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University of Missouri backs off ultimatum made to The Crossing church after sermon controversy

The fallout continues from the decision by Ragtag Cinema and the True/False Film Festival in Columbia to cut ties with The Crossing church because of a recent sermon about gender.

The University of Missouri administration pulled back a statement from the university Department of Theater that was an ultimatum to True/False to end its relationship with the church, the Columbia Tribune reported. Pastor Keith Simon angered the LGBTQ community by referring to transgender people as “broken.”

READ: Film Festival breaks ties with The Crossing

The theater department, in its statement, said the documentary film festival held each spring would not be able to use the Rhynsburger Theater or the Studio 4 black box theater if it did not sever its ties to The Crossing.

“The department was wrong to issue the ultimatum and the university does not consider allowing an organization to use its facilities to be an endorsement of the views of the event’s sponsors,” according to the statement issued through the MU News Bureau. “The University of Missouri has been consistent in its support of the First Amendment. The MU Department of Theater was in error when its members issued a statement suggesting that they would not allow university facilities to be used by an outside group based on a viewpoint. This is inconsistent with our value of free speech.”

Ragtag Cinema and True/False, which is organized by Ragtag each year, issued a statement that it had ended the sponsorship arrangement with The Crossing. The Crossing responded with a statement of its own to explain Simon’s sermon.

“It was not intended to insult anyone or encourage discrimination or violence against trans people,” the statement read, “and (the church) supports efforts to protect dignity, welfare and all other rights afforded to every other person in this country.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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