On March 1, the University of Minnesota’s Department of Theatre, Arts and Dance hosted the Dario Fo play, “The Pope and the Witch.” It was performed through March 9. Bill Donohue raised the following scenario with the press:
“Imagine an anti-Semitic play, written by a Hitlerian, being performed at the University of Minnesota. Imagine, too, that Jews complain and the president of the university justifies the play on free speech grounds. Imagine, as well, that the play is defended by non-Jewish professors in charge of the production. Now really let your imagination run: bowing to pressure from Jews, a panel discussion on the play is scheduled, but no one from the Jewish community is invited to participate. Well, exactly this has happened, except that it’s not Jews who are being assaulted by the University of Minnesota—it’s Catholics.”
When Donohue challenged President Robert Bruininks on the propriety of having this bigoted play performed on his campus last fall, Bruininks offered a lame explanation why the show must go on. Just as bad was Robert Rosen, the university’s theater director, and Steven Rosenstone, dean of the school’s College of Liberal Arts. According to a report in The Catholic Spirit, the local archdiocesan newspaper, “Rosen, who is not Catholic, said he is not surprised by the strong reaction; however, he does not see the play as an attack on the Catholic faith.” Rosenstone confirmed that no Catholics have been invited to join the forum and that’s because “nobody was selected for the panel on the basis of faith or religion.”
That’s interesting. The play was purposely selected to bash Catholicism and yet Catholics were purposely being denied the right to be on the very panel they pushed for.
Bill Donohue concluded his remarks as follows: “This is what the University of Minnesota stands for: free speech for Catholic bashers and no speech for Catholics. Accordingly, I will notify all members of the Minnesota legislature about this development: this is state-sponsored hate speech, partially funded by the target of hate, namely Catholics.”
We are pleased that several Minnesota lawmakers stepped forward and pledged to grill President Bruininks about his outrageous collapse of leadership.