Korean Christians Protest Lady Gaga Concert

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Controversial pop singer Lady Gaga kicked off her “Born This Way Ball” world tour in Seoul Friday in front of 45,000 fans at Olympic Stadium, despite a ban on those under 18 and protests from Christian groups who insisted that the self-dubbed “Mother Monster” is obscene.

There were concerns that conflict would break out between Christian protestors and fans who gathered outside the stadium early to show off their Gaga-inspired costumes and makeup. About 20 young Christians sang and prayed in front of the venue for an hour before the concert began after 8 p.m., but there were no incidents.

According to the Korea Association of Church Communication, hundreds of Christians gathered at a church near the stadium on Friday and began praying from 7 p.m. until the nearly two-hour concert came to an end.

A man in his mid 30s who would only give his surname, Jeong, did a solo demonstration outside the stadium following similar demonstrations in front of the National Assembly and at the headquarters of Hyundai Card, the concert’s sponsor, on Thursday. He said he was concerned that Lady Gaga’s liberal beliefs on issues like homosexuality would unduly influence Koreans.

“I believe if Korea wants to become one of the advanced countries, it should make efforts to take in healthy and good culture while blocking bad culture,” he said.

The government implemented an adults-only rule, saying the Lady Gaga concert was “harmful for youth.” All members of the audience had their ages checked and were issued wristbands that read “18 above.” There were concerns that the age check would create bottlenecks, but things went smoothly except around 8 p.m., when a quarter of the audience made their way to their seats.

According to Hyundai Card, “1,200 personnel were dispatched to make things more systematic without causing chaos.” Lady Gaga referred to the ban on those under 18 early on in the concert.

“I was told that your government decided that my show should be 18 or over,” she told the crowd, to enthusiastic applause. “So I’ll make sure it will be.”

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