Tobago Christian leaders want Elton John banned

PORT OF SPAIN Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:03pm EDT

Elton John celebrates his 60th birthday and 60th Madison Square Garden performance in New York March 25, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Elton John celebrates his 60th birthday and 60th Madison Square Garden performance in New York March 25, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

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PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - Elton John should be banned from performing at a jazz festival in Tobago because his homosexuality could influence young people, some Christian leaders on the Caribbean island said on Monday.

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

But they said they would 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.

Jazz festival organizer CL Communications dismissed calls for a boycott and said the show would go on.

"Elton John is coming as what he is, one of the world's greatest performers," said Anthony Maharaj, adding that the country should be honored 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.

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