Madonna Headed for Das Big House?
By Gina SerpeWed Aug 16, 1:31 AM ET
If Madonna doesn't change her ways, she could be going from "Hung Up" to locked up.
German prosecutors have announced plans to monitor the erstwhile Material Girl's Sunday concert in Duesseldorf to see if she goes ahead with the mock-crucifixion routine that has been drawing religious ire since her Confessions tour kicked off in May.
Should the pop star, who turns 48 Wednesday, perform the shock shtick, Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for the local authorities, told the Associated Press it could be construed as insulting religious beliefs, an offense that's considered not only insensitive, but illegal in Germany.
If Madonna goes through with the Jesus-channeling act and the locals find it insulting, she could face a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Meaning, Madonna's next reinvention could be as an inmate.
The singer's latest grasp at controversy has been a part of her act since the tour kicked off earlier this summer, and takes place during her rendition of the 1986 pop ballad "Live to Tell."
During the song, Madonna is suspended above the stage on a 20-foot mirrored cross, donning a crown of fake thorns, as images of Third World poverty and numbers representing the 12 million children orphaned by AIDS in Africa is displayed on a screen behind her.
Mocken said that authorities would be watching the situation closely.
However, prosecutors won't actually be in attendance at the weekend gig; instead, Mocken explains, they will rely on media reports of the concert to determine whether or not Madonna was exercising her artistic freedoms or simply breaking the law.
Meanwhile, the leotard-favoring songbird has defended the routine, claiming its imagery is part of an appeal to her audience to inspire concert-goers to donate to AIDS charities.
Liz Rosenberg, Madonna's longtime publicist, chimed in by saying the performance was not intended to be "disrespectful toward the church."
"Madonna does not think Jesus would be mad at her, as his teaching of loving thy neighbor and tolerance is Madonna's message as well," Rosenberg said when the outcry first began.
But many religious leaders aren't buying it.
Earlier this month, Madonna's performance was denounced by both the Church of England--before the routine even hit her adopted country's shores--as well as Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders in Rome who banded together against the singer's "blasphemous" act.
Further inflaming the Roman protests was the fact that Madonna took to the stage just a mile away from the gates of the Vatican.
Of course, the Queen of Pop has a history of courting controversy, particularly among religious types, and her mock-crucifixion isn't the only thing bugging her critics these days.
Last week, another Catholic-based group protested the placement of an H&M clothing ad featuring Madonna being draped over the scaffolding of Milan's landmark Duomo.
The billboard, which featured nothing more than the white tracksuit-clad singer gazing downward, was criticized for having been erected less than a week after her cross-writhing routine in Rome.