Madonna has in the past styled herself after Marilyn Monroe and Eva Perón, but they're not the ones she hopes to emulate.
"I want to be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King and John Lennon – but I want to stay alive," the singer said during a Valentine's Day interview on Sirius Satellite Radio.
In fact, Madonna, 48, who angered church leaders with a controversial crucifixion scene
on her most recent tour, has some even bigger spiritual shoes to fill. "For me we all need to be Jesus in our time," she says.
Defending the scene, which featured video images of AIDS orphans in Africa, she says: "Jesus's message was to love your neighbor as yourself, and these are people in need. I hope that people got that message.
"Of course some people thought 'Oh, she's just being controversial, she's just getting on a cross and trying to piss people off,' but that wasnt my intention at all."
In the interview, which will be rebroadcast Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on Sirius's new OutQ/channel 109 station, she also talks about her connection to her gay fans: "Gay men are perfect men for girls who are tough. They're not threatened by strong women, and they're usually very in touch with their feelings and pay attention to details. I've always had an affinity with gay men."