ACLU Urges City of Lansing to Reconsider Censorship of Shakespeare in the Park

A Release From the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Lansing branch of the ACLU says Todd Heywood, a Lansing resident, and his theater company, Sunsets with Shakespeare, requested permission to perform a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s "Titus Andronicus" at a Lansing city park. Their request was denied by the Department of Parks and Recreation; officials said that the stage blood might be offensive to the audience.
In a letter sent today to the City of Lansing, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Lansing branch of the ACLU advised city officials to reconsider their decision to censor a Shakespeare in the Park production of "Titus Andronicus."

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who?

Exactly who is the easily offended here? The town or the ACLU?

And to those who say sex always trump violence, here ya go.

No different than Christmas

If memory serves, Titus Andronicus depicts sacrifices made to Roman gods. I think it's been made very clear by the ACLU that religion and public spaces shouldn't be mixed.

Blood vs Sex

Here's User Friendly's take on "appropriate entertainment". More to the point, how is some stage blood more offensive than most evening cop shows nowadays? While Shakespeare in the Park is open to one and all, they're usually run in the evenings, which reduces the possibility of small children being exposed to Elizabethan violence.

Re:No different than Christmas

Actually that is incorrect. Governmental promotion of religion is what the ACLU is against. Individuals, or groups of citizens, exercising religion in a public square has been defended by the ACLU on numerous occasions. I can't remember the exact case, but not so long ago a city forbid a group to practice baptisms in a stream in a city (maybe county) park. The ACLU came to the defense of the group that wanted to have baptisms. The ACLU has always come down on the side of street preachers to exercise their First Amendment Rights. I realize it's pretty de jure to assume that the ACLU is against ALL public displays of religion, but that is simply not the case.

Re:who?

Obviously the town.

Re:who?

Exactly who is the easily offended here?

Let's see: You've got a group of people who are offended by the sight of theatrical blood and who have decided that consenting adults who have more intelligence and fortitude than they do are not allowed to see situations where-in blood would be shed, and a group of people who are offended by the censorship of these self-important pompous asses, and who then respond by protecting the civil liberties and person freedoms of every person in the community.

Well, there's no doubt in my mind that it's the self-important pompous asses who are the more easily offended.

They're quite clearly hypocritical, as well, considering the buckets and buckets of blood and the advocation of crime, hatred, and genocide with which the Old Testament of the Bible is rife.

Re:who?

Not as far as I'm concerned.

Re:No different than Christmas

Individuals, or groups of citizens, exercising religion in a public square has been defended by the ACLU on numerous occasions.

I can't agree here Robert. Look to last year's Cranston
case. The ACLU objected to, and sued, against private Christmas displays in the public square .

Re:who?

Interesting response. So you don't think it's a problem, or a serious issue, if a town restricts the performance of a Shakespeare play?

Re:No different than Christmas

I would have to wonder if the front lawn of City Hall is used as a public square. If it's not, except at Christmas, and for a celebration of Christmas, I can see the issue. If, for instance, that is ALL they allowed, then there is a problem.

Re:No different than Christmas

I just took a look, and this is from the ACLU site:

"The displays were erected with the approval of the mayor pursuant to a new city policy designating the front lawn of City Hall as a "limited public forum open for the purpose of appropriate seasonal and holiday displays" from December 5 to January 1. The policy gives the mayor sole authority to approve all "appropriate holiday and seasonal decorations … appropriate being defined as being suitable and proper for the holiday occasion."

The policy was obviously tailored to limit the scope of speech, and to promote a religious message to the exclusion of other messages.

The issue is obviously governmental entanglement with religion, not the expression of religion by individuals.

ACLU

Re:who?

for the reasons given? No.

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