Creationists cause New Ulm community theater to cancel production of "Inherit the Wind"

Categories: Religion
INHERITTHEWIND.jpg
bigbearlake.net
Some Minnesota evangelicals don't want to be associated with a play that questions creationism.
The New Ulm Actors Community Theater has decided to cancel its planned production of "Inherit the Wind" thanks to pressure from local evangelicals who object to the way the play portrays the evolution/creationism debate.

SEE ALSO: Matt Birk refused White House trip because President Obama is pro-choice

The play debuted in 1955 and is based on the the 1925 "Scopes monkey trial," which centered on the relationship between creationism and evolution and on how the latter should be taught in public schools, if at all. One of the playwrights, Jerome Lawrence, said he and his partner, Robert Lee, "used the teaching of evolution as a parable, a metaphor for any kind of mind control... It's not about science versus religion. It's about the right to think."

But according to the New Ulm Journal, professors at Martin Luther College and local members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod think creationism isn't portrayed in a favorable light in the play, so they ended up pressuring a number of performers and the production's director, Zach Stowe, to back out. Stowe is a student at MLC.

More from the Journal:
After seeing the poster for the audition, several MLC professors raised objections about the play's subject to the administration...

MLC is the college of ministry for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which believes in creationism that teaches the Genesis story as a factual, historical account. [Jeffrey Schone, MLC's VP of Student Life] said MLC was concerned about making it absolutely clear to its students, WELS members and the public about its beliefs and teachings on creationism. He said he recognizes the subtext of the play, but feels it is unfairly critical of creationism and that most people would only see the criticism...

[On September 3], Stowe resigned from the play. He cited a flood of e-mails and letters objecting to his association with the play from MLC professors and local WELS members for his decision. He was also concerned that MLC administration would maybe take their concerns further if the outcry kept growing, so he decided to focus on the more important issue of his schooling.
In the two weeks after Stowe pulled out, six cast members decided to follow suit, citing either the opinion of WELS pastors or simply a lack of desire to remain involved without Stowe's leadership, the Journal reports. With the play set to open on October 4, there wasn't enough time to replace everyone who left, and the community theater ended up having to cancel the whole thing.

In comments made to the Journal, Stowe said he isn't thrilled with how things played out, but understands creationists' issue with the production.

"The play does not just say evolution is right. It treats Christians with respect. The entire point of the play is both sides need open, free discussions," he said. "But I don't have any negative feelings about it. Everyone acted how their conscience directed them in this situation. I can respect it."

:::: UPDATE ::::

As the Bluestem Prairie blog points out, WELS is so conservative, Michele Bachmann quit the church while she was running for president.

From a July 2011 Washington Post report:
The Lutheran denomination that GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann quit in June sought to explain its belief that the papacy is the anti-Christ after reports questioned whether Bachmann is anti-Catholic.

Six days before Bachmann officially launched her presidential campaign last month, the Minnesota Republican and her family verbally requested to leave Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).
In light of that information, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise WELS pastors took issue with a play that questions Christian dogma, even if it does so in the most subtle of ways.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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29 comments
jiminplymouth
jiminplymouth

They can always replace the play with a good old fashioned book burning.  

Steve Anderson
Steve Anderson

Ignorance and superstition win a round but what can one expect from the WELS?

tp.game.s
tp.game.s

This is my diatribe on the story and science, WELS (not favorable) and other comments, in general.  I begin with God and WELS. 

1) God witnessed to me long ago (at 2 1/2 yrs old, when my auditory dyslexia was so severe, I understood nothing except body language). He mentioned YHVH, YeShua, Jesu. I know HE is God. 


2) With that said....WELS will ONLY partake of communion with those who are Confirmed under WELS. This means that Yeshua (Jesus) would NOT be allowed. 


3) WELS is so conservative that they think that unless you do exactly like them to the letter of the law, you are not really saved. They are NOT even Biblical in many of their stances. 


4) EVOLUTION  is NOT a fact! Creationism can't be taught as a Fact either ACCORDING to established Scientific definition of a fact versus a theory or hypothesis. This means that teaching Evolution as a fact would be wrong as we can't prove it. The problem with Creationism is that if I survive an unsurvivable crash, and see an Angel rescued me, the Atheist cry foul and that it was luck that saved me. IF I hear a voice quite clearly, its considered a lie. If I can't walk, and then am healed and can walk - I was lying about not being able to walk. 

5) The Play:  Personally, I think that Evolution and Creationism has to be shown as equally not proveable in the secular world. They need to be shown as not fact in the secular world. In a gathering of Believers or Atheists, then the bias can come out within their private gathering places. Outside of those places, it needs to be shown as equals that have not been proven. 

If I have Auditory dyslexia (which IS true about me), and am healed of it many years later, then those who hate God insist that I healed myself and God vehemently can not have anything to do with this. 


My point? God haters will hate anything that is said in favour of God - period. And WELS will hate everything that is in favour of breaking their unbiblical laws. Nowheres in their Bible does it say to NOT have communion with non-wels people. We will NEVER EVER EVER be able to prove God until he comes again, and therefore, we will never come together between Creationism and Evolution. Its impossible. And yes, I do believe Creationism is right, but NOT how we teach it. I do not believe that each day was a 24 hour day. Because in Judaism, a day is like a thousand days to God. This is why. I don't believe we could have a 24 hour period before God created Dark and Light either. And, regardless, he is capable of withholding the 24 hour period until He is ready for it to begin. 

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

If Jesus himself could handle being nailed to a cross and still come back for a killer encore, why can't these folks let others speak their mind and HAVE FAITH that their views will still be worthy for consideration, I mean what are they afraid of?  It's not like they won't still have a massive crop of mouth breathing idiots who need to be LED into doing the right thing.  There will always be sheep ready to hand churches their money to buy a closer place to God...

Heather Finch
Heather Finch

I am Christian (Lutheran as a matter of fact) and this embarrasses me.

AngelAssassin
AngelAssassin

if God created everything, then he created Evolution, RIGHT?!?!


Isaac
Isaac

I was planning to go to New Ulm's Oktoberfest this year. Forget that.

byork00
byork00

Pussies...If they were true to their art this would be even more reason to put this show on.  

_Joe_
_Joe_

Poor kid.  I don't blame him for bailing out and focusing on his schooling.  There is nothing more frightening than vengeful, hateful religious zealots.  No doubt they'd find a way to torpedo him and the work he's already completed, and they'd have no trouble telling themselves it was the right thing to do.


Whackjobs be scary.

Onan
Onan

Ah WELS/ELS - If Lutherans had a dynamite vest wearing faction, this would be it.

Jean C Thorne
Jean C Thorne

don't give in to these ill informed people -

barbertj23
barbertj23

Creationism isn't portrayed in a favorable light in reality.

Richard Ryder
Richard Ryder

New Ulm is a great place to live while you're waiting to die, other than that.. not so much.

teandoranges
teandoranges

@atrupar This hits WAY too close for home... on at least 3 levels. Thanks for the heads up!

_Joe_
_Joe_

@tp.game.s  

Dude, hearing voices is a sign of an unhealthy mental state.  Might want to follow up on that.

 Also, on the topic of "god haters,"  this is simply another figment of your imagination.  The much touted "god haters" crowd really doesn't exist.  I don't hate god.  I just don't believe in him.  I don't hate Santa or the Easter Bunny either.  I just don't believe it them.  And it's totally fine if you do.  That doesn't bother me at all.  I'm happy that it makes you happy.

What does bother me, however is when you lump creationism into the same category as evolution.  As you correctly pointed out, there is ZERO proof of creationism.  There is, however an abundance of observed and measurable evidence supporting the theory of evolution.  And we're finding more every day.  As such, I don't so much 'believe in evolution,' as I do accept as valid that which all of the evidence appears to indicate at this time.  Future discoveries may reinforce that acceptance, or disprove earlier results.  If the latter happens, I will not cling to evolution because I "believe in it."  I will re-evaluate the available data and reconsider what I accept as valid.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

Ramble on son... The value of proof reading seems to be lost on you. FYI, evolution is as much a scientific certainty as gravity.

Onan
Onan

@Luis Medina  - LOLWUT?

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