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American rapper Kanye West and Jesus

Rapper, music producer, fashion designer, Donald Trump fan: Kanye West is a superstar – megalomaniac and great with his music, as the critics describe it. At present, it's the 42-year-old who prefers it, to the front page. The religious America must face it.

In the spotlight, West stands out for its effective advertising engagement in the new Christian religion. More recently, he presented his religious opera "Nebuchadnezzar" on the Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl outdoor stage in Los Angeles this weekend, posting Bible quotes on Twitter. "Strange", "daring" and "confused", that's how Rolling Stone magazine described the concept.

"The greatest artist God ever created"

In mid-November, he was hailed in one of the largest religious congregations in the United States, Lakewood prosperity church preacher Joel Osteen, in Houston, Texas. The prosperity gospel, prevalent in the United States, indicates that God already wants to give believers a happy and materially well-endowed life in the here and now – and that's exactly how blessing is of God can be recognized. West is described as the "greatest artist God ever created" in the Lakewood Church. And this artist is now working for God.

© Michael Wyke / FR33763 AP / dpa

Rapper Kanye West (right) answers questions from Senior Pastor Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston at 11:00 am Mass. West has entrusted his faith to thousands of people in a huge church in Texas.

In October, his latest album entitled "Jesus Is King" is out. He sings a powerful gospel choir. "Jesus saved me," he says in one of the songs. A song proclaims: "Jesus is the Lord". Another rents the chain of restaurants "Chick-fil-A": They closed on Sunday. For religious reasons, say the owners. This can be interpreted as a challenge in the culture war in the United States: LGBTQ groups boycott "Chic-fil-A" because the company would have subsidized organizations against same-sex marriage.

By January 2019, Kanye West began organizing Sunday worship services, initially modest for Hollywood celebrities. In the meantime, thousands arrive. The reactions are mixed.

Only profit and self-marketing?

The author of a comment in the evangelistic magazine "Christianity Today" was initially skeptical about West worship. He thought West was a business of profit and self-promotion, Curtis Yee wrote. But after a visit, he was impressed by his sincerity.

On the other hand, on the website "premierchristianity.com", a writer has another thought: Kanye West hired a choir "not only singing his songs but also wearing his fashion brand". Is Christ really the center of attention?

Religious historian Kate Bowler said in the Washington Post:
West, convinced that he is the best artist on the planet, has found a proper theological focus by Joel Osteen, entrepreneur and television preacher. Both are convinced that God is manifested in health, prosperity, happiness and success – and like to show their own successes as proof.

Think positively and make a donation

The prosperity gospel is booming in the United States. Trump's "spiritual advisor", TV presenter Paula White, is considered the main representative. You have to think positively, she proclaims. And make a donation. You make a donation. The weekly Newsweek quoted in a recent email from White that a $ 229 donation "would break everyone's chains". All those who pay will also receive a "bottle of anointing oil" that they should pour on themselves, on their family members "and even on their checkbook".

Evangelical Christians are an important group for Republicans. President Trump praised West's new album as "the incarnation of fearless creativity" and the artist as a "pioneer". "I love this man," said West to Trump during a visit to the Oval Office in the fall of 2018.

Religious subjects are not really new to Kanye West. Already on his album "College Dropout" in 2004, he was talking about faith: "I want to talk to God, but I'm scared because we have not talked for so long," he says in a song. The context of "College Dropout" is of course different from "Jesus is King": it also concerns racism and harassment and the arrest of police by blacks ("ask us questions, harass and arrest us" ).

Fans are worried about Kanye West's health. On the Netflix online service, the musician was approached a few months ago for his bipolar disorder. He felt a "stronger connection with the universe" when the symptoms occurred, he said.

West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian. Kardashian also seems to undergo some kind of conversion, she is currently working for prisoners. Kanye West and Kardashian have four children. They call themselves North, Chicago, Saint and Psalm. In 2024, Kanye West wants to become president of the United States.