The controversial topic of abortion is now impacting Hampdenfest.
A group called the St. Thomas Aquinas Respect Life Committee submitted a letter to the Hampden Community Council during its meeting Monday. The group's written complaint was in reference to the decision to ban churches from having booths at the , which was held earlier this month.
During previous Hampdenfests, the group was allowed to have a booth and provide anti-abortion material during the festival. But organizers banned churches and faith-based groups this year—in part because of complaints about the group’s booth in 2010. The council and the Hampden Village Merchants Association organized the festival.
“It’s very unfortunate that this year a blanket decision was made to ban all churches,” said Genny Dill, a Hampden Community Council board member.
But festival organizers received multiple complaints about the material being handed out by the St. Thomas Aquinas Respect for Life Committee, Dill said. She said festival organizers have one goal: put on an event that can be enjoyed by everyone, and not to get tied up in the politics of a particular issue.
Members of the committee argued that their handout material wasn’t offensive, and that the complaints came from people with a pro-abortion agenda.
“Our experience at the booth over the years has been that many people are interested in our models and literature, and many people express approval of our point of view and the services we provide for women and their families,” committee member Martha Taylor read from the group's letter at Monday's meeting.