On Sunday morning, as gay-rights advocates were preparing to march in pride parades around the U.S., Elton John was in a Sky News studio in England talking sports, gay rights, and religion with Dermot Murnaghan. It was his unorthodox thoughts on the latter two subjects that raised eyebrows. First of all, John said he thinks the new leader of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, is "doing a good job so far," and Pope Francis is "wonderful."
The new pope has "excited me so much by his humanity," John said. "He's taken everything down to the humility of faith.... He's stripped it down to the bare bones and said it's all basically about love and taking everybody in — inclusiveness. That has to be encouraged by the Church of England as well." He doesn't agree with Francis and Welby about everything, of course: Priestly celibacy and the Anglican ban on same-sex clergy marriages are "old and stupid things," he said. But John said he thinks Jesus would agree with him on gay marriage:
If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen. He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together, and that is what the church should be about. [Sky News]
John also insisted his passion for equality doesn't end in gay rights: "If anyone doesn't have their basic civil rights, I get crazy." And he disclosed that when he and partner David Furnish get married next year, it will be a small, "off the cuff" affair, since their civil-union ceremony was so big. Watch his comments below: The part about gay rights starts at about the 6:26 mark, the gay-marriage talk begins at 8:30. --Peter Weber