Amsterdam — This city played host Sunday to a Christmas celebration for its gay community that featured a Nativity tableau with a man in drag playing the part of Mary.
Frank van Dalen, chairman of the advocacy group Pro Gay that organized the event, known as Pink Christmas, said that it sought to raise Amsterdam’s profile as a capital for gays.
Van Dalen said the event cost €15,000, or $20,800, and that it had been sponsored by the City Council. He added that he hoped it would become a regular attraction, as is the gay pride parade that brings tens of thousands of visitors to Amsterdam each year.
“Our objective is not to be offensive,” he said. “This is about visibility.”
Nevertheless, Christians for Truth, an independent religious group, asked the City Council to cancel the event, saying it made a mockery of Christian tenets. “By portraying Joseph and Mary as homosexuals, a twisted human fantasy is being added to the history of the Bible,” the group said in a statement.
The Amsterdam City Council did not comment.
Comments on stories about the ‘Gay Nativity’ in various Dutch newspapers show that countless people — a large percentage of whom identify themselves as homosexuals — overwhelmingly condemn the display. Many commenters view the display as intentionally provocative and hurtful toward Christians. Among those who say they are gay, many view the participants as ‘attention seekers.’ Dozens of people write that since gays have fought — and are still fighting — to gain respect, it is counter-productive of this group to show such disrepect for others.
The AP story fails to mention that two Christian organizations protested the display. This includes RefoAnders — an organization that provides support to Christians who have homosexual feelings, while it does not condone or promote homosexual practices and relationships.
The publishers of Religion News Blog live in Amsterdam. Our view is that the people who participated in the ‘Gay Nativity’ display are childish at best — and dumb beyond believe at worst. We count many gays and lesbians among our friends, and know for a fact that none of them would support this boorish act. We agree with those who view this kind of behavior on the part of a vocal minority as ill-adviced and counter-productive.