Inherit the Censorship

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. 

One thought on “Inherit the Censorship

  1. Let us not forget that the Catholic University of America merits the same reprobation for its denial of academic freedom to its faculty and students. Indeed it has been on the list of AAUP’s censured universities because of the Rev. Charles Curran affair, spanning decades since the 60s. For a quick visual primer on the case and the role of then Cardinal Ratzinger, cf.

    The court’s ruling in the case against Catholic University brought by Father Curran (cf. p. 662 in the Conclusion section online at rightly declared that the Catholic University of America wanted it both ways: to be a university and to have a special relationship with the Holy See — and the court reasoned that having it both ways is not possible in the matter of academic freedom. The private university was free to choose the Vatican over academic freedom and to not permit Curran to teach theology — but, as we and the court conclude, at the price of not being a university.

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