CHER RIPS NUNS IN NEW SONG, “SISTERS OF MERCY”
Catalyst December Issue 2000
A week prior to the release of Cher’s new CD, “Not Commercial,” she was blasted all over the country by the Catholic League for her anti-Catholic song, “Sisters of Mercy.”
Cher described the songs on her new CD, all of which she wrote, as “dark.” Indeed, she authorized a warning label on the cover because of the subject matter and colorful language. The CD was released on November 8 and the league struck on November 1.
The song that caught the attention of the Catholic League was “Sisters of Mercy.” Allegedly written on the basis of tales told to Cher by her mother (Cher spent a brief time in a Catholic orphanage as an infant), the song attacks the Catholic order of nuns from beginning to end. The Sisters are called “daughters of hell”; “master of pain”; “mothers of shame”; “twisters of truth”; and “daughters of war.”
Other lines in the song that refer to the Sisters of Mercy are as follows: “They always weave their web of lies and wrap you in their wicked spell”; “They try to crucify your inner sense and do it in God’s name”; “They use God like he’s a weapon but only for a chosen few, then hide behind pious faces like the guilty always do”; “These chicks administer your penance while the devil guards their door,” etc.
The Catholic League did not hold back in its criticisms of Cher and made the following comment available to the media:
“E! Online calls Cher’s ‘Sisters of Mercy’ a ‘diatribe against nuns,’ and the Los Angeles Times brands it ‘accusatory.’ The Catholic League calls it defamatory. Cher was right to put warning labels on her new CD, but she unfortunately chose the wrong warning: she should have warned that those who hate intolerance should avoid this CD altogether.
“If Cher had been molested by a lesbian when she was in camp, is there anyone who thinks she would be bashing all homosexuals in a song today? And if she did, everyone knows she’d pay dearly with her Hollywood buddies. But taking a cheap shot at nuns costs nothing in Hollywood and may even be cause for celebration. That’s how phony this gang has become.”
Newspapers from New York to California picked up on the league’s statement. For her part, Cher had almost nothing to say. Pat Scully went on the NBC show, “Extra,” letting her have it. Spokeswoman for the Sisters of Mercy were equally critical.
The league was also angry with Vice President Al Gore for doing a fundraising ad with Cher. When we learned that the second part of a two part ad would be run on November 3 on Black Entertainment Television (BET), we contacted the vice president’s national campaign headquarters in Nashville asking that the ad be dumped.
We were told that the ad was the result of an impromptu meeting that had been taped by BET and that Gore does not endorse all the views of those who endorse him. We replied that such logic didn’t stop Gore from blaming George W. Bush for adhering to the views of Bob Jones simply because he spoke at Bob Jones University.
While the media gave the league’s criticisms of Cher good coverage, they stayed away from the complaint we had with Gore. Nonetheless, we were happy that she got a heady dose of the kind of PR that no one wants. It was well deserved.