Tue Aug 16, 9:42 AM ET
ZAGREB (Reuters) - Religious groups in Croatia are up in arms over the imminent arrival of shock-rocker Marilyn Manson for a concert.
But rallying to the banner of free speech and perhaps a little shock-value of his own, Manson has found one unlikely defender -- a Catholic priest.
"How could Manson turn young people into satanists and drug-addicts in the two hours of his act," daily newspaper Vjesnik quoted priest Anton Bobas as saying.
Bobas, who leads a heavy-metal band of his own called Glasnici Nade (Messengers of Hope), says most of Manson's critics have never heard his songs or seen him perform.
The lone priest finds himself fighting a rearguard action against Christian groups from the Istrian peninsula ahead of the concert on August 22 in the northern Adriatic town of Pula.
Protestant organisation Oaza wants the concert banned, while seven Catholic priests offered to pay damages to the organisers if the concert was cancelled, arguing the band's lyrics and image promote satanism, drug-use and violence.
Bobas said the best concert he ever attended was seeing Manson live in Hamburg, Germany, three years ago.
But even Bobas tempers his support.
Despite the music, Manson was a rather dark persona and he would not recommend anyone -- especially young people -- to attend the concert, he said.