Controversy reported in Greenbelt speaker choice

There was apparently a row in the speaker-planning process around Greenbelt, the Christian arts and music fest running from August 27th-30th, Premier Christian Media reports.

LGBT activist Peter Tatchell was planning to speak at three different venues over the course of the event, occurring in Cheltenham - apparently causing a certain amount of heartburn.

Anglican Mainstream called for a Tatchell-Greenbelt boycott back in May by way of suggesting his presence would put children at risk of abuse. He responded:

I would like to thank Anglican Mainstream for helping encourage extra interest in Greenbelt; resulting in more people now planning to attend this year's festival because of the controversy and publicity over my invitation.

I'm looking forward to meeting the many Christians who are actively involved in campaigns for human rights, equality, democracy and social justice. We have more in common than divides us.

Later, Tatchell told Premier:

Greenbelt is a festival which encourages ideas, thinking, and debate, and I'm contributing to that, not that I expect people to agree with me. I'm going to be welcoming people to come to the events which I'm speaking at, and just criticize me - to present an alternative point of view, and I will listen to what they're saying, and we'll have a discussion, and out of that discussion, I hope that we'll all emerge with greater wisdom, understanding, and respect for each other.

You can catch up on some of Tatchell's recent adventures as reported in the Café.

In other Greenbelt news:

  • Twitter users can check #gb10 for the latest.
  • As many as 20,000 to 21,000 attendees were expected
  • Other planned speakers included theologian Stanley Hauerwas, Iona Community leader John Bell, Bishop of London Richard Chartres, and Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s.
  • Cartoonist Dave Walker, naturally enough, found a little patch of Greenbelt sunlight in a cartoon parable about the nasty weather occurring over the weekend.

Comments (1)

Just a small note: Richard Chartres is Bishop of London, not Oxford. Lord Harries was the former Bishop of Oxford until a few years ago.

[The error fixed, and thanks for calling it to our attention. -ed.]

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