Why Not Just Throw a Tomato?

Dewhurst supports cancellation of 'morally reprehensible' play at Tarleton State

When university students receive threats over a play staged as part of their course work, it would be normal to expect the state to come to their defense. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has instead joined with the mob, forcing students at Stephenville's Tarleton State University to cancel their March 27 performances of several one-act plays. The controversy surrounded one play, noted Texas-raised playwright Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi, about a gay Christ-like figure named Joshua. In an official press release, Dewhurst railed, "[N]o one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans." The university initially rescheduled the plays and closed them to the public, then associate professor Mark Holtorf canceled the entire event, citing safety concerns. Dewhurst called the cancellation "the right thing to do" – not because of the threats but because of the content of the play. ACLU of Texas legal director Lisa Graybill noted that since his statements came with the lieutenant governor's seal on them, "there was a message that there would be consequences to the university should the play go on."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

David Dewhurst, Tarleton State University, Terrence McNally

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