Greenbelt is an annual outdoor Christian arts and music festival held in the UK. They invite many speakers and have many workshops. One the speakers this year is Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The usual unhappy voices can be heard in response.
Here is how Greenbelt describes itself:
Greenbelt is an independent Christian charity working to express love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel.
As Greenbelt has cemented its partnership with development agency Christian Aid, Greenbelters have been able to translate debate about political engagement and international injustice into vigorous campaigning. Other organisations have also entered into collaboration from CMS and SPCK, to USPG and YMCA, ICC and The Church Times. Enhancing the festival's identity, they have also helped Greenbelters re-imagine the church as an infectious global conspiracy, working for God's peace, healing and friendship in previously unimagined ways.
The BBC writes:
...Why did Greenbelt's organisers invite one of the most controversial figures in the Church to speak, a decision which was bound to draw criticism from some sections?
Festival coordinator Beki Bateson, says the invitation was made solely on the strength of Bishop Robinson's earlier speaking appearances at other venues, and that his is just one voice amongst many.
"Sometimes those voices are not always programmed at the same festival and some issues including the debate around sexuality have been addressed over a number of years from varying perspectives."
Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, which the article describes "a pressure group campaigning for traditional biblical teaching on homosexuality," says that Robinson was invited because Robinson is, in his words a "controversial celebrity" and therefore the conference organizers have given to conforming with a cultural of diversity.
Besides, he says, "The festival will be full of families with teenage children, a ready audience who might be persuaded by his [Robinson's] sophisticated presentation technique."
According to the article, Sugden believes that the conference should offer other "balancing" points of view such as "organisations who say they can either change same-sex attraction, or enable gay men and women to remain happily celibate."
For her part, Beki Bateson is adamant that all sides of the gay debate have been aired at Greenbelt over the years, and she rejects the accusation that teenagers will leave Cheltenham racecourse with only one spiritual view of sexuality.
"Greenbelt believes that young people learn what they want to learn," she adds.
Read the rest here.