A Christian dance group that was punished for the temerity of saying there are only two genders could take its punishment to court.
Praise Academy of Dance Barbados was disqualified by the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts, which hosts a national dance competition because it challenged “gender identity” teaching, according to a release Wednesday in the St. Vincent Times.
The October decision said the group went beyond “the bounds of good taste” and made “defamatory claims.”
The piece, titled “Speak Life,” centered around a 15-year-old girl who, amid a struggle with gender identity, found her true identity through the Bible and God.
The dance routine included dialogue about biology that said, “It’s not a choice, you don’t get to pick, that’s the science, period!”
A banner from the Bible was onstage, according to Protestia. It read: “Genesis 5:2: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.'”
The group fought back, saying its expulsion was unconstitutional and the issue of “bad taste” was not explained, according to the release in the St. Vincent Times.
Gregory Nicholls, a member of the country’s left-wing Labour Party and the arbiter of the National Cultural Foundation, stood by the decision to ban the performance.
“The NIFCA judges are experienced practitioners in their respective fields and are carefully chosen by NCF to judge in its competitions,” he said. “The judges determined that the entry was in breach of the rules, more specifically, in that it exceeded the bounds of good taste.
“The entry was adjudged to have denounced various gender identities of the LGBTQ community via raging characterizations and expressions. This was a determination that the experienced panel of judges were entitled to make.”
Attorney Davida Maynard-Holligan noted the irony that the group was “excluded in the name of inclusivity.”
He said the comments from Nicholls sent “a chilling message to Christians on the island, especially young students, who do not believe in and refuse to conform to confusing and harmful gender identity ideology and extreme teaching.”
“The message is that you can no longer disagree with or criticize LGBTQ ideology without being cancelled, marginalized and exclude,” Maynard-Holligan said, according to the release in the St. Vincent Times. “The ruling issued publicly amounts to an LGBTQ takeover of our legal rights and freedoms in Barbados and cannot go unchallenged.”
He said the banned performance was based “entirely on science and Holy Scripture. The piece explores the different biological, chromosomal makeup of male and female. It presents a Christian viewpoint of gender identity and sexual orientation and on this basis declares from a Christian world view that there are two genders only.”
Banning the performance amounts to “a ban of the expression of the Christian faith. The show was performed on a government-owned, tax-funded stage and marks one of the first known instances of the Christian faith being oppressed in Barbados in public,” Maynard-Holligan said.
He said the issue is bigger than one dance group, arguing that “if left unchallenged,” the decision “has serious ramifications for freedom of religion and expression in Barbados and across the Caribbean.”
Artistic Director Marcia Weekes said the ruling “may impact, if left unchecked, how we in Barbados and the Caribbean express our faith on issues of gender and sexuality in the future,” according to Barbados Today.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.