College student Justin Graves recently suggested a Christian-themed play for the drama club at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) in Wilmington, N.C.
While his fellow classmates voted to perform the play, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian law firm, claims that the drama club's instructor, Jack Landry, told Graves to dumb it down or the students couldn't do it.
“The advisor claimed that the production would violate the First Amendment if it included the religious themes, and he advised Graves to ‘dumb down’ the religious content until it was not ‘obvious’ to avoid any potential lawsuits or ‘offending’ anyone,” the ADF stated in a press release.
“Ironically, the advisor allowed the drama club to sponsor other productions that could potentially cause offense, including ones that included rape and incest themes."
The ADF sent Landry a letter on behalf of Graves asking him to allow the Christian play to be produced at the school.
According to WECT, Travis Barham, an attorney with the ADF, stated in the letter:
The school has to treat secular speech and religious speech even-handedly and allow it to go forward. The fact that it might offend someone doesn't matter because the first amendment exists to protect speech that might offend people and it exists to protect religious speech.
Barham told Campus Reform, "University officials, including drama instructors, should know by now that the First Amendment does not allow them to pick through student productions and purge the religious content."
“We’ve run into many, many university officials who seem to misunderstand the First Amendment, seem to view it as a command to purge the campus of all things religious even though the Supreme Court has said over and over again that’s not what the First Amendment requires,” added Barham.
A CFCC official told Campus Reform that the administration “is currently looking into the matter.”