George Michael has launched his career as a magazine columnist by urging fellow gays to embrace religion.

The pop superstar has a new column in gay magazine THE ADVOCATE and recalls shamefully giggling at the back of a village church in England during a Christmas Eve (24DEC) service he attended with four "tipsy" friends.

But, with the rise of the religious right in his native Britain and America, Michael thinks it's time for gay men and lesbians to take religion more seriously.

He writes, "Maybe those of us giggling at the back should shut up for a bit. The joke may be on us soon enough."

Michael also uses his first column to pay a tongue-in-cheek tribute to historical English King HENRY VIII.

He adds, "There really ought to be a campaign to make Henry VIII the patron saint of British queerdom. Without his arrogance the English would still be Catholic, and we would probably have our own MEL GIBSONs and DUBYAs (GEORGE W BUSH) to deal with (in England).

"The lack of interest with which The Passion Of The Christ was greeted in England made me proud of my country (for the first time in a while), and if that sounds excessive, bear in mind I'd been in Texas when it was released stateside.

"Between that and the hysteria over gay marriage at the time, it was an unsettling few weeks to be in America."

13/06/2005 02:37