Forget turning the other cheek — what some offended Christian groups really should've done is plugged their ears.
In a move Johnny Depp had to see coming, the conservative groups Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family have lashed out at the actor after he lent his voice to a tongue-in-cheek (and now ragingly controversial) new Christmas tune by the British act Babybird.
The track's name: "Jesus Stag Night Club."
Basically, the song tells the story of a group of teenagers who hire a Jesus look-alike to organize a stag night (better known in these parts as a bachelor party). Over the course of a raucous night, the doppelganger ends up passed out drunk (possibly dead, some have inferred), and it's revealed that he's not just a copycat, but the real Jesus.
So you can see where the controversy would crop up?
The lyrics include "Saw a man in a bar with his hair like a lady/ Bloody thorns round his ear like he was a crazy/ He had holes in his hands and a cross for a spine/ Crushed a berry in his Perrier and called it wine."
And let's not forget: "I can't remember where I was last night/ Think I was hanging naked off a church spire/ Tied by my ankles to a weather vane/ Felt like I was Jesus on fire/ Cuffed to the bumper of a big truck/ I begged my dad to take me to a strip bar/ Drank kerosene through my eyeballs/ Drove myself home in a stolen car."
Plus the big finish: "Saw a man lying on the floor beaten up/ He had a fish finger sandwich and a yellow M coffee cup/ I bent down drunk and tried to pick him up/ But when I turned around I could see it was Jesus."
Lee Douglas, spokesman for the Christian Coalition, has already called for the song, currently vying to be the traditionally all-important No. 1 single on the U.K. on Christmas Day, to be pulled from British radio and called recording the tune tantamount to "blasphemy."
"I'm sure he thinks he's being very funny, but he's simply a disgrace," Douglas told the U.K.'s Daily Star of Depp's participation in the song.
"One day, Johnny Depp and his cronies will face the judgment of our Lord and they will burn in hell for this filth."
A spokesperson for Focus on the Family released similarly damning statements.
"We are sickened by Mr. Depp's behavior. Why did he need to record this song? It's a slap in the face to Christians all over the world."
Depp has not commented on the brouhaha, but it's not his first time teaming up with Babybird, or frontman Stephen Jones. Depp played guitar on and directed the music video for the single "Unloveable" last year.
Jones took to Twitter to sound off on the controversy: "Christians go to heaven. Sinners go to hell. This is their message of peace. Oh yes and gays can f--k off too. It's a beautiful world, Jesus," he wrote.
He also spoke to E! News. "The Bible is the greatest fiction book of all time," Jones told us. "Incredible stories of magic and mayhem. Full of Hollywood storylines. I was in a Days Inn hotel room last year and in the bedside drawer was the Book of Mormon. But the second 'M' had been scraped off, so that immediately got my interest, and once I delved in, the lyrics for 'Jesus Stag Night' just flowed out of me as though the Lord himself has touched me in my secret place.
"Every song I've ever written is full to the brim with meaning, and this song takes the idea that if Jesus was around today, he would probably be laying low, like I was, in a Days Inn single room, staying incognito to prevent fueling any religious hatred."
As for the controversy surrounding the song, Jones said, "If they were true Jesus lovers, they wouldn't own CD players and iPods, they would be wandering the world preaching love and understanding."
And there was at least one person the frontman had kind words for: Depp himself.
"I'm not sure many people know, but Johnny is an incredible guitarist and collects guitars ... Johnny has played twice now on tracks. He has the same evil streak as me ... We aid each other's artistic license to produce unwatered down genius. It's gospel!"
— Additional reporting by Sharareh Drury