November 12th, 2006
|elettaria||12:19 pm - So how extreme would you call this?|
Sir Elton John wants to ban organised religion
Sir Elton John has said he would like to see all organised religion banned and accused it of trying to "turn hatred towards gay people".
Organised religion lacked compassion and turned people into "hateful lemmings", he told the Observer.
What do you make of that? Personally, I belong to a denomination which is very gay-friendly and actually conducts same-sex weddings (Liberal Judaism), but I will acknowledge that such a stance is rare among organised religions overall, many of which are not only homophobic but terribly sexist. Banning them all is an extreme suggestion, but I have long been uneasy at the way that hatred of queer people and women is justified by being part of a religion.
I understand where he's coming from, even if I think that he's overgeneralizing -- there is a tendency for people to follow authority figures' instructions blindly and without thinking about it. Holy books and religious teachers act as authority figures for a lot of people, and when the teachings are hateful -- hateful lemmings, yes. Look at Fred Phelps.
As a queer member of a gay-friendly sect and a fan of Sir Elton's music, I don't really mind what he said. I understand and agree with the general idea, object to the wording, and want to listen to "Your Song" now, but other than that I'm indifferent.
I'm wondering how far he genuinely means it and how far he's being provocative and/or trying to start a debate. I'll agree that you can blame religion for a lot of terrible stuff that happens and has happened in the world, but I still wouldn't ban it (apart from anything else, would it work?). Which faith do you belong to? I'm a Liberal/Reform Jew myself.
Given his history, I think it's safe to say he was trying to stir up controversy at least as much as he was actually stating his opinion. Look at how the guy's dressed over his career, after all.
Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, here. Incidentally, our youth group worshiped with our local Reform Jews on one occasion and felt a deep kinship, so I greet you as a cousin. :-)
I greet you back, my community holds occasional services in the Quaker Meeting House
(we're too small to have our own premises yet). There's a lovely Quaker woman at the interfaith women's group I attend, one hell of a feisty lady. I wasn't aware that not only are the Quakers conducting same-sex weddings, they're campaigning to have them legally recognised in the same way that opposite-sex religious weddings are civilly binding. A few people at that meeting (the subject was relationships) were being distinctly homophobic and as far as I know, I'm the only queer woman there (and I'm not sure how many of them know it, especially since I have a boyfriend, who's incidentally also bi), so I had a mild grouch with her after the meeting and was glad of her support. How did the co-worship work? It's an interesting idea and I think we have a lot in common with the Quakers, I'm wondering if we could do something similar. We also borrow premises from a local Unitarian
church and occasionally a Scottish Episcopal
one, as well as a non-religious community centre. Officially our group is Liberal
, though we started off as an offshoot to the Reform synagogue in Glasgow (UK Reform is very different from US Reform, by the way) and many of us are somewhere in the middle, including myself.
The basic setup was that we joined the service as best we could and afterwards the rabbi and her husband welcomed us and answered questions. I learned some things from them that changed the way I look at religious questions, such as about the different names given to God, which I hadn't known about but which made so much sense to me. It was really a powerful experience. I think there's a lot to be gained from looking at the truth through a different -- vocabulary might be a good word -- sometimes.
Ahh, yes, the great dividing ocean. Quakerism, too, knows its influence -- the British Quakers, as near as I can tell, don't really have the fundamentalist presence that splits American ones.
God save us from Elton John
Er, please note that this post now has the correct HTML and the second half of the post.