Festival One is an annual Christian musical festival held at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, New Zealand that promotes Christian values and is drug and alcohol free.
The festival claims that it also offers discussions and seminars on a number of Christian topics.
However, this year, a Christian group called Incendo tried to set up a stall to promote conversations about homosexuality and Christianity. The group displayed signs that said ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ and ‘transgender’, but before they knew it, festival leaders forced them to close up shop. The organizers claimed the signs could offend Christian families despite the fact that one of the signs even depicted a Christian same-sex family with two mothers.
The festival leaders released a statement saying: “[Incendo] could not meet expectations of Festival One organizers about what their presence in the Wilder Precinct should be.”
Despite the fact that Incendo paid $6000 to set up a booth, its time at the festival was cut short.
Craig Watson is behind Incendo’s mission, and he is an openly gay Christian himself.
He says: “I think it’s just a clear indication of how we are as a Christian journey with this topic. 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. For me it’s just a sign that we are still not there.”
“We are still quite judgmental when it comes to Christians and churches accepting people with different views,” Watson adds. “There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”