The programme of the Greenbelt Christian festival this weekend declares that disagreement is “essential to discovery”. This is an inspiring sentiment to hear in Christian circles, all the more so when it appears to be said with sincerity.
Greenbelt 2010 (http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/festival/), backed by global development agency Christian Aid and a range of other organisations, is expected to attract some 21,000 people from 27-30 August at Cheltenham Racecourse.
When Christians explore nonviolence, we do so with the legacy of Christian collusion with militarism hanging over us. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the confusion around Christian attitudes to the armed forces.
The news that human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is to speak at this year’s Greenbelt Arts Festival, was met by a small number of conservative Christians with a call for a boycott, on the grounds that the Christian event is being ‘gayified’. Others have expressed puzzlement as to why an atheist like Tatchell would want to speak, when he has previously attacked the church’s unjust practices.