John Lennon, the Beatles singer, was a restless soul who was constantly seeking meaning to life. In that pursuit, he even went all the way to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (please read Western Spiritual Seekers vs Western Rationalist Mind: Curse of Materialism and death-knell for an important dimension). But that was in 1967.
In March 1966, however, John Lennon gave an interview where he made an explosive statement that got a lot of insults and push-back from the Christian groups. In an article ran by English journalist by Maureen Cleave, Lennon was portrayed as saying:
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.
It was the “We’re more popular than Jesus now” part that made the splash.
In one part of the protest against the Beatles, a radio station in Longview, Texas – KLUE Longview – organized one of the initial “Beatles Bonfire”, where their records were burned in a bonfire. Something like the one shown below.
The KLUE Longview had called for the bonfire on August 13, 1966.
It is said the Ku Klux Klan was involved in the agitation.
According to the Beatles Bible, the Grand Dragon of the South Carolina Ku Klux Klan was on hand for the event, where he reportedly made a wooden cross to which he nailed and burned one of the group’s LPs. (source)
It obviously brought a lot of PR and visibility to the radio station. The figures of those who attended varied from 1500 to 4000. Everything belonging to the Beatles – sweatshirts, sheet music, magazines and records – were dumped into the bonfire.
As the bonfire was lit, rock’n’roll music played – ensuring no Beatles music was allowed.
The next day, dark clouds gathered over Longview. And a major thunderstorm stuck the small town. And, a large lightning bolt hit KLUE’s transmission tower. A bolt so severe that it wrecked most of the transmission equipment.
What’s more, even their news director was hit and had to be hospitalized!
So, those who tout Jesus as the savior and go around doing all kinds of shenanigans to show miracles – remind them of the “miracle” that happened in Longview. When lightning struck the very station which wanted to protest a man who said that he and his band of musicians were more popular than Jesus (and his band of Apostles).
If lightning was any indication, Lennon may not have stopped at “we’re more popular than Jesus” but could even have said that “We’re more powerful than Jesus!” and millions would have believed them that day.