As the date for Rock Beyond Belief approaches, more people have spoken out against its purpose and mission statement. We told you back in late January that RBB would be happening Mar. 31 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and would serve as a secular event organized by Justin Griffith as an alternative to the Christian-based Rock The Fort festival, also at Fort Bragg. Here's an excerpt of RBB's description/mission statement, straight from their about page:
“We are not interested in just being a counter-event to the offensive [emphasis theirs] Rock the Fort concert. We are also not interested in putting on an anti-christian, anti-religious, or anti-anything event. Rock Beyond Belief is A Day of Fun and Entertainment for the Rest of Us.”
Much of the uproar, both then and now, appears to stem from the scheduled performance of Aiden, and the festival's use of the band's “Hysteria” video (which features footage of churches burning, among other things) in its promotion.
Aiden is still scheduled to perform at this event, with frontman Wil Francis telling Altpress.com back in January, “Let me point out that these people count on the ignorance of their listeners/readers. 'These people' meaning the conservative bloggers, right wing zealots and fox news talking heads. The video in question (Hysteria) features stock footage of, yes, churches burning, among other shattering events of chaos. This is not in promotion of that sort of destruction. We used it to highlight the Hysteria I've witnessed from religious fundamentalists and political extremists around the globe. These people are completely missing the point of the song. If they took the time to actually listen to the words and the inflection in which they are sung, they would notice the sneering sarcasm I am using. But alas, these people can't even get past the fact that I am dressed up like a silly priest in a graveyard, or the bloody crosses the girl in the gas mask is holding. Those railing against Aiden are confident that their audience will not watch the video and judge for themselves.”
Curiously, an open letter written by Chaplain (CPT) Chuck Williams to Fort Bragg Commanding General LTG Frank G. Helmick on Jan. 31 that brought up similar claims, most notably Aiden's imagery, has only recently recieved a response from Griffith, who wrote this on Mar. 14, excerpted below:
“It is possible that Cpt. Williams thinks that arson is a common hobby of atheists from misinformation he obtained from FOX News. Popular rock band Aiden’s lyrics were purposely taken out of context, making it look like a performer was encouraging the destruction of holy texts and buildings.”
What do you think of these latest developments? Should the event be allowed to take place and should Aiden be allowed to play? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.