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Kirk plea to halt 'pagan' weddings.

Byline: By MAGGIE BARRY

A CHURCH of Scotland minister has hit out at plans to hold marriage ceremonies at this year's Wickerman Festival.

Like Edward Woodward in the cult horror movie, the Rev Alistair MacKichan has sounded a warning against paganism.

He said: "Marriages are all about the kind of society we want to build and the pagan route has always led to the collapse of civilisation."

The alternative music festival at Dundrennan, near Kirkcudbright, takes its title from 1973 movie The Wicker Man, a story of devil-worship, sex and murder, partly filmed in the area.

In the film, Woodward plays a Christian policeman who uncovers the sinister pagan cult on the fictitious Hebridean island of Summerisle.

Mr McKichan, of Auchencairn, voiced concerns at four pagan-style weddings being held at the festival.

Writing in a local newspaper, he said: "It is my duty to point out that superficial flirtation with paganism might seem romantic but a serious and legally binding moment like marriage does not fit well with such frivolity."

He admitted the festive atmosphere is "light-hearted and enjoyable".

But he added in his letter: "It is, however, always a concern that the Wicker Man cult, arising from the film's depiction of sexual freedom and pagan rituals, should not be seriously adopted by the festival."

Land-owner Jamie Gilroy, who owns the festival site, yesterday played down the pagan aspect of the weddings - although the word "pagan" is used on the website.

He said: "These couples just want to celebrate their partnerships in in a special place.

"They are doing their own thing. It is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. There is nothing pagan about it."

CAPTION(S):

FIERY: Festival; PROTECTOR: Woodward in The Wicker Man
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2007
Words:290
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