Saturday, October 27, 2007

Elton John and religion

I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.

But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion. From my point of view I would ban religion completely.

Organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.

The man may have a lovely singing voice, but don't expect "Open the Eyes of my Heart" anytime soon.

These excerpts are from Dick Staub's website(you know, the author of The Culturally Savvy Christian), and are originally taken from an interview with Sir Elton John in the Observer Music Monthly Magazine.

While I don't put much stock in some Sir Elton's other assertions, such as the political ones--I'm reminded of James Caan's words: "Nobody should give a sh*t about an actor's opinion on politics."--his statements about religion I do attend to, as Sir Elton is a person, and even happens to be one of particular influence; his remarks on religion and homosexuality remind me of some of Sir Ian McKellan's, and I can only suppose that there are particular Christians and episodes at the root of these feelings.

It's a common accusation that religion, Christianity in particular(since people find bigger things to rag Islam about), promotes "hatred" towards homosexuals. I have to admit that this is sometimes very much the case... if you don't agree, then aren't familiar with Fred Phelps. The counter-argument is of course that these people are preaching the Christian message, which is true, but they're definitely presenting a religion, even if a disgusting one founded on a depraved perversion of the Word of the Lord.
Almost as frightening as the filth that some people will preach in the name of Christ is that this can be made to seem the norm, so long as people like Sir Elton are willing to make statements such as "religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays." He is not only a well-recognized voice to the whole world, but is an iconic voice to the homosexual populace, and even if they have not experienced such hate themselves(and, sadly, there may be few who have not), they may be prone to trust the words of such a voice.

Now, obviously, the scripture does not encourage ill-will towards anyone on the part of the Christian; those who preach hateful-rhetoric against homosexuals would likely, as a Jew in the 1st Century, have hated the Samaritans as well, despite Christ's revolutionary call to do otherwise. This sort of problem is not new, and Jesus adressed it expressly. Yet people almost expect it of us. They just understand "Christian" as, among other things, one who hates gays.

So what can we do about this? I submit that the church needs to redefine the term "Christian", to the world.
Okay, nice suggestion, but what does that entail? When people think "Christian", they're likely going to call to mind some image from reality as an illustration, a person or people, rather than recall some dictionary definition. Now it may be true that the media will always, true to their sensationalistic roots, focus on the negative news from 'Chrisendom', and we shall always stand at a disadvantage in forming the Christian image there. Nevertheless, the most powerful, the day-to-day encounters that inform this image are always under our control. The worst utterance of one of today's proported representatives of Christianity can be overcome by the simple acts of love that Christ called us all to in our relationships with others. A questionaire developed by Fuller Seminary for converts from Islam shows that the most important influence in the respondents' decisions to follow Christ was the lifestyle of Christians.
Yet it is not always this way. Ghandi famously said that "if it weren't for Christians, I'd be a Christian." Nietzsche said something to the same effect. These things are painful to realize. If we--the Church, down to her last member--would only begin to take seriously the callings of scripture, no longer to "assume the words of Christ to have meant the very least that they could mean", then we won't any longer have to lament the hate that Elton John has seen or received in the name of Christ. It we were to actually be Christians, then what would happen? It's a radical lifestyle, but it's exactly what Christ lived, it's exactly what we see in the book of Acts, and it's exactly what we are still called to.

If anyone thinks he has faith and yet is indifferent towards this possession, is neither cold nor hot, he can be certain that he does not have faith. If anyone thinks he is a Christian and yet is indifferent towards his being a Christian, then he really is not one at all. What would we think of a man who affirmed that he was in love and also that it was a matter of indifference to him?
- Søren Kierkegaard

And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
- Luke 10:27

1 comment:

Daniel McLain Hixon said...

I'm glad that Elton John, because of his own experience of persecution, has become so compassionate and loving that he wants to "ban all religion" making who I am in Christ illegal (does that sound familiar, Sir Elton) for tolerance's sake?!

No seriously, is he THAT hypocritical? REALLY?!

It is really scary to me that well-respected and influencial people in our world are advocating such positions.