Greenbelt should be celebrated, not boycotted

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Commenting on the attempted boycott of the Greenbelt Festival by a hardline conservative Christian group objecting to gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell speaking at it, Symon Hill, co-director of the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia, said:

“It is sad that a small number of Christians should wish to boycott Greenbelt, a festival which helps thousands of people to deepen their faith and relate it to politics, the arts and social justice.

“Peter Tatchell has worked alongside Christians on issues such as poverty, peace and democracy. Many Christians may disagree with him on some issues while agreeing with him on others. The vast majority of people will reject the scurrilous suggestion that he promotes child abuse. This is simply not the case.

“Jesus constantly surprised his listeners by paying more attention to those outside the mainstream of society than he did to religious figures and the apparently righteous. It is to be hoped that Christians, whatever their views on sexuality or other issues, will go to Greenbelt, listen to Peter Tatchell's talk, and judge it for themselves”.

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Symon Hill and Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia will be speaking at Greenebelt 2010.