Annette Gross

Elton John: Religion Creates "Hateful Lemmings"

Filed By Annette Gross | November 13, 2006 11:46 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

In an interview yesterday (November 12, 2006), Elton John remarked that organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination. "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people," John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."

"But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," he said. "From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."

I would tend to disagree with that blanket statement. Here in Indianapolis, churches like Jesus MCC Church, Broadway Methodist Church and St. Luke's Methodist Church are gay-affirming congregations, and have done much to promote the well-being of their GLBT congregants. At the PFLAG Tri-State Conference I recently attended in Chicago, I met various clergy from the Jewish, Catholic, and Episcopal faiths, to name a few, who are working within their denominations on behalf of their GLBT members and their families.

Unfortunately, what Elton John seems to be basing his opinions on are the gay-bashing ministries that make headlines all-too-often these days. We see very little in the media about the gay-affirming congregations and the clergy who are bringing their congregants together, both gay and straight, in a loving, accepting atmosphere. Perhaps we should invite Mr. John to Indianapolis.

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Great post, Annette. I think you're right on the money.

While some sects/denominations in Christianity are obviously detrimental to LGBT folks, some are supportive. It's dangerous to paint with such a wide brush...

However, I have to admit that a lot (if not most) of the violence done throughout history has been done in the name of some assorted deity. Every religion claims their God is a god of love, while at the same time killing their neighbors for not worshipping the god enough/properly/at all.

Personally, I'd like it better if folks were honest enough with themselves and their communities to just honestly say, "I don't like gay people. I have a phobia/prejudice/icky feeling." instead of always blaming it on God as if "Well, if he hadn't told me personally that you were going to burn in hell, I'd have no problems whatsoever with you." You know that's just not true, so why put on the false face and lay the blame at the feet of a God who supposedly loves everyone? Reminds me of the old song, "Jesus loves me but he can't stand you."

You're right Bil. Just look at the Crusades and the Inquisition. Or the forced conversions in Africa and Asia. People are too chicken to own up to their own fears and it's easier to blame it on "their" G-d. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. At least in New York City, people usually tell you to your face how they feel. It's amazing how people are so prejudiced but they can't even admit to themselves where it's coming from!

Yeah.. I agree. To paint all people in a religion with a widebrush is unhelpful. It's how they practice their faith.. the way in which they apply the teachings that matter.

As practicing Catholic, I get a lot of guff from my friends in the GLBT community.... but I am in a parish that is loving and accepting, if unofficially. The hierarchy is another matter, and hypocrisy runs rampant. But, I believe we do ourselves a disservice to run away.. instead to face down the bigots takes more guts.

When I meet God in the Eucharist amongst my loving family, and this includes out gays and lesbians where I go.. that is my most quiet and profound moment of the week. And God has sustained me many times in the darkest hour or my desperation. Without my faith, I doubt I would still be here today. That's why it pains me to hear the bigots using "God's word" or their interpretations to bash my family and friends.

I am not really a religious person, but I don't blame religion per se. I agree a lot of violence in history has been done in the name of god, but religion is merely a powerful tool to accomplish man's real goal of greed and power. If religion did not exist, man would invent some other means to aquire greed and power.