A church in Madison, Connecticut incited controversy over its drag queen bingo event, prompting mixed reactions as parents nationwide fight back against the sexualization of children.
Rev. Todd Vetter organized the event at the First Congregational Church of Madison last weekend to fundraise for the church’s youth mission trip to Appalachia. The mission trip, which occurs annually, focuses on rebuilding homes and conducting various repairs.
“It was hard to really get a clear sense because very few of the responses we got, the negative responses we got, were really reasoned,” Vetter said during “CNN Newsroom” on Thursday. “It was really just this sort of explosion of passion and emotion and feeling I think that for reasons that I think that are unique to every individual there’s just a deep threat inherent here.”
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“My sense that people are using the drag performance and the drag community as scapegoats,” he continued.
Vetter raised several thousand dollars toward the trip with the controversial event, according to the CT Insider.
Around 80 people had to be turned away from the bingo night and tickets sold out in a matter of minutes.
The line to get tickets to the event wrapped around the building, and it eventually became standing-room-only.
There were also about 20 people who gathered outside the church to peacefully protest the event, but despite the backlash, Vetter said the overwhelming reaction from the community was positive.
“I want to say that the positive response and the generosity of the response that we enjoyed with this event was extraordinary. It is unlike anything that I have ever experienced,” he said.
“I do think that the overall experience was extremely positive. It was an affirmation of who we are as a church, how we think about the commandment to love our neighbor… whatever lessons the community has taken away from this is, has been, I think, positive, but it is a great affirmation for us of who we are and who we are called to be.”