Elton John was schedule to perform in Egypt on May 18th as part of his "I'm Still Standing Tour."
The New York Daily News reported:
In a February issue of Parade magazine, the 63-year-old singer said that Jesus was a "super-intelligent gay man." Though Jesus is a Christian figure, he is considered a prophet in Islamic religion and, as such, John's statement could be taken as an affront to Islam.
In the same interview, John denounced the Middle East for being cruel towards its homosexual citizens.
"Try being a gay woman in the Middle East -- you're as good as dead," he was quoted as saying.
The head of Egypt's Music Union confirmed that Elton John was canceled for discussing Jesus's potential sexual orientation.
Mounir al-Wasimi, the head of Egypt's Musician Union said his country could not allow: "A homosexual who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Issa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom" to perform.
So what if Jesus might have been gay? We don't really know Jesus's sexual orientation. It was never addressed in the Bible. People have simply assumed Jesus was straight.
Elton John is certainly not the first person to suggest Jesus may have been gay. According to the Bible, Jesus spent the majority of his time with men, never married, was deeply philosophical, was compassionate, and enjoyed wine. That sounds like a lot of the gay men I know.
Egypt's reaction only proves one thing -- the Egyptian Government remains deeply homophobic. Suggesting Jesus may have been gay is not an insult. Suggesting anyone may be gay is not an insult. Unless one violently hates gay people.
The laws in Egypt against gays and lesbians are harsh. As recently as 2004, a college student was sentenced to 17 years in prison for simply posting a profile on an online gay dating service.
In 2009 the Independent Newspaper Al Balagh Al Gadid was banned for reporting a connection between three actors an a gay prostitution ring.
According to the LA Times:
Most public figures in Egypt want to avoid being connected to homosexuality, which could damage their popularity among Muslim fans.
El Sherif didn't seem bothered with the accusations of belonging to a prostitution network, but was frustrated to be described as a homosexual. "Naming me among other homosexuals defamed me and all Egyptian artists. The Journalists' Syndicate has to be firm with anyone trying to insult the dignity of Egyptian artists," he said.
Egyptian law does specifically criminalize homosexuality. Nonetheless, 21 people were sent to prison for homosexual activities in 2003. At the time, the court said that the verdict was to make an example for anyone else trying to spread immorality and promiscuity in the Egyptian society.