It was one of the most infamous statements an entertainer has ever made-and the comment is still talked about 44 years later.

During an interview with the London Evening Standard, one of the Beatles, John Lennon, was talking about Christianity. “It will vanish and shrink . . . I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now.”

Although Lennon made it clear he was talking only about his native England-a point that may have been lost as the story spread–the comment outraged many Americans.

But as Robert Hart reminds us in Touchstone magazine, the comment went “practically unnoticed” in Europe and England; they were neither upset nor surprised. Why? Because Lennon was simply expressing what they already knew to be true: Christianity had already begun its long European decline. In England at the time, the Beatles really were “more popular than the Lord himself among youth.” So says Hart.

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