Elton John and Jesus

Yuiko Sugino/Guardian

A Pathetic — Yet Fruitful — Plea for Attention

In an interview with Parade magazine last week, Elton John — ’70s pop icon with a flair for sequins, sunglasses and all things flamboyant, in case you live under a rock — ruffled the feathers of Christian leadership with a bold statement.

“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man,” he said.

Naturally, superimposing gayness on an individual from whom millions of people derive their religious identity has gotten John into quite a mess. But by insisting on Jesus’ homosexuality, John had to have known he was fanning the flames of controversy — and so he got his wish.

Think about it: While twenty- and thirtysomething celebrities fading from pop-culture relevance have the luxury of sex tapes and paparazzi crotch shots at their disposal, an older icon such as John has but one avenue to grabbing headlines (other than death): spouting off irrelevant opinions on contentious issues.

Or, in this case, creating one all his own.

And while John’s homo-Jesus beliefs haven’t won him much right-wing Christian support, it’s a small price to pay for all the free Internet press he’s snagged along the way.

—Trevor Cox

Opinion Editor

Divisive Announcement Won’t Bring Desired Unity

Though gay Jesus accusations may have netted Elton John a load of press, it’s certainly not his first time.

“Instead of more violence, why isn’t there a meeting of religious leaders?” John said in a 2006 interview with Music Monthly Magazine. “We are all God’s people; we have to get along and the religious leaders have to lead the way.”

But even if he really just wants peace and love, John’s done a thorough job of pissing off Christian leaders. He’s been an especially easy target for outraged bloggers, mocking him and citing verses from Leviticus in condemnation of homosexuality. “He should not speak on things he knows nothing about. Elton John’s lifestyle speaks for itself,” one poster wrote on a Fox News blog.

It’s clear not everyone appreciates John’s religious views (or power ballads), but many of the statements made in opposition to his latest atheistic horn-blow reveal that much of the Christian community is still — surprise, surprise — unwilling to just get along. So, regardless to what he thinks about Jesus’ sexual preferences, if it’s really religious unity and peace John is after, alienating the Christian community isn’t the wisest place to start.

—Arik Burakovsky

Staff Writer

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