Church leaders have reacted angrily to the release of a video to accompany David Bowie's latest single, "The Next Day", in which he poses as Jesus in a bar.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury -the global head of the Anglican church - said the video was 'juvenile' and urged Christians to 'rise above it'.
But he also couldn't resist having a dig: "I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery - I very much doubt it.”
And Jack Valero, of the Catholic Voices Group, told the Telegraph newspaper that the video was 'desperate', adding: "He used to be famous - just what is he trying to achieve?'
The video contains a sequence of Bowie in a bar in robes, striking a Christ-like pose. Gary Oldman, of 'JFK', 'Batman' and 'Harry Potter" fame, and Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) are also featured. Oldman is dressed as a priest, while Cotillard is in her underwear, with blood spurting from two wounds in her hands.
Youtube initially took the video down, but it was later reinstated after the company said an error had been made. Users have to provide proof of age before they can see it.
Lord Carey told the Telegraph: "If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery perhaps Christians should not worry too much at such an exploitation of religious imagery.
"I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery - I very much doubt it.
“Frankly, I don't get offended by such juvenilia - Christians should have the courage to rise above offensive language although I hope Bowie will recognize that he may be upsetting some people.”
Bowie has been increasingly reclusive in recent years after a series of health problems. It is understood he spends much of his time living in New York City and he controversially missed an opportunity to appear in a bonanza of British musical talent that was held to close last year's London Olympic Games.