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Madonna Defends Tom Cruise & Scientology

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Madonna emerges as amusing, amiable and assertive as ever in a candid new interview to promote her new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor – the artistic aim of which, she says, is: “I want to make people feel like they’re inside a disco ball.”

Beyond talk of the new CD, the Material Mom, 47, paints a colorful portrait of herself in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine as she states her positions on such topics as politics, marriage, pain and religion – comparing herself to another outspoken star who’s been criticized for his spiritual leanings, Scientologist Tom Cruise.

“We’re both in the take-a-lot-of-s— club together,” Madonna tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t really know what Scientology is, and because I don’t know, I’m not in a position to have an opinion about it. But I don’t think anybody else knows, either.”

Her unabashed advice to the critics of the both of them? “They need to shut the f— up.”

Regarding the riding accident in which she fell from a horse: “It was the most painful thing that ever happened to me in my life, but it was a great learning experience,” because breaking a bone for the first time (let alone eight of them) made her aware of her vulnerability. Nor is she shy about lifting up her sweatshirt and showing the interviewer part of her collarbone sticking out of her skin, the magazine reports.

In dealing with the pain, Madonna learned, “I’m a lot of fun on morphine. At least I think I am,” though she is quick to point out drugs have never been her thing.

Marriage is her thing, however. “I feel like we are sort of The Honeymooners, only I’m the Jackie Gleason character,” says Madonna, obviously viewing hubby Guy Ritchie as Alice Kramden. “Obviously, he irritates me on a significant basis, as everyone’s significant other does … like when he was singing in the pub all night, and I had a show the next day and wanted to go home.”

Softening, she says: “Well, he’s a human being. … He was pretty much there for a lot of my tour, but it’s hard for a guy to be traipsing around the world with a girl. No one wants to be anybody’s trailer bitch.”

On George W. Bush she takes a much sterner position. “I was just frigging devastated,” she says of his re-election last year. “It was a real sad day.” She rationalizes the way the election swung on Bush’s making the public feel safe – until, she says, Hurricane Katrina blew in.

“9/11 was too ambiguous,” she tells the magazine. “You couldn’t prove how the government was somehow in on the deal. There were too many arguments against it. You could say, ‘Oh, that’s just Michael Moore,’ ‘Oh, that’s just hearsay.’ New Orleans was undeniable irresponsibility.”

Not that she suffers. “As corny as it sounds,” she says, “if I didn’t have some kind of spiritual belief system, if I couldn’t find a way to make sense out of the chaos in the world around me – not my personal chaos, but the chaos in the world – I would be a very depressed person.”