ELTON JOHN: ‘I WOULD BAN RELIGION COMPLETELY’

In a story by Matt Drudge Saturday, musician Sir Elton John stated that he wants religion banned completely — because he believes it promotes hatred of gays.

Speaking to the Observer Music Monthly Magazine the singer said religion lacked compassion and turned people into “hateful lemmings”. Sir Elton said: “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. Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.” 

One could ask Sir Elton John if he would be consistent by also banning any other belief system which breeds hatred towards an idea or person. As far as promoting hatred and spite….I think both sides are guilty of that. 

What does the Bible say about those of the homosexual persuasion! Well, I think it’s prudent to start with how Scripture defines a marriage relationship between a man and a woman: Genesis 2:23-24: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” Procreation, at least before the advances in medical technology, has always depended on the union of a man and wife. This is natural and non-debatable. The unnatural relations between those of the same sex are not condoned in Scripture and are potential dangerous for a variety of reasons. Scripture confirms this most clearly in the book of Romans:  Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that payment of their error which was met.” 

Jesus never presented a “hate the sinner” method of evangelism to those who are lost……..and neither should we. Although we are commanded to “abhor the sin” and live a holy life we are never commanded or encouraged to display emotions of hate when dealing with anyone who is doing anything contrary to God’s Word. Jesus left an example for us by always advancing grace, forgiveness and instruction for holy living.  Nonetheless, Scripture warns not only of the earthly consequences of such sins, but eternal ones as well:  I Corinthians 6:9: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit thekingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals”  I believe we will reach far many more people for Christ out of love then we will fear or condemnation…….perhaps someday, even Sir Elton John!  

Jim Richardson

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13 Responses

  1. It was interesting cos Elton was reported as saying positive as well as negative things about faith.
    GOD BLESS
    Maria in the UK
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  2. Elton really isn’t very bright, in my opinion. Hardly to be taken seriously as a socio-political commentator.

    The unnatural relations between those of the same sex are not condoned in Scripture and are potential dangerous for a variety of reasons.

    Yes to the first part of your statement. Those who try to explain away passages like Romans 1 haven’t got a leg to stand on.

    But, re the second part of your statement, you’re the one without a leg to stand on. Homosexual sex is potentially dangerous? For a variety of reasons?

    No more dangerous than heterosexual sex. Indeed, homosexuals don’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancies – that’s one risk they don’t take.

    If homosexuality is dangerous, it’s only because God actively sends destruction on gays and lesbians, as some evangelicals would argue.

    Personally, I don’t think God is in that business. Moreover, evangelicals focus far too much on this issue, given how little attention it receives in scripture. Christians are welcome to their distinctive mores, but they should keep things in perspective.

  3. Stephen, thanks for your valued comments.

    I believe Paul wrote Romans 1:27 for a reason. Again, it says: “And likewise also the men….burned in their lust one toward another….and receiving in themselves that payment of their error which was met.” Paul says that there are physical/ emotional consequences not only to this sin but to ALL sin. In this light, it IS dangerous.

    Nonetheless from the Christian standpoint, the fact that Scripture forbids practicing homosexuality should be reason enough not to engage in any arguement that otherwise substantiates it.

    Blessings,
    Jim

  4. Do you mean that the scripture verse (Rom. 1:27) is sufficient to prove your point, in the absence of any medical evidence?

    To be more pointed, are you referring to HIV/AIDS as the “gay curse” it was initially made out to be? You may have noticed that heterosexuals contract HIV/AIDS, too.

    Illustrate the scripture for me by pointing to the damage which is unique to homosexual sex.

  5. Stephen,

    To respond to your question, it’s certain that either physical or emotional consequences are referred to in Rom. 1:27 (your choice which) and that the homosexual act as a choice is manifestly a sinful one. Yet I will certainly concede that for the Christian to refer to HIV/AIDS as the “gay curse” serves only to antagonize and alienate a group of “persecuted” people.

    You had previously written that you agreed “the unnatural relations between those of the same sex are not condoned in Scripture” therefore I’m assuming that we both concede that at least morally, it’s wrong. Yes, Rom. 1:27 alone sufficiently demonstrates this point. Since the Bible teaches that all sin is separation from God and conflicts with our fellowship with God (as a believer) this should end the debate, agreed?

    Medically speaking, the corresponding “plumbing” between male and female are not designed for any other purpose than that which it was intended (Genesis 2:23-24), even though they are used for other such purposes. Therefore physical/ emotional consequences are far more likely to manifest themselves in much greater frequency. To avoid being devastatingly explicit, it’s best that I conclude on that note.

    To put it simpler: Because we can, does not always mean we should! Adam (and Eve) learned this the hard way.

    Blessings,
    Jim

  6. I appreciate your patient responses to my questions.

  7. ….And thank you for the opportunity to chat, Stephen!
    Jim

  8. “…a group of ‘persecuted’ people.”

    Why do you put “persecuted” in quotes?

    1. There are at least eight countries of the world in which one can be legally murdered for having a homosexual relationship (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_laws_of_the_world); you may remember the recent furore in Iran whereby two young boys (neither above eighteen, as I recall) were hanged. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4725959.stm)

    2. In Britain it was illegal until ’67. (http://www.stonewall.org.uk/information_bank/history__lesbian__gay/89.asp) Witness the fate of my personal hero Alan Turing, one of the greatest minds in history and a war hero, who was subjected to hormone treatment (he started to grow breasts) and eventually driven to suicide. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing)

    3. Few other groups of people face individuals who call for action, often drastic or violent, to be taken against them. We see hate crimes against gay individuals—some of which are astonishingly evil, such as the accidental death of an infant whose father worried that he was too effeminate and could be gay, and so took to boxing him to make him more masculine. (http://www.sovo.com/blog/index.cfm?start=7/10/05&end=7/17/05) Gay teenagers are often rejected by their parents, and constitute an extraordinarily large percentage of homeless youths in the US. (http://www.aliforneycenter.org/TimeOut.html)

    Perhaps you see why I am intrigued by the quotation marks? 🙂

  9. I hope I’m not coming across as too hostile, by the way! I am just very sensitive to the pernicious notion that gay people actively want to be persecuted. What teenager wants to be thrown out of home and rejected by her parents? Who relishes the thought of being assaulted, and possibly murdered? Why would anyone seek to become suicidal? The situation is getting much better for gay individuals, but they are still a long way from feeling welcomed by society.)

  10. Hello Jordan,

    You asked: Why do you put “persecuted” in quotes?

    I condemn violence toward homosexuals but consider that some homosexuals bring this persecution (by unlawful people or through disease) on themselves through certain behaviours. Romans 1:27 says that the homosexual act as a choice is manifestly a sinful one. However, whether one is born gay or not, the God from the Bible says that nce you recognize it as sin in God’s eyes you have not sinned UNTILL you have acted on those unnatural desires (which also goes for any other addictive sin for that matter).

    I disagree though that they are still a long way from feeling welcomed by society. In fact, the media had accepted them and their behaviour by allowing them to permiate most of it’s programming. The Christian has the responsibility to turn this programming off so as not to conform ourselves to this world.

    Finally, I don’t believe that most homosexuals wish upon themselves persecution but then again they also should not exhibit “unnatural desires” publically and expect them to be accepted as “natural”. For the Christian who has homosexual desires, he or she must run to the pages of Scripture and pray that God will give them grace to control these “unnatural” (Romans 1:27) desires. He can and will to those who are humble and seek His face.

    Prayerfully,

    Jim Richardson

  11. “I condemn violence toward homosexuals but consider that some homosexuals bring this persecution (by unlawful people or through disease) on themselves through certain behaviours.”

    That’s rather unfair. In my psychology class, we referred to this as “victim blame”—it’s the same phenomenon which blames raped women for dressing provocatively. While there are understandable motivations behind victim blame, it nevertheless seems cruel, to me, to hold gay people responsible for the actions of criminals against them. One might just as easily blame Stephen for being stoned in Acts!

    “Romans 1:27 says that the homosexual act as a choice is manifestly a sinful one. However, whether one is born gay or not, the God from the Bible says that nce you recognize it as sin in God’s eyes you have not sinned UNTILL you have acted on those unnatural desires (which also goes for any other addictive sin for that matter).”

    First, I’d like to separate homosexual ACTS from homosexual ORIENTATION. The former is mentioned in the Bible; the second is ignored. The difference between the two is as essential as the difference between heterosexuality and adultery. Generally, when I refer to someone being gay or homosexual, I am referring to their orientation, not action.

    I don’t think that one is born gay; otherwise, I’d expect the MZ twin correlations to be higher. However, it certainly isn’t a choice. This can be understood through pure logic: if we don’t know what causes homosexualit, then we cannot make a choice to actively avoid it, and therefore cannot choose (by any reasonable sense of the word) to be gay. On the other hand, it is obvious that homosexual activities are a choice.

    Regarding what you say about homosexual desires being unnatural, and your justification using Romans 1: it seems obvious that Romans is referring to heterosexuals; there are various contextual indicators to this effect. Unfortunately, this will be a long explanation, and I hope that you will excuse me.

    The English word “natural” is a very ambiguous word; just look it up in the dictionary, and you will generally find a number of (sometimes conflicting) definitions. Which of these definitions was Paul using in the Bible? Well, the Greek word used is “physikos,” which is used in one other part of the Bible, 2 Peter 2:12—”But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of INSTINCT, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.”

    We often consider that the word “natural” impllies that something is intrinsically more moral, or correct, than the alternatives. But this verse has quite the opposite meaning: clearly, acting in accordance with one’s instincts, or nature, is boorish and incorrect. In many respects, behaving unnaturally should be considered the highest praise to a good Christian. It seems odd, therefore, to consider that Paul intended to convey precisely the opposite sense by using the exact same word—this indicates that something less straightforward is going on.

    Going against one’s instincts is considered praiseworthy because it demonstrates both self-control and submission to God. This is key to understanding this passage: the sense of bridling our nature and handing the reins to God. In this passage, people have similarly bridled themselves, but who holds the reins?

    Now, perhaps, the horrifying truth is sinking in. These men and women are not merely ignoring God; they are actively rebelling against Him, even if that means acting out of accordance with their own natures. By definition, homosexuality is an instinctive attraction to one’s own sex—so you must see that this passage only makes sense if the individuals being referred to are heterosexually oriented. Any other interpretation weakens the import of Paul’s message.

    This meaning becomes even more obvious if you read the preceding verses. Understand that this passage is showing a progression of separation from God, culminating in absolute and active rejection. First, they practised idolatry. Then, in Romans 1:25, Paul tells us, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…”

    Homosexual activities were not the culmination of their evils. Verses 28–31: “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they INVENT WAYS OF DOING EVIL; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

    I emphasised that particular item because it reinforces Paul’s point that these people are not merely ignorant, but actively disobedient. And in verse 32, he makes this explicit: “Although THEY KNOW God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Finally, Paul drops his bombshell in Romans 2:1—”You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” His audience may have felt complacent, even self-righteous, as they listened to Paul enumerating the crimes of idolatry and homosexual temple prostitution. Perhaps they started becoming uncomfortable when he went on to more common sins, sins which they themselves may have committed. But now they cannot escape the force of his condemnation; they are also guilty.

    An exclusive reading of Romans 1:26–27 as a verse applying only to homosexuals, and not as an illustration of willful rebellion, seriously weakens the impact of Paul’s message. By no means am I say that Paul was excluding homosexuals from his admonitions; but it is important that Paul was using the word “natural” to imply that the individuals under discussion are instinctively attracted to the opposite sex.

    So perhaps you now see why that passage does not justify using the word “unnatural” to describe homosexual desires!

    “I disagree though that they are still a long way from feeling welcomed by society.”

    The death penalty seems quite unwelcoming!

    “In fact, the media had accepted them and their behaviour by allowing them to permiate most of it’s programming.”

    Most? I think you overestimate how often gay people are portrayed; if anything, I suspect that homosexual characters are under-represented in the media, aside from silly shows like “Queer Eye”. But the question is academic unless either of us have figures to back our arguments up.

    “Finally, I don’t believe that most homosexuals wish upon themselves persecution but then again they also should not exhibit ‘unnatural desires’ publically and expect them to be accepted as ‘natural’.”

    Are you advising that they should get back into the closet? Again, I think that is very unfair. I have a number of gay friends, and those who are not “out” are generally less happy than those who are, as well as being deeply afraid that they might be discovered. Fear and unhappiness aren’t emotions which I would promote!

    “For the Christian who has homosexual desires, he or she must run to the pages of Scripture and pray that God will give them grace to control these ‘unnatural’ (Romans 1:27) desires. He can and will to those who are humble and seek His face.”

    Again, see earlier for my reasoning against using the term “unnatural”. It doesn’t mean that something is right or wrong, and in this context at least it has been misapplied.

    But I am pleased that you advise sumbission to the scriptures. Many others advocate an expensive and frankly dangerous attempt be made at changing orientation, and I’m glad that you do not. 🙂

    With blessings,
    Jordan

  12. Sorry to post twice in a row, but I just thought of an interesting parallel to something you said above, Jim:

    “I don’t believe that most Christians wish upon themselves persecution but then again they also should not exhibit unnatural ‘religious observances’ publically and expect them to be accepted as ‘natural’.”

    Would this strike you as a fair statement? Why, or why not? And if you don’t, why is it fair when said of homosexuals?

  13. Jordan, thanks for your response. My comments follow yours:

    “That’s rather unfair. In my psychology class, we referred to this as “victim blame”—it’s the same phenomenon which blames raped women for dressing provocatively.
    While there are understandable motivations behind victim blame, it nevertheless seems cruel, to me, to hold gay people responsible for the actions of criminals against them. One might just as easily blame Stephen for being stoned in Acts!”

    Jordan, it was not my intent to suggest that we hold gay people responsible for the actions of criminals against them. However, it seems that just as a female dressing provocatively down the wrong street “can” increase, to some degree, the chances of a rape occurring, likewise persecution in some form will likely occur during “gay” events where the lifestyle of those participating is antagonistically demonstrated in a public fashion. This is not victim blame but is called maintaining a level of responsible behavior. This perhaps rare occurrence was what I was referring to in my previous example. Stephen, by the way, certainly knew the risks involved in preaching the Gospel, therefore he was hardly a victim at the time.

    “I don’t think that one is born gay; otherwise, I’d expect the MZ twin correlations to be higher. However, it certainly isn’t a choice. This can be understood through pure logic: if we don’t know what causes homosexuality, then we cannot make a choice to actively avoid it, and therefore cannot choose (by any reasonable sense of the word) to be gay. On the other hand, it is obvious that homosexual activities are a choice.”

    Logic suggests that it’s possible to be born homosexual simply because people are born with all forms of mental and physical irregularities which are not considered natural. With that said, I’m by no means implying that all homosexuals are born gay, in fact most choose their lifestyle. Likewise I don’t believe people are born bank robbers or rapists, I believe this is purely societal. Thankfully both you and I agree 100% that homosexual activities are a choice.

    “Regarding what you say about homosexual desires being unnatural, and your justification using Romans 1: it seems obvious that Romans is referring to heterosexuals; there are various contextual indicators to this effect. Unfortunately, this will be a long explanation, and I hope that you will excuse me….”

    My argument is not with those who make a distinction between being born gay or becoming gay, it is with those who chose to act on their affections. I would be interested in your view on this within the context of Christianity.

    “So perhaps you now see why that passage does not justify using the word “unnatural” to describe homosexual desires!”

    No, I do not and would be forced to respectfully disagree with your opinion. For the Christian, behaving “unnaturally” (or not conforming) in a fallen world is hardly akin to describing the unnatural use of a woman, which Paul does in Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that payment of their error which was met. The text speaks for itself; the act of homosexuality is “against nature” hence it is unnatural. The natural use of sexual relations are described in Genesis 2:23-24: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” Paul would never suggest anything contrary to this previous apologetic. To digress a moment: Whether or not Romans 1:26-27 is referring to disease of the body or some other form or recompense, it is stated that those who abandon the natural use of the woman and lust for one another (and women likewise) will receive in themselves the “payment” for their error. It refrains from stating how and when. Romans goes on to say that God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting in respect to homosexual desires.

    “Are you advising that they should get back into the closet? Again, I think that is very unfair. I have a number of gay friends, and those who are not “out” are generally less happy than those who are, as well as being deeply afraid that they might be discovered. Fear and unhappiness aren’t emotions which I would promote!”

    Jordan, allow me to respond this way: Affection between a man and woman should maintain “a” degree of modesty outside the bedroom, albeit many disagree on what that degree represents. One thing that should be considered in this debate is that children especially are highly observant and should not have to endure the passions of heterosexual lustful youth as it’s displayed in various public locales. This is bad enough but when homosexuals are involved it makes it all the more difficult to explain these actions to our children. Which begs the question: at what point do the sexual liberties of a society become offensive and reason for restraint? Sexuality should remain a very personal thing. It was given as a gift by our creator which was then swiftly exploited and demoralized by His creation. Jordan, if your friends are not Christian then they are led (and deceived) by the “gods” of this world and will be judged without Christ as their mediator. They must be lead to Christ and shown where true happiness is found.

    “I don’t believe that most Christians wish upon themselves persecution but then again they also should not exhibit unnatural ‘religious observances’ publicly and expect them to be accepted as ‘natural’.”

    Actually, I accept this as a viable statement with the assumption that you are purposefully misapplying the term “natural” for the word “normal”. There are normal (expected) religious observances but there are also abnormal religious observances/ events that are well beyond the “pale of orthodoxy” in terms of doctrine and conduct which should be swiftly condemned by “the church”.

    To wrap up, for the Christian who has homosexual desires, he or she must run to the pages of Scripture and pray that God will give them grace to control these (Romans 1:27) desires….whether they are unnatural or not! For those who are presently homosexual I would share with them the love of Christ by holding fast to what Jesus said:”Condemn not and you shall not be condemned” Luke 6:37. Jesus condemns the sin, not the sinner; therefore I must do the same.

    Hopefully I have addressed your responses adequately. I respect and appreciate your well composed responses and hope that we can dialogue further.

    Blessings to you, Jordan!!! 😉

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