12:14 19 February 2010
Music legend Sir Elton John has revealed that he thinks Jesus was a super-intelligent gay man, prompting an backlash from bloggers and tweeters on the internet.
The openly homosexual 62-year-old singer, songwriter and pianist was speaking about the struggle of homosexual people around the world when he made the controversial remark.
The 'Candle in the Wind' hitmaker did confirm he believed in God, but not in the way that some followers interpret him to persecute gay people.
John told Parade magazine: 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 dont know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East - youre as good as dead.
While John's remarks provoked anger on some message boards, a spokesman for the Church of England was more forgiving: "Sir Elton's reflection that Jesus calls us all to love and forgive is one shared by all Christians."
"But insights into aspects of the historic person of Jesus are perhaps best left to the academics."
The 62-year-old also confessed that fame had turned sour for him. He explained: "Princess Diana, Gianni Versace, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, all dead. Two of them shot outside their houses.
"None of this would have happened if they hadn't been famous. Fame attracts lunatics. I never had a bodyguard, ever, until Gianni died. I don't like celebrity anymore."
The music star also revealed that he had trouble with relationships. Before settling down with his long term partner David Furnish, whom he met in 1993, he often used up younger men and bombarded them with gifts.
John said: "I'd take them around the world -- try to educate them.
"One after another, they got a Cartier watch, a Versace outfit, maybe a sports car. They didn't have jobs. They were reliant on me.
"I did this repeatedly. In six months, they were bored and hated my guts because I had taken their lives and self-worth away.
"I hadn't intended to."
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