“Jerry Springer, the Opera”: Your Tax Dollars at Work

If the government is forbidden from funding projects that promote religion, why is the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) allowed to fund a project that directly attacks religion?

It’s a fair question, and Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, is asking it.

Deal Hudson writes an article addressing the controversy surrounding the London-born and now off-Broadway show “Jerry Springer, the Opera.” The show is, according to Donahue and Hudson, a two hour romp of obscenities and attacks on Christianity. For example, the show treats the audience to a woman singing a song about how she urinates on a naked man in her bathroom, an adult man dressing in a diaper informing his girlfriend that he desires that she treat him like a baby (and then proceeds to defecate in said diaper), and the same man, now identified as Jesus, being sexually assaulted by Eve.

Well, that’s enough of a description for the purposes of this blog. The show won four Lawrence Olivier Awards. ‘Natch!

To be specific, the NEA did not directly fund “Jerry Springer, the Opera.” It did extend a 2009 grant to the New Group, which produces “Jerry Springer, the Opera.”

Dr. Donahue wrote Dr. Jane Chu, Chair of the NEA, a letter asking why the NEA extended a $50,000 grant to the New Group, since the New Group is apparently known for producing anti-Christian material, and why that grant was extended to the New Group, “To support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn,” since NEA guidelines specifically prohibit grants for the purpose of “General operating and seasonal support.”

Donahue agrees with President Trump that the NEA ought to be dissolved. Congress disagrees and continues to fund the NEA. So, when Dr. Chu steps down as chair in June, she will be replaced by a new Trump appointee. Donahue has written Trump asking that he appoint a new NEA chair who will, “not continue to fund anti-Christian grantees, exhibitions, or performances.” That seems reasonable, at a minimum.

If the government is forbidden from funding projects that promote religion, why is the NEA allowed to fund a project that directly attacks religion?

It’s a fair question.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

 

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