The Politics of Evil

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A trustee of one Michigan college is instituting a plan to cut off funding for a theater group because he opposes some plays the college has produced in the past. According to an article by Dave Murray in the Grand Rapids Press:

Trustee Richard Ryskamp in the summer was turned back after questioning whether a college facing budget shortfalls should continue subsidizing groups including the Actors Theater, which in the past has offered controversial plays and receives $19,000 from the school, plus free use of the theater and student workers.

But apparently now it’s time to have the discussion. As Murray explains,

Grand Rapids Community College officials say they will allow debate over whether they should continue funding programs one trustee says includes performances of “evil things.”

Right. Not “inappropriate.” Not “controversial.” Evil.

The Actors Theater has in the past performed Terrence McNally’s Corpus Chrsti , in which Jesus is depicted as a gay man. Ryskamp also objected to spending $15,000 for the college’s Diversity Lecture Series, which last year included a visit from leftist political activist Angela Davis.

Another trustee, Janice Maggini, said that addressing Ryskamp concerns about evil would be, as the newspaper explained, outside of the board’s responsibility, “veering from its role of making policy and stepping into operational matters, which she thought would be inappropriate.” No kidding.

Ryskamp’s college is not a religious institution. It’s a publically funded, secular community college in southwestern Michigan. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer