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.