LGBT stall ‘made to leave Christian festival’
A stall promoting discussion of LGBT issues was made to leave a music festival in New Zealand, organisers claim.
Craig Watson says he paid $6,000 for a space at Festival One at Mystery Creek, which he hoped would help promote conversations around sexuality and diversity.
However, after arriving he claims organisers said the LGBT material was appropriate – despite setting out their aims in their original application.
The stall included news clips about LGBT issues which could be viewed, such as documentary about a lesbian couple who were bringing up a child within the Christian faith.
Speaking to New Zealand newspaper Stuff, Mr Watson said it was a sign Christianity is still “not there” and “judgemental”.
“I believe that it’s right to get the message out there,” he added. “It’s important to have these conversation and it’s important to talk about it so it doesn’t lead to depression and suicide – which we see in a lot of young people in New Zealand.
“I think it’s just a clear indication of how we are as a Christian journey with this topic. There’s still a look of work that need to be done.
“To not be able to use those words at a camp that is predominantly full of teenagers and adults is a clear indication of what’s going on.”
Festival One is the country’s only Christian music and is also drink and drug free. Activities included music, movie nights and a free BBQ.
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After being told the material was offensive the group removed their LGBT leaflets and instead offered face-painting, but then decided to leave the four day gathering all together.
In a statement, festival organisers said the stall “did not meet expectations about what their presence in the Wilder Precinct should be”.
“Therefore the Wilderpeople Collective decided to withdraw their stall.”
Mr Watson, who is a gay Christian himself, said he was in conversations about a refund, but that it was most important to talk about LGBT and faith issues.
“It’s a huge thing for a young person but in the Christian sector it’s more complicated because you’ve then got a faith that has been very much rooted in your upbringing that unless you are a straight, normal person then you are an abomination and destined for hell.”