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Bad Minnesota Lutherans Cancel Community Theater Production Of 'Inherit The Wind,' For Freedom
As a perfect finale to the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, we have this story from New Ulm, Minnesota: a New Ulm Actors Community Theater production of the 1955 play Inherit the Wind had to be cancelled after fundamentalist Lutherans made life miserable for the play's director and several actors. These are the fire-breathing Michele Bachmann kind of Minnesota Lutherans, not the Garrison Keillor kind. The denomination's views are so extreme, in fact, that Bachmann left the church when she ran for president, seeing as how it might be difficult to get votes from Catholics when the WELS website says "We identify the anti-Christ as the papacy."
The trouble started when faculty members at Martin Luther College, the ministry college for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), saw a poster advertising auditions and complained to the school's administration about pro-evolution overtones in the play, which uses a fictionalized retelling of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey trial" as a means to critique McCarthyism. The administration was also duly alarmed, and cancelled the single on-campus audition that the community group had planned for MLC students.