Tags: Jesus | Dancers | Banned | California | City

Jesus Dancers Banned in California City

Sunday, 18 December 2005 12:00 AM

Hawaiian dancers performed a traditional prayer to pagan gods,a rabbi lit a menorah and there was some racy belly dancing. But Christian dancers were barred because they were wearing shirts with the word "Jesus" and a silver cross imprinted on them.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the "Jesus Christ Dancers," a group of 8- to 12-year-olds who describe themselves as Christian hip-hop dancers, were scheduled to make their citywide debut in Chula Vista, Calif., at a Dec. 3 holiday festival.

Just before they were scheduled to perform, employees of the city's parks and recreation department told them to get lost -- they couldn't go on because the city employees did not want a religious message conveyed during the show.

According to their dance instructor, Lita Ramirez, the dancers were asked to turn their shirts inside-out. They were also asked if their music had a religious message.

"I told him our music says, 'You are my God,' and, 'We will worship You,'" Ramirez told the Union-Tribune. "I also said I think it mentions Jesus."

After waiting for more than an hour, the Union-Tribune reported, the group was told it could not perform.

"There was a Hawaiian prayer dance that was allowed to perform," Ramirez said. "There was seductive belly dancing and songs saying 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' and 'Little Drummer Boy' and 'Feliz Navidad.'

"It was humiliating," she said. "The girls cried."

It was also an embarrassment to the city, whose mayor, Steve Padilla, told a council meeting that city employees turned the dancers away "out of an overabundance of caution."

"We sent the wrong message to a very important segment of our community," he added, before apologizing on behalf of the city.

The group has not filed a lawsuit or complaint against the city, but the Union-Tribune reported that they have sought legal counsel from Dean Broyles, an Escondido attorney who specializes in religious liberty cases.

"The city created a holiday event, and then they turned around and the only person who wasn't invited was Jesus," Broyles told the newspaper.

Ramirez described the incident as "unprofessional, unethical and disturbing," but said she would like the dancers to perform in future city-sponsored events.

"I want the girls to be able to have that opportunity," she said. "I want to have a dance ministry for Jesus. We are supposed to perform at the opening of the Veterans Park recreation center, " which is scheduled to open in January.

Said the mayor: "In the future, we need to make sure we do not go so far in trying to be careful that we fail to recognize that the people in this community in many, many cases are people with faith who come from many different perspectives. We should respect all of them."

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Hawaiian dancers performed a traditional prayer to pagan gods,a rabbi lit a menorah and there was some racy belly dancing. But Christian dancers were barred because they were wearing shirts with the word "Jesus" and a silver cross imprinted on them. According to the...
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2005-00-18
Sunday, 18 December 2005 12:00 AM
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