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In New Ulm, Minnesota, a small town 85 miles southwest of Minneapolis, this Friday was supposed to be the opening night for a production of “Inherit the Wind,” the classic play written more than a half-century ago depicting a fictionalized version of the 1925 Scopes Monkey trial. Instead, the play has been shut down due to opposition from professors and administrators at Martin Luther College (MLC). The play’s crime? Being pro-evolution, and thereby endangering the college’s religious identity.
The play wasn’t even being performed at MLC. It was a production of the New Ulm Actors Community Theatre. But the theater group has routinely held auditions and rehearsals at the college, and MLC student Zach Stowe was chosen as director. After seeing a poster for an audition of Inherit the Wind, MLC professors and administrators objected and banned the audition.
According to media reports, Stowe resigned as director after “a flood of e-mails and letters objecting to his association with the play from MLC professors” and community members, fearing possible punishment from the school. Following Stowe’s departure, six cast members who were also MLC students resigned from the play, forcing it to be postponed and possibly cancelled.
Jeffrey Schone, MLC’s VP of Student Life, explained: “We felt it was not compatible with what [the school] teaches the Bible says about the universe and the world. This is a ministerial school. People employing our students need confidence about their views.” Now everyone can have confidence about the views of Martin Luther College students: their views are idiotic and their professors are equally stupid and believers in censorship.