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Elton John’s Not About Organized Religion

As we just mentioned, Elton John‘s caused quite a stir with a less-than-glowing review of organized religion. In the aforementioned interview with Jake Shears, John chides the ways in which religion’s been used to repress the homos. Yakking it up, John points out, “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.” He continues:

From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it… But the reality is that organised religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate…

…Instead of more violence why isn’t there a [meeting of religious leaders]. It’s all got to be dialogue – that’s the only way. Get everybody from each religion together and say ‘Listen, this can’t go on. Why do we have all this hatred?’

We are all God’s people; we have to get along and the [religious leaders] have to lead the way. If they don’t do it, who else is going to do it?

Hmmm, it seems to us that John’s got two exceedingly valid points. One, religion has too often been used to fuel homo-hatred. Two, that religious leaders aren’t doing enough to fight discrimination. Sure, he’s being a bit harsh, but nobody’s ever changed the world with conciliatory comments. Right?

An Irish Reverend by the name of Giles Fraser, however, has spoken out against John’s statements:

It made me really sad … because so much of what he said is true… I don’t believe religion does that but it’s a misconception widely held. It reflects the fact that members of the gay community think the church is deeply hostile to them and to their interests. I don’t believe [religion] is homophobic, I believe that’s a mistaken interpretation. And (his comments) don’t help those struggling to change that perception.

That statement, too, rings with validity. Many homos do find the Church to be aggressive and the influential musician’s words do add fuel to the fire.

Of course, those are just our brief thoughts on the matter. So, readers, we ask you: do you think John deserves to be censured for his comments or do you think he’s right on the money?

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Nov 13, 2006
Tagged: , , ,

    • C4bl3Fl4m3

      How about something in between censuring (which has a strong sense of authority and reprimanding) and thinking he’s right on the money? Those are both at the extremes.

      He’s got some good points, and, yes, organized religion has been used over the years to support hatred, but there’s also religions out there today that are being used to further the embracing of diversity. Hasn’t he ever heard of the Unitarian Universalists or the Metropolitan Community Church, among many others? Banning religion seems to be a bit extreme. Instead, why don’t we work on having organized religion become a conduit for love and celebration of all people?

      Nov 13, 2006 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lola Kuntz
      Lola Kuntz

      There is no reason to censure Elton. I feel the same way and it’s one of the reasons I’m not a practicing “Catholic”. Who the hell are they to preach when they are sexually abusing children?

      Nov 13, 2006 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Otto

      Is there some place where I can send some love to Sir Elton? He is in a position to speak to millions, and he chose to speak our voice and stand up against the religious bullies. He’s spot-on: the religious leaders are not interested in human kind. In a time when they can set an example and call for peace and tolerance amongst all religions, they chose to make themselves look righteous by bullying a minority. They’re nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites and cowards. Thank god for Sir Elton.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin

      He is right.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jackson

      I think what people did to stop doing is preaching about how certain people should be more tolerant over someone else’s choice in life and start be more tolerent over other peoples choices in life.

      Don’t understand what I mean?

      I’ll break it down.

      You want people to be more accepting of homosexuals. Granted, I believe more people should be, and yes, I’m a practicing christian. I think we should all be more tolerent of that and I would like to see it excepted more in churchs of all breeds. However, You can not speak out and say, “Let’s ban religion because it won’t become more tolerent of me”… Because it contridicts the message you are trying to get across – You can’t eat a 100 cheeseburgers a day and get obese and still complain about smokers and how they are ruining their health.

      The danger I see that messages like this create is – It allows people to force tolerance upon other people and say, that’s okay. If we ban religion, is that not just force tolerance? Is that not dicrimnation against christians?
      IS it not in fact the exact same thing that is claimed to be happening to homosexuals? There’s always two sides to every fence. I agree that it has to stop and there has to be a meeting point in the middle where we can all come together and do what is right. But is church bashing really the right way to go about it aren’t you just countering a negaitve with another negative?

      Nov 13, 2006 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bearofdarkness

      Ok, as right as he may be, it’s not good for us that he said this. I mean be real! It’s going to be twisted by the media and only used as a further wedge between the straight world and gay community! I can just see some moderate straight people taking insult at this statemetn, because they won’t think about what he’s said. They’ll just look at the headline and blow their corks!

      I was born and raised Catholic, like many of the gay men I know. I know some gay priests and friars, not the child molesting ones, I mean upright decent openly gay clergy! And as much as what Sir Elton said is right, it doesn’t help.

      I can’t wait to hear what my family has to say about this at Thanksgiving. I can just see my mother now. She’s come a long way in accepting my partner and I. Hell, she recently asked me when we’re getting married! This from a woman who less than 10 years ago wanted to make sure that we didn’t kiss in front of the family!

      I don’t practice any religion, like most adults that aren’t raising children straight or gay. I think most of us are aware of the evil done in God’s name over the millenia, but as we gain acceptance, is it necessary for us to spit in Middle America’s face? And the rest of the religious world.

      I’m conflicted on this, not the first time in my life I’ve been labled that, I agree what he said, but find it inapproriate. Just my two cents.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jonathon

      Karl Marx said it best: “Religion is the opium of the masses”.

      Elton’s right. He may be brusque and offensive in the way he delivers his ideas, but he’s right.

      Middle America is coming around, but it’s slow. Fundamentalists and evangelicals have targeted gays and lesbians as enemy #1 of their movement and have focused a lot of their resources and political battles in working to deny us the equal rights we are guaranteed under the US Constitution. I don’t really care about “winning” the hearts and minds of bigots; what I care about is that the rule of law guaranteeing my equal rights is enforced and respected.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott

      I’m afraid that Elton Is quite correct. Organized religion as can easily be revealed by perusing a decent history textbook is filled with orgies of violence or the incitement to violence. The present violence carried out by Islamic fundamentalists is really par for the course. Reverend Fraser ought to read the bible some time or the front pages – loads of blood and gore, all in the name of God. I myself am very spiritual and can clearly see what happens when one’s beliefs and judgements join up with mass movements, you get a deadly combination that becomes intolerant and quite often lethal.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J R Brown
      J R Brown


      You seem to be quite clear that you don’t care what others think…that you only want your “rights” protected. But, you seem to fail to understand that if gay people are going to be accepted in society, you MUST change the way people think. People will smile and say nice things and make nice so they are not sued or otherwise penalized, but they won’t change how they THINK in response to stiff arm tactics. They will still think the same way you find so reprehensible. And that will never lead to acceptance and tolerance.

      Religions are never going to go away. To speak out and say that they should be banned is just showing the world your ass…nothing more. Publicity, even bad publicity, is never bad, as the saying goes. You really think Elton John would say something so insanely unintelligent without a reason? Yes…religion has been the source of so much “bad”…but is also the source of some “good” as well. And to stand up and tell billions of people that they are idiots and should wake up and dump religion is dumb. It will only alienate billions of people from your “cause”.

      Nov 13, 2006 at 6:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan

      He’s going far too far with the whole ‘banning’ part. Criticism is one thing, banning is somthing far far different. This may be a trite sort of example, but what if someone said “Gays tend to promote the hatred of long-held religious values. I just don’t think that gay communities make the world a better place. Homosexuality is supposed to be about love, and so often it’s just about lust and spreading disease that hurts so many people. It should be banned completely. Though some gay individuals do have loving relationships. And gay people have produced some beautiful things and I enjoy the artistic works and accomplishments of many people who have been gay.”

      Does that sound tolerant? Hardly. It’s hard to throw stones when your own windows are glass.

      Nov 14, 2006 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Broam

      Elton John’s comments are wholly misinformed and misleading (as are most of the comments above). If he wishes to be known as opinionated, he should stick with what he does best, making trashy comments about his fellow celebrities. I am a member of the Canadian Anglican church, and gay, and I haven’t noticed myself turning into a “hateful lemming”. I am well aware of homophobia within the church as well as outside it. Homophobia is non-religious in origin – look at the track record of officially atheistic states in regards to gay rights! Did any gay teenager being harassed by his peers in high school ever get the impression that they were motivated by a pure love of God? Religion just happens to be one convenient way of “dignifying” homophobia; but there also philosophical, ideological, legal and medical ways of doing so that don’t make reference to the supposed will of God. Religion bashing happens to be in this year, what with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris both publishing books calling for an end to it; and when has Elton John ever resisted a a trend? Remember a few years ago when he rushed to Eminem’s defense when gay and feminists activists were criticizing him for his truly hateful lyrics. As I recall, Elton John said that he found Eminem’s music “funny”. Eminem’s music was so cool, you see. His anti-religious remarks would have a lot more credibility with me if it hadn’t been for that little incident.

      Nov 15, 2006 at 8:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stan

      Get ready San Fransico, SIN , will be done away with. that Tsunami is coming.

      Nov 16, 2006 at 2:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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