With the death Thursday of Prince Rogers Nelson, you may see a strange mix on your Facebook feed of sex and religion.
That’s because perhaps one of the raunchiest, steamiest pop culture figures in the past quarter-century was a conservative Christian. Religious and spiritual themes ran through a huge amount of his work, including this tiny sampling of lyrics:
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life,” he intoned, pastor-like, in “Let’s Go Crazy.”
“If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’ll still see” – “Adore”
“We all have our problems, some are big, some are small. Soon all of our problems, y’all, will be taken by the cross.” – “The Cross”
Prince even appeared on a lot of playlists created for the U.S. visits of Pope Benedict (2008) and Pope Francis (2015) — yes, playlists for pope trips exist! That’s because of his classic “The Pope,” which included this line: “You can be the president, I’d rather be the pope. You can be the side effect, I’d rather be the dope.” (Then a few unpublishable words.)
Raised a Seventh Day Adventist, Prince later became a Jehovah’s Witness, and the story of his conversion became public in a rather remarkable way. The Guardian wrote in 2004: “A newspaper in his hometown reported how a married couple had answered their door to find Prince proffering a copy of the Watchtower. Though they were orthodox Jews, and it was Yom Kippur, they were also Prince fans. They welcomed him into the house.”