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?