Katy Perry at the "Part of me" premiere in Sydney, Australia - Photo by Eva Rinaldi Photography via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1bz7e0h)

Katy Perry at the “Part of Me” premiere in Sydney, Australia – Photo by Eva Rinaldi Photography via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1bz7e0h)

Going to a Christian college in Santa Barbara, it was hard to escape the shadow of Katy Perry. Every third person had known her growing up–they were in elementary school together, or sang in the same church choir, or took dance classes together. I even ended up at the same party as her sister once, a year after graduation. It was 2008, and “I Kissed a Girl” had just made pastor’s daughter Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson a sensation.

People were quick to tease me–my father is a pastor, too–about good girls gone bad, rebellious phases, and all manner of not-so-funny jokes. I don’t feel any particular kinship with other people whose parents happen to share the same jobs, but I do know that children of pastors are often scrutinized, their faith (or lack of) put on a display to be examined, commented on, and deemed acceptable.

Perry, whose marriage to Russell Brand famously ended via text message in 2011, has had a rough couple of years, all very much in the public eye. Her documentary Part of Me was filmed while her marriage was falling apart, and she confessed in an interview with Billboard that she had thoughts of suicide in the wake of her divorce. Her parents, pastors in the Pentecostal tradition, had a strange take on the divorce: “I’m sure Katy is trending on the internet just to get you to church tonight,” her mother told a congregation in Ohio. Her father had similar words: “‘God has given us a platform to go in and meet people — and they like us because we are cool. We are not threatening.”

Several years ago, Perry told Vanity Fair that she didn’t have “‘a childhood,’ … adding that her mother never read her any books except the Bible, and that she wasn’t allowed to say ‘deviled eggs’ or ‘Dirt Devil.'” Now, in a recent interview with Marie Claire, Perry had a good deal to say about the faith of her childhood–and why she no longer calls herself a Christian:

“I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time—for self-control, for humility. There’s a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying ‘thank you’ sometimes is better than asking for things.”

Perry’s spiritual-but-not-religious journey is a common one for her peers. In May, a Pew Research poll revealed that 1/3 of adults under 30 years old are religiously unaffiliated, the highest amount ever in Pew’s polling. But she will always wear the mantle of “pastor’s daughter,” which means not only that her theology will be scrutinized but that her public narrative is fixed. Because she is successful, the Christian world will still claim her as our own but look at her as an outsider, a fallen star.  

“I feel like my secret magic trick that separates me from a lot of my peers is the bravery to be vulnerable and truthful and honest,” she told Marie Claire. “I think you become more relatable when you’re vulnerable. When you try to market yourself like some supernatural figurine who can’t be fucked with, I always resort back to Scripture: Pride comes before a fall.”

Perry may have left the church but in this way, it seems, the church hasn’t left her.

Categories: Beliefs

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Laura Turner

Laura Turner

Laura Turner is a writer and editor living in San Francisco. In addition to being a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s “Her.meneutics” blog, she has also written for publications such as Books & Culture and The Bold Italic. She is interested in the intersection of church and culture.

10 Comments

    • Even satan can quote scriptures! and tweak it just enough to sound biblical! She said, Pride comes before a fall.What is written is” Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.!
      I’ve seen some interviews and she does not profess God to others but denounces it .And it is written:
      Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.
      And she isn’t doing that ,matter of facts she says:
      “I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, –
      Published on Oct 18, 2013
      What is the Katy Perry Illuminati connection?Is Katy Perry mind controlled? Why did Katy Perry plastic surgery? What do Katy Perry’s parents, Keith Hudson & Mary Hudson, think about her music career? These and many other questions will be answered in this video.
      Published on Oct 16, 2013
      IN THE REAL WORLD WE LIVE IN AND THE HIDDEN WORLD NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT. http://www.youtube.com/user/REVELATIO…

      KATY PERRY AND THE ILLUMINATI THE FALL OF KATY HUDSON

      This channel is about the “REAL WORLD” we all live in. Find out the truth about UFO Sightings, Bigfoot sightings, Reptilians, The Greys, Aliens, Demons, Fallen Angels, Moon Bases, The Illuminati, Chem-trails, Hollywood Stars, Music Artists, God, Jesus Christ, Life On Mars, The End Times and all the lies that our world governments tell all of us.YOU WILL BE AMAZED!
      your right when you said God hadn’t left her rather she has left God!
      For it is written I will never leave you or forsake you! It’s we that forsakes him!

  1. Why not leave out the word on her quote? Thought this would be a place I could safely look at with my daughter reading over my shoulder. My first visit to your site is disappointing – how sad that you are not better than the rest of the Internet.

  2. Sheila Denson

    Her JUDGE is GOD alone, just as it is with any of the rest of us. Only God truly k nows her heart. Love her anyways….just like YOU want to be loved.

  3. That is the subject of this story and if you leave God or the word out,then you are listening to what she said,She attempted to quote the scriptures? She isn’t someone who I would want my daughter to have as a roll model look at Millie Cyrus! wasn’t she Hanna Montana !
    I used to take my daughter to concerts and stood in line for hours waiting on a bracelet to come back the next day and purchase a ticket,until she started believing the teen Idols were good Roll models,And each time they changed and I couldn’t support them any more! Not judging ,discerning there’s a difference!

  4. Still think she’s secretly folllowing the word after bringing Baphomet onto the Grammys and being burned alive with a Knights Templar Cross on her chest?

  5. JulianaChristine

    I think people should leave famous people alone….God is her judge. I pray she comes back to her faith in God 100% some day. She has made mistakes but is a great young lady.

  6. Actually Katy read many secular books growing up, even winning the first grade reading prize at Paradise Valley Christian School in Arizona. When I was a reporter in the 70ties & early 80ties & we were required to print both sides of the story. Nowadays it is one side and that is usually hearsay. You can condemn a person for what they are doing, but not even God did that when he sent Jesus to earth in John 3:16. Everyone has a chance to repent and it Is His love, not your judgment, that draws them.

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