Churches fail to ban Elton John from Tobago

By staff writers
March 27, 2007

A group of Christian churches have failed to persuade the Tobago House of Assembly to join the call for a boycott of Elton John's appearance at the Plymouth Jazz Festival in late April.

Some Christian leaders on the Caribbean island said that the singer should be banned from performing at the festival in Tobago because his homosexuality could influence young people.

The House of Assembly, which oversees the administration of the island, has rejected their call.

The Christians say they will pursue the campaign against John, who married his partner David Furnish in 2005.

"We feel it can have a negative social impact. There are some who may not be sure of their sexuality and one has to be careful about how this can create impressions on impressionable minds," pastor Terrance Baynes told Reuters on Monday.

The singer celebrated his 60th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday, playing more than 30 songs from a career spanning four decades.

Prophetically, Sir Elton caused a furore in November 2006 when he said that organised religion was a source of bigotry and discrimination, turning people into “hateful lemmings”. He suggested that it should be banned.

Jazz festival organiser CL Communications dismissed calls for a boycott and said the show would go on and the musical star, would play along with other performers like Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind & Fire.

"Elton John is coming as what he is, one of the world's greatest performers," said Anthony Maharaj, adding that the country should be honoured to have John perform in Tobago, the smaller island of energy-rich Trinidad.

"His band has performed in every country around the world. .... He is not coming here to preach about what lifestyle people should have," he said.

Sir Elton’s friends include similarly beknighted evangelical Christian pop icon Sir Cliff Richard – who said last year that the churches should stop being obsessed with gays and show a bit more love.

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