On March 4, 1966, the London newspaper The Evening Standard published a rambling interview with John Lennon of the Beatles, in which he infamously proclaimed, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink… I don’t know what will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. We’re more popular than Jesus now.”
Lennon’s remark that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus was a slap heard ‘round the world. Radio stations in Christian communities banned Beatles music, and hundreds of “Beatles bonfires” were staged globally to burn the group’s albums and memorabilia. Death threats against the Beatles became common, as did attempts to block their public appearances and concerts.
That was then—this is now. Forty years after Lennon’s remark, it could lightheartedly be said that Jesus is more popular than the Beatles.