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Line-dancing enthusiast Rose Kilmartin:
"I think it is quite ludicrous"
 real 28k

Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Church brands line-dancing 'sinful'
Line dancing:
Line dancing: "As sinful as any other type of dance"
The Free Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland has reminded its members that all dancing is sinful.

A statement has been issued to Free Presbyterian congregations pointing out that line dancing is a particular cause for concern at present.

The church regards the country and western style of dance "as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touching".

The statement has angered many line dancing enthusiasts throughout the province who say they are doing nothing wrong.

Sensual is not a word you would attribute to country music

Rose Kilmartin

"I think it is quite ludicrous. Dancing is a different form of socialisation," Rose Kilmartin, a line dancing enthusiast from Belfast, told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme.

"What is the difference between dancing and singing or anything in which people enjoy themselves through music?"

Ms Kilmartin said that line dancers were exercising their gift from God and that line dancing did not fit a sensual description.

"Music is so important to us and to talk about your body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, yes it is, but we are all gifted by God and if a person can dance and enjoy it, that is a gift, just as the gift of music is to a musician. "Line dancing's very name suggests that everyone is dancing in a line.

"As far as it being sensual, that is not a word you would attribute to country music."

'Not compatible'

However, Reverend David McIlveen of the Free Presbyterian Church's Morals and Standards Committee said dancing was not compatible with the church's teaching.

"Well as far as we are concerned, we feel that dancing in any shape or form is incompatible with a Christian profession," said Mr McIllween.

Mr McIllveen said the statement was: "directed to people who have a love for God's word and have a love for the principles and for the teachings of the scriptures".

"We were mainly concerned about couples coming to our Church to get married who bring a very strong and a very sincere testimony of their saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"They could well go to a reception which included some form of dancing as part of that reception.

'Setting an example'

"We felt as a church that this was inconsistent with regard to their own personal testimony which was confirmed and spoken about in the Church," he added.

Mr McIllveen said he had only seen line dancing once on a video.

He said the difficulties with the dance lay in the testimony of the Christian concerned.

"As far as the practicalities of it is concerned it is not so much the performance or the ordering of the steps of line dancing.

"It is the testimony that is related concerning the Christian.

"We would say from the Christian point of view, that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord."

Mr McIllveen added that the church must be seen to set an example.

"I don't think we can be condemned because at the end of the day the church is not accountable to public opinion.

"The church must be accountable to God, and the code and the discipline within the church must be that which the church conforms to."

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