On October 13, 1998, I held a demonstration in the street outside the theater that hosted “Corpus Christi,” the Terrence McNally play that depicted Christ having sex with the apostles. I did not seek to have the government censor the play, but there was a protest of my right to protest the play. The New York Times commented on my demonstration: “The protest began with a fiery speech from William A. Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Holding a bullhorn inside an area barricaded by the police, Mr. Donohue shouted criticisms at the opposition. ‘You are the real authoritarians at heart,’ he said. ‘We’re the ones that believe in tolerance, not you phonies.'”
The Times noted that I assembled 2,000 people on a rainy night and was greeted by a counterdemonstration of 300. Who protested my right to protest? People for the American Way, the National Coalition Against Censorship, PEN American Center and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. They wanted to censor me.
In 2001, when Indiana University-Purdue University hosted “Corpus Christi,” I was asked to join 11 state lawmakers and local residents in a lawsuit against the university. I refused to do so, citing my objections to censorship. Instead, I asked the school’s chancellor to allow the distribution of a statement I wrote objecting to the play, making sure that all attendees got a copy. He agreed. That’s how I operate.
Here’s how cultural fascists operate: the University of Maine initially banned candy canes on campus last month because they remind people of Christmas. In previous years, schools have prohibited students from talking about Christmas at the “Winter Party,” banned students from exchanging Christmas cards, and censored the singing of “Silent Night.”
If anyone wants to meet the real censors, he should visit his local schools, especially institutions of higher learning. Or contact liberal free speech organizations.