His comments were made in a special gay edition of the Observer Music Monthly Magazine, where he was interviewed by Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears.
“I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people,” he said. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.
“But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion.”
According to the singer-songwriter, 59, his solution would be to “ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it.”
He added: “I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book.
“But the reality is that organised religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”