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Connections, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981
File 018
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Connections, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981 - File 018. 1981-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 6, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2018/show/2014.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1981-02). Connections, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981 - File 018. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2018/show/2014

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Connections, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981 - File 018, 1981-02, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 6, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2018/show/2014.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Connections, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981
Contributor
  • Olinger, James K.
Publisher Gay Community Services
Date February 1981
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 5962584
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 018
Transcript CONNECTIONS 17 rHHODIST QUASHES ML by Troy stokes There is no way that I could write objectively about the cancellation of Martin Sherman's splendid play BENT. For the last ten years, a major focus of my energies has been attempting to move the United Methodist Church in the direction of fairer treatment of its homosexual members. Changes have been minimal and slow, so the best I can do is advise the reader of my bias and proceed. In the fall of 1980, Rev. Wilson Wade, pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Austin, asked the Wesley Foundation, the Methodist Church's campus ministry, to fund "production of two socially relevant dramas which would articulate the universal human situation of sin and salvation without the confusions occasioned by religious rhetoric." A stated purpose in the proposal was to involve those persons who do not attend church. The request was approved, and Wade attempted to secure rights to perform Elie Wiesel's The Trial of God. He found he could not get those rights, and obtained Bent by Martin Sherman, which deals with the Nazi persecution and extermination of homosexuals. Instead, Rev. Wade's choice alarmed the board of directors of the Wesley Foundation. The chairman, Rev. George Ricker (pator at University UMC) reviewed the script and refused to sign checks to pay for production, which was already under way. A board meeting was called, and funding was withdrawn by unanimous vote. The prevailing feeling was that, although, the play had merit, it was just too controversial for the United Methodist Church to sponsor. Dr. Ralph Seiler (Superintendent of the Austin District of the Methodist Church) indicated that the overt sexuality in the play made it unsuitable. A frequent refrain was that a dispute over this play would be "bad strategy for the- ultimate full inclusion of gay people in the life of the church." I find it depressing that this decision'was made without asking any gay people. i:o openly jay people serve on the Wesley Foundation board, and none were invited to the meeting as guest, though it should have been obvious that the board's decision would have "needed interpretation" to the gay community. This attitude is characteristic of the church's condescending approach. It makes decisions about people's lives without consulting them. The feelings of conservative-minded fat cats are considered important. The feelings of minority people are not. The "strategy" turned out to be bad in at least one instance: on Sunday, January 16, my friend and companion Ronnie Sawey confronted Rev. Ricker about his decision during the eleven o'clock worship service at University Methodist. Although this did not cause the board to change its decision, it did call into question the practice of neglecting the concerns minor Ltv ggQg^ ;_^ ar.^afc^'^l,.far, rjy =cj -or. ?.- There are youths in and out of the Methodist Church who care about being Christian while being in conflict about their sexual activities and feelings. Homosexuals and many others are in this group. It is tragic that the church can't apply the same em- Continued on page 18 Max, left, played by Richard Gere, and Rudy, right, from the Broadway play "bent." BENT PRODUCTION CONTINUES HELP NEEDED by Rev. Wilson Wade I am trying to raise $2,300 for a professional quality production of BENT this spring. My personal commitment to producing this play in Austin is greater than ever, precisely because an agency of the United Methodist Church has withdrawn support on the grounds that certain church people might be offended. Several hundred dollars of my own money will be put into this effort. The production staff I have been working with is also making a financial commitment. We also have the corrmitment of some of the best actors in town to make this play an outstanding theatrical event of deep social significance for the community. We have a grant of $1,200 from the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to stage BENT at Center Stage Theatre and tentative agreement from UT to stage it in their Drama Workshop Theatre. Ten performances are planned. We need all the financial commitments we can get as soon as possible, because "up-front" money is necessary before we can get receipts from ticket sales. Please help. Rev. Wade is pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church, 1306 West Lynn, in Austin, phone 476-8164.
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