriminate against Christianity? You are the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian. I am a Christian woman, and what I do know about Christianity is that we bear no prejudice and everybody is welcome. So you can take all that disgrace, Mr. Pence, and you can look yourself in the mirror and you’ll find it right there.’” While her fans surrounded her, cheering and hollering in agreement and support of her statements, Gaga finished her statement and went right back into her performance.
I find a personal connection to Gaga’s speech. She is a Christian woman, as am I, and we both believe that our faith teaches us to be welcoming and inclusive because we are all made in God’s image and likeness, despite looks, sexuality, or how anyone defines or identifies themselves. If Pence was simply supporting his wife for going back into the teaching field, then great, but when the topic of banning LGBTQ+ people is included, I find issue with that, as does Lady Gaga. Based on how Pence responded when hearing about Gaga’s remarks, it did not seem as though he was simply just supporting his wife, because he not only stood up for Karen and her employment, but he also stood up for this brand of Christian education and their viewpoints. NBC News quotes Pence saying, “We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education, and frankly religious education broadly defined,” and also saying, “We’ll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of Christian education in America should stop.” I do not think that Christian education should be labeled as a negative thing, but when it comes to issues where schools openly ban certain types of people, I agree with Lady Gaga that Christianity is non-discriminatory, and the religion should stick by that belief in order to better connect with our ever-changing society. Lady Gaga had every right to make the statements that she made, and they were so full of reason and truth that people are maybe too afraid to say themselves. In our changing world, speaking out and using our voices is all it takes to make an impact, and Lady Gaga definitely has a good handle on doing just that.