More than 10,000 people are calling for inverted crosses to be removed from around Hobart as part of a festival.
The petition, on Change.org, has reached more than 10,000 signatures calling for Dark Mofo and the Mayor of Hobart, Ron Christie, to have the crosses removed “immediately”.
The inverted cross is regarded by many Christians as a symbol of the devil, Satanism or evil.
“The Cross is a deeply meaningful and important symbol for all Christians in this nation, and indeed across the world,” the petition reads.
“Other religions would not tolerate this type of demeaning behaviour and we request that you immediately have them removed as a sign of respect.”
MONA owner David Walsh defended the inverted crosses when asked about them by the ABC. He said he had “about 50 things” as to why they are upside down.
Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael told Yahoo7 in a statement the crosses “are not anti-Christian or pro-Christian, they simply reference both the humility of St Peter and the darkness of winter, with neither motif being any more or less important”.
“It’s not our intent to deliberately upset any members of the community,” he said.
“Dark Mofo is an art festival interested in evoking strong emotions, through difficult topics that are relevant to contemporary society. Our point of difference is exploring the darkness, and we acknowledge this can be challenging for some people. It is often further complicated by misreading metaphors as literal interpretations.
He added the he found it “fascinating” that the cross “can still cause confusion and disagreement”.
“We are seeking to experience the joy and beauty of the night, and the sublime,” he said.
- Mum’s hunt for kind stranger who calmed baby on flight
- Surprising items that aren’t meant to be recycled
- Resilient roo rescued from bay before being attack by dogs
But Mark Brown, the Tasmanian director of the Australian Christian Lobby, labelled the inverted crosses as “highly offensive”.
“In the words of Jesus, the devil only comes to kill, steal and to destroy; my question is, is that something Hobartians really want?” he told the ABC.
Hobart’s Lord Mayor Ron Christie said it’s not the role of council to “censor free speech”.
The City of Hobart have been contacted for comment.