Sir Elton John may not perform at the Plymouth Jazz festival in Tobago over church leader’s fears that he will ‘turn’ locals gay.
Archdeacon of Trinidad and Tobago Philip Isaac yesterday expressed fears that:
“His visit to the island can open the country to be tempted towards pursuing his lifestyle” according to the Jamaica Gleaner.
Issac also criticised Sir Elton’s recent civil partnership to partner David Furnish, as this conflicts with the biblical teaching that “a man should not lie with a man”.
Isaac claims that Sir Elton is in need of church salvation:
“The artist is one of God’s children and while his lifestyle is questionable, he needs to be ministered onto.”
Anthony Marahaj, the festival organiser, insists that the singer and anti-AIDS activist will perform regardless of planned church protests.
Marahaj has spoken in support of the singer, according to The Independent , saying: “We should be honoured to have him. This is a man who was knighted by the queen, and who was highly complimented by archbishop Desmond Tutu.”
“Elton John is coming as what he is; one of the world greatest performers. He is not coming here to preach about what lifestyle people should have.”
As of yet, there appears to be no change to the original plans for the festival, which is scheduled to take place on 27-29th April and will include performances from Diana Ross, Mary J Blige and Gladys Knight.
Sir Elton has declined to comment on the issue, but last year expressed his view that, although he believes in Christian teachings, he feels that organised religion “promotes the hatred and spite against gays”.
Alan Wardle, a Stonewall spokesman, told The Independent : “Most people in Tobago would be glad to see a singer like Elton perform. But I think his days as a ‘tempter’ are long behind him.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s immigration law states that self-confessed prostitutes and homosexuals are barred from entering the island.
Up until now it is believed that no-one has been turned away for these reasons. There is also no law criminalizing sexuality once on the island.