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Trouble in Rome: Madonna's 1985 Like a Virgin tour was Madonna's first brush with major controversy. When the concert was supposed to hit Rome, vatican members decided that Madonna's concert and songs were so sexual that they protested her concert. The concert went ahead, but ever since then Madonna concerts have been heavily monitored for sexual activity and any sort of blasphemy-esqe imagry. During her Blonde Ambition tour she was charged in Toronto for simulating masturbation on stage while performing 'Like a Virgin'.
                                                                                     
Like a Prayer: In 1989 Madonna released a video for her song 'Like a Prayer'. As soon as it debuted the Christian community went into an outrage. Madonna is seen throughout the video scantily clad in front of burning crosses, Jesus is portrayed as black and bleeding tears, and he then "makes out" with Madonna. Religious groups tried feverishly to get the video banned, but to no luck. The video continued to air and has since been named one of the best music videos of the 80's.

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one of the many controversial photo's from Madonna's "Sex" book.

The Sex Book
Sex is the title of a highly designed coffee table book written by Madonna with photographs by Steven Meisel Studio and film frames shot by Fabien Baron, released October 21, 1992 by Warner Books. The book was released by Madonna as an accompaniment to her fifth studio album Erotica, which was released seven days prior (October 14, 1992). The book featured strong adult content and softcore pornographic photographs depicting simulations of sexual acts. Madonna was made to sign an agreement that forbade her from including any photographs depicting religious imagery, bestiality, or child pornography. As a "tongue-in-cheek" way of demonstrating her power, Madonna included two photographs that "broke the rules"—a photo where she is tied la S&M on a small table surrounded by candles with a wooden crucifix behind her, and another photo of her kneeling on the ground with a dog underneath her on its back, creating the impression that the animal is giving her oral sex. With pressure from so many groups, including various conservative Christian groups, the book was eventually banned in many stores and countries.

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The Confessions Tour
Madonna's Sold-out 2006 Confessions Tour has been her most controversial tour in years, and all for one reason; while performing the song Like a Prayer Madonna performs on a large disco ball-like crucifix with a fake crown of thorns. Prosecutors in Germany monitored Madonna's concert to see if the show's mock-crucifixion scene, already denounced by the Roman Catholic Church, insults religious beliefs. In the scene, Madonna wears a faux crown of thorns and sings from a mirrored cross. According to the BBC, her rep, Liz Rosenberg, said, "The context of Madonna's performance on the crucifix is not negative nor disrespectful toward the church." Vatican Cardinal Ersilio Tonino, speaking with the Pope's approval, called it "a blasphemous challenge to the faith" and a "profanation of the cross" and called for the Catholic-raised Madonna to be excommunicated. Madonna shot back and said "I don't think Jesus would be mad at me and the message I'm trying to send."

Works cited on this page:
 
Bright, Susie. A Pornographic Girl. Found in the book Madonnarama: Essays on Sex & Popculture.
Edited by Lisa Frank & Paul Smith
Cleis Press Inc., 1993.
 
 
Freccero, Carla. Our Lady of MTV: Madonna's Like a Prayer.
Boundary 2v. 19 (summer 1992) p.163-83.
 
 
Fouz-Hernandez, Santiago. Madonna's Drowned Worlds.
Aldershot, Hants, England. Ashgate, c2004.