Christmas Eve reggae concerts face protest from Grenadian church leaders

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Church leaders have launched a protest against plans to stage two Christmas Eve concerts featuring several leading Jamaican artistes.

In a statement, the Conference of Churches said that the island's Christian heritage was under attack.

The concerts will feature popular Jamaican artistes Beenie Man, Mr Vegas, Assassin as well as local entertainers.

"Our heritage is under attack by mega-shows such as the one advertised for Christmas Eve in the National Stadium," said the church leaders.

"It is regrettable that shows by foreign artistes who promote a culture contrary to our Christian values are held on what is supposed to be a "silent night" and a "holy night" the statement said.

Concerns have been also raised in many quarters here as well about vulgar and violent lyrics in the songs by Jamaican artistes.

Police Commissioner James Clarkson said permission had been granted for the concerts to take place and has warned that any artistes who perform smutty lyrics during the concerts would be pulled from the stage.

"We have police officers who have been briefed with special instructions that would be closely monitoring these concerts," Clarkson told reporters.

"If any artistes sing lyrics that are found to be degrading against women they will be asked to leave the stage."

The Conference of churches is urging persons to celebrate Christmas in ways consistent with Christian values and not bow to other pressures.

"It would seem that as a people we are no longer conscious of God and proud of our heritage. Despite the force of high-pressure advertising Grenadians do remain free to make choices.

"Those of us who profess our belief in the Good News should exercise that freedom by choosing to celebrate the Birth of our Saviour in ways that are more in keeping with his teaching".