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A public charter school in Massachusetts turned a deaf ear to protests last week and followed through with performing a pro-homosexual play that mocks the Bible and has been blasted as “blasphemous.”
Students from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, or PVPA – which serves 400 pupils, grades 7-12, in South Hadley, Mass. – on March 15-17 performed the controversial play, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.”
A 1998 Paul Rudnick comedy that had a run in theaters in New York City, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” alters the biblical Book of Genesis to include homosexual couples Adam and Steve and Jane and Mabel in the Garden; as well as a “horny” rhinoceros that tries to seduce men on the Ark; and Mary, the mother of Christ, arguing she can’t be pregnant, because she’s a lesbian “bull-dyke.”
A New England theater guide, The Theater Mirror, in a glowing review, further explains the play “gets so specific as to be a gay how-to sexbook” and summarizes it as “a goofy gay romp with a serious sting in its tale.”
News of the play’s pending performance prompted protests from several sectors, including students, parents and even the president of the school’s board of trustees, who said he seconded a student opinion that the play is disrespectful to Christianity.
The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Mass., however, was even more blunt.
According to The Springfield Republican, the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell responded through a spokesman: “I didn’t know it was the responsibility of charter schools to teach religious bigotry.”
Within the community, crowds of protesters showed up at the performances, including Noreen Beebe of Northampton, Mass., who told the Republican she was “insulted” that taxpayer money is being used mock Scripture.
“It breaks my heart to see a public school doing a parody of the Bible,” Beebe said.
Pam Rys of Ludlow told the newspaper said she considers the play “hate speech in the form of art.”
The play’s director, however, argued, “It’s not a play that bashes religion, but it does make fun of some religious attitudes.”
During a rehearsal leading up to the performance, he clarified, “Although it’s full of jokes – some of them at the expense of religious fundamentalism – the play, is, at its heart, a thoughtful investigation of the meaning of faith and family.”
William Newman, director of the Western Massachusetts office of the American Civil Liberties Union, also defended the play, stating, “The highest function of art is to make people think and talk and consider and be challenged. This play seems to fill the aspirations and goals of art.”
According to WWLP-TV, in Springfield, Mass., PVPA Head of School Scott Goldman said he had been bombarded with emails and phone calls alleging the play was “blasphemous and hateful,” but that the show would go on.
“While we have no control over whether organizations from other states decide to protest the show, it is clear to me that many of the most recent emails are attempts to coerce PVPA into cancelling the play,” Goldman told the station. “Allowing this to happen would very much go against the grain of our unique, artistic and intellectually rigorous PVPA community, and the larger Pioneer Valley community.”
Goldman conceded that while the play may not be appropriate for younger audiences, he believes it suitable for high-school aged students.
Indeed, the play did go on, even over a the objections of a crowd of roughly 50 protesters who reportedly gathered on opening night.
According to minutes of a school-trustee meeting held earlier this month, the board intends to discuss in the future the process of how plays are selected to be performed by the students.
It’s not just schools that are bringing homosexuality into biblical stories. Some churches themselves are.
As WND reported, a Christian church in America’s heartland redefined the birth of Jesus story, as its living Nativity scene in December 2010 featured two women instead of a man and a women starring as Joseph and Mary.
“It’s not very groundbreaking at all to use the youngest baby in the congregation to play the role of Jesus. The parents just happened to be two women,” said Rev. Linda Butler, pastor of St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “They were playing the role of the Holy Family, not necessarily Mary and Joseph. We never referred to the moms as Mary and Joseph. We referred to them as the Holy Family.”