Elton John: “Jesus Was Gay”

The premiere of my series “Why It Doesn’t Work has been preempted by Elton John.

It’s been the talk of the news media and the blogosphere for days now. Elton John was quoted in an interview with Parade magazine over the weekend as saying “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.”.

Unfortunately in his attempt to make sense of the figure of Jesus, he outraged a metric crapton (yes that IS an actual measurement) of religious groups. Of course it really doesn’t take much to outrage religious groups these days. So it’s not surprising that Sir Elton’s attempt to make sense of religion really pissed some people off.

Church leaders and biblical scholars rushed to dispute John’s views of Jesus.

Lecturer Joan Taylor, of King’s College London, insisted Jesus was celibate or “sexually ascetic”.

Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, said the gay claim was “a desperate cry for attention”.

A kinder take on Sir Elton’s ideas from Catholic Herald editor Luke Coppen were: “Someone once said we all try to remake God in our own image. It’s just possible that Elton John might be guilty of that.”

A Church of England spokesman said insights on Jesus were “perhaps best left to academics”

Bloggers have come out of the woodwork decrying Elton’s quotes as well:

One blogger known as Rhardin tells Fox News’ 411 blog, “I will never listen to this man’s music again. How dare he speak of my Lord in such a disgraceful way. He should not speak on things he knows nothing about. I hope and pray that all Christians will take a stand on this one. Elton John’s lifestyle speaks for itself.”

Elsewhere, bobj72 tells TheDailyBeast.com, “While I have had some appreciation for Elton John’s music…he could not be further from the truth on this matter regarding Jesus. It is clearly stated in Leviticus 18:22, 23; that Christ sees homosexuality as an abomination.”

Upon investigation, Jesus did not say anything of the sort in that passage. Jesus wasn’t even quoted because Leviticus is one of the books in the Old Testament. Even in the Old Testament (NIV version) homosexuality isn’t called an abomination. It is called “detestable” : ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Technically homosexuality isn’t referred to at all.

Some Biblical scholars even claim that the interpretation is wrong and that quote actually means that two men shouldn’t have sex in the marriage bed that a hetero couple share.

All that aside, I think that too many people put far too much stock into what celebrities say. If I said that Jesus got it on with Mary Magdalene and they had a kid just like Dan Brown said in his novel, no one would give a rat’s hind quarters because 1) I’m not a celebrity and 2) most people know I’m a non-believer and would expect me to say something like that.

Lots of people worship a black Jesus, a European Jesus or a Spanish Jesus. They seek to make their god something they can understand and relate to. Elton did the same thing. Nothing more. I have no belief in any divine being, but I can relate to that.



  1. February 23, 2010 at 1:26 am

    My Bible tells me that Jesus did not sin.

    It also tells me the following in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

    I do not judge Elton John, but his actions, when I say that he is wrong when saying that Jesus is gay.

    • Herbwoman said,

      February 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

      The King James version of 1 Cor 6:9 reads: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…

      There is no use of the actual word ‘homosexuality’ in the Bible.

  2. February 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Please take the time to read the article below:

    Is Arsenokoitai Really that Mysterious?

    Homosexual Sin in 1 Corinthians 6:9

    This article first appeared in the Practical Hermeneutics column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 30, number 6 (2007). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9 NKJV).
    Not long ago I was designing an ethics course for a small Christian college when I had the opportunity to interview Reverend Robyn Provis of All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible. Reverend Provis adamantly remarked on several occasions in the interview that a sure-fire way to halt interfaith dialogue in its tracks—one of the most underhanded tactics evangelicals use to justify their position—is the use of what she called the “clobbering” verses of Scripture.
    Theologians Douglas Stuart and Gordon D. Fee suggest that “the recognition of a degree of cultural relativity is a valid hermeneutical procedure and is an inevitable corollary of the occasional nature of epistles.” They offer guidelines for distinguishing between ideas that are relative to any given culture and ideas that are transcendent of culture and normative for Christians (and non-Christians). One of those guidelines as stated consists of documenting ideas—or the particular use of a word or phrase—about which the New Testament (NT) has a consistent witness and those about which it does not. The following is an application of this guideline to one crucial Greek word, arsenokoitai, which appears in one of the most popular so-called clobbering passages, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10.
    Dirty Old Men? Theologian Mel White agrees that the Greek word arsenokoitai, used for “homosexual” in 1 Corinthians 6:9, seems to refer to same-sex behavior. He argues that Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means, however, and that this simple detail is a big part of this tragic debate.
    He explains, “Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to customers of ‘the effeminate call boys.’ We might call them ‘dirty old men.’ Others translate the word as ‘sodomites,’ but never explain what that means.”
    According to White, in 1958, a translator for the New Amplified Bible set historical precedent by translating this “mysterious” Greek word into English as the word “homosexuals,” even though no such word exists in either Greek or Hebrew. It was that translator, according to White, who “placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.”
    White blames this bad translation for the inability of many NT scholars today to make the proper, culturally relevant application of this passage in 1 Corinthians. He adds, “In the past, people used Paul’s writings to oppress women and limit their role in the home, in church, and in society. Now we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is it happening again? Is a word in Greek that has no clear definition being used to reflect society’s prejudice and condemn God’s gay children?’”
    So what is the proper contextual meaning of this mysterious Greek word? The convincing argument from history that Paul is putting forth, White says, is a condemnation of the “married men who hired hairless young boys (malakois) for sexual pleasure just as they hired smooth-skinned young girls for that purpose.”
    In light of this interpretation of the meaning of arsenokoitai, White concludes with an emotional appeal: “Responsible homosexuals would join Paul in condemning anyone who uses children for sex, just as we would join anyone else in condemning the threatened gang rape in Sodom or the behavior of the sex-crazed priests and priestesses in Rome. So…this passage says…nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.”
    Not Such a Mystery. Clinical psychologist and theologian Stanton L. Jones admits that White effectively invokes “the mystery of arsenokoitai,” the unusual word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 that is commonly translated “homosexual sin.” This, however, is not such a mystery, he argues, and its unraveling reveals a more complex picture of Paul’s use of Leviticus.
    Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 forbid a man lying with another man as one would with a woman. Leviticus was originally written in Hebrew, but Paul was a Greek-educated Jew writing to Gentiles in Greek, the common language of the day, and probably was using the Greek translation of the Old Testament available in that day, the Septuagint, or LXX, for his Scripture quotations.
    The Greek translation of these Leviticus passages condemns a man (arseno) lying with (koitai) another man (arseno); these words (excuse the pun) lie side-by-side in these passages in Leviticus. Paul joins these two words together into a neologism, a new word (as we do in saying database or software), and thus he condemns in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy what was condemned in Leviticus.
    Jones believes, then, that the most credible translation of what Paul is condemning in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is a person doing exactly what Leviticus condemns: engaging in homosexual sex (a man being a “man-lier”). Far from dismissing the relevance of Leviticus, Paul is implicitly invoking its enduring validity for our understanding of sexual sin, and drawing on it as the foundation of his teaching on homosexual conduct. He is saying, “Remember what it said not to do in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13? Don’t do that!”
    Sparse and Ambiguous Evidence? Theologian John H. Elliott, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco, has written one of the most thorough studies of 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 to date. He concludes that “nothing in 1 Corinthians, or for that matter in any other biblical writing, speaks directly of the biological or psychological condition of homosexuality or homosexual ‘orientation’ as this is understood today and as it concerns believing Christian gay persons intent on worshipping and serving God.”
    He concludes from his research that the Bible in its entirety, as with 1 Corinthians specifically, offers sparse and ambiguous evidence concerning male-male sexual relationships, and is “conditioned by cultural perceptions and behavioral patterns too alien to those of modern times to provide an adequate basis for a contemporary ethic of homosexuality as homosexuality is currently understood.” If a case is to be made for or against the morality of homosexuality as it is understood in contemporary society, Elliott argues, it will have to be made on evidence other than 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 and other similar passages contained in the Bible.
    A Dubious Hope. Elliott’s argument does offer additional backing to White’s argument. However, we need search no further than theologian Robert A. J. Gagnon’s excellent rebuttal to the type of argument put forth by Elliott.15 Space constraints will not permit the development of the details of any one particular proposition he puts forth, but a summary of the most prevalent points makes a case strong enough to call in to question Elliott’s support of White’s argument and, in turn, White’s argument itself.
    Proposition 1. To broaden the word arsenokoitai to include exploitive heterosexual intercourse appears unlikely in view of the unqualified nature of the Levitical prohibitions.
    Proposition 2. In every instance in which the arsenokoit word group occurs in a context that offers clues as to its meaning (i.e., beyond mere inclusion in a vice list), it denotes homosexual intercourse.
    Proposition 3. The term arsenokoitai itself indicates an inclusive sense: all men who play the active role in homosexual intercourse. Had Paul intended to single out pederasts he could have used the technical term paiderastïs.
    Proposition 4. The meaning that Paul gave to arsenokoitai has to be unpacked in light of Romans 1:24–27. When Paul speaks of the sexual intercourse of “males with males” (arsenes en arsenes) in v. 27, he obviously has in mind arsenokoitai.
    Based on these propositions and others he explores, Gagnon boldly states that “others would have us believe that it is an open question whether arsenokoitai in Paul’s mind would have applied to all forms of same-sex intercourse, including the kinds of non-exploitative forms allegedly manifested in our contemporary context,” but “this dubious hope has to be maintained in the face of many additional obstacles.” Gagnon concludes that 1 Corinthians 6:9 confirms that Paul’s rejection of homosexual conduct is just as applicable for believers as for unbelievers and that it is self-evident, then, that the combination of terms, malakoi and arsenokoitai, are correctly understood in our contemporary context when they are applied to every conceivable type of same-sex intercourse.
    Having more closely documented the particular use of the word arsenokoitai and its consistent witness in the NT, we have discovered that homosexual sin in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 isn’t as culturally relevant as many who support the pro-homosexual agenda to normalize aberrant sexual behavior would have us believe.
    — C. Wayne Mayhall

    • Sgerbic said,

      March 16, 2010 at 3:20 am

      I think that Mayhall here is committing a logical fallacy but can’t remember which one. He sure is prepared with an answer to homosexuality. Who cares what Elton John says about anything outside of the music world? Give it a rest Mayhall.

      In the end it is all unicorn wings. Do we have any evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus actually existed? Arguing over what this guy said or did not say is like arguing do unicorn’s have wings or not? The real question should be do what evidence do we have that unicorns exist.

  3. Jason said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    “I think that too many people put far too much stock into what celebrities say”

    I think that is the best part of everything you have to say. We should put much less stock in the sorts of idiocy that celebrities issue from their mouths. Though it would be nice if they just did what they are paid for and didn’t insist on opening their mouths and blathering on about things that they don’t understand.

    We have the word celebutard for a reason 😉

  4. Brian Gray said,

    May 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Leviticus 18:22 does NOT condemn homosexuality. I know this for a fact, and I am the author of the book Leviticus Revealed, a book that represents nearly thirty years of scholarly research. In this book, I have produced all the facts that prove what I am saying, and that is that the Bible never condemns homosexuality… anywhere… at any time. I have seen so many books try to “interpret” and wrestle with this passage in an effort to form a translation that ends up being mere speculation. Leviticus Revealed leaves no room for question. I hope you will all read this book and help end the bigotry and ignorance that have gone on for far too long. God made His homosexual children with the same love He used to make his heterosexual ones, as well as all those sexual variations in between. If your Theology does not square with God’s reality, then you need to revisit your Theology. The Bible NEVER justifies remaining in ignorance. No matter where you learned your bigotry, it is ignorance handed down by those who never learned the truth. We are commanded by the Bible to learn the truth and be set free by that truth. Leviticus Revealed is just that, truth. So ,if you think that homosexuality is wrong, it is time to open your eyes to the facts, because the Bible does NOT support anti-homosexual bigotry.

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