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Cleric says 'oh no' to Minister's support for rock centre

Foster hits out at fellow Free Presbyterian

Published 06/09/2007

DUP culture, arts and leisure minister Edwin Poots last night declined to comment on condemnation from a fellow Free Presbyterian of his endorsement of a centre for aspiring musicians.



Rev Ivan Foster, known for his extreme religious views and his opposition to the DUP sharing power with Sinn Fein, said the support of Mr Poots - who Rev Foster said was a Free Presbyterian deacon - for the Oh Yeah centre rendered him "totally unfit for such office (in the church)".

Ulster rockers Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Ash frontman Tim Wheeler visited the Cathedral Quarter Oh Yeah venue last week to appeal for funding for the project.

Speaking at the venue then, Mr Poots said he was committed to help fund the centre.

He said he was impressed with what the centre was striving to do and would consider backing it financially if it would produce "more bands like Snow Patrol and Ash".

On his website, Rev Foster said Mr Poots' position on rock music was " unchristian and contrary to the standards set forth in Holy Scripture and proclaimed by the Free Presbyterian Church".

Rev Foster condemned the "immoral titles, themes and lyrics employed by these 'musicians,'" who he said Mr Poots was endorsing.



Rev Foster called the Oh Yeah centre "an abomination and blasphemous enterprise".

He also called rock "filthy 'music' in which the name of the Lord Jesus is desecrated and intermingled with obscenities".

But Radio Ulster DJ Stuart Bailie, who is a member of the Oh Yeah board, said 99 per cent of people in Northern Ireland enjoyed popular music.

He added: "If Rev Foster wants to take an extreme stance, that's his prerogative."

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From Belfast Telegraph