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Sexually explicit play slated at William Jewell in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A controversial play that presents a variety of women talking about sexually explicit issues is set to be performed Feb. 14-15 at William Jewell College, which is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

The play, “The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, tells the story of a diverse group of women each bluntly exploring a specific aspect of the female body part. The play covers hair, scents, masturbation, orgasms, secretions and birth — among other topics.

William Jewell recently came under scrutiny by Baptist leaders in Missouri when the school’s student senate held debates on whether to add the phrase “sexual orientation” to the anti-discrimination portion of William Jewell’s student bill of rights.

The Vagina Monologues will be presented at the university’s Peters Theatre and will be a student-produced show, according to Nathan Wyman, a professor at William Jewell.

Wyman said the student production is part of the requirement for the school’s theatre major and was approved by the chair of the theatre department.

Rob Eisle, William Jewell’s director of communications, confirmed The Vagina Monologues would be shown on campus. David Sallee, president of the Baptist-affiliated university, was not available for comment.

Kenny Qualls, president of the Missouri Baptist Convention, expressed disbelief that a Christian college would allow the show to be produced.

“I am incredibly brokenhearted,” Qualls told Baptist Press. “I continue to look to the president, the administrators and the trustees to provide solid, biblical leadership for these students.

“I’m convinced in my heart that the vast majority of Missouri Baptists are going to be outraged that a play like this would be shown on a Christian campus,” Qualls said.

In recent days, Qualls said he has fielded phone calls, e-mails and letters about pro-homosexual activity at William Jewell. “There has never been an issue that I’ve received more calls about,” he said.

Qualls, describing Missouri as a “conservative state,” said: “But this goes beyond conservative or liberal. It’s something that resonates with anyone who believes the Bible.”

David Clippard, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, said he was aware of the play and was “repulsed” by the idea of it being performed at William Jewell.

“It is totally inappropriate for a Christian college campus,” he told Baptist Press.

Roger Moran, of the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association, told Baptist Press, also said he was appalled.

“It is sick,” Moran said. “This is putting me close to speechless. We said in the beginning that theological liberalism does not operate in a vacuum or a void. It manifests itself in specific ways. This is one more wretched, depraved example of what theological liberalism will produce.”

Moran wanted to know why trustees at the Baptist-affiliated school have not put a stop to the pro-homosexual and liberal agenda at William Jewell. “Why aren’t the self-perpetuating trustees who are heavily aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship speaking out against this?” he asked.

“This is what’s wrong with the trustees at William Jewell,” Moran said. “They have lost their biblical understanding that sin is serious. And because of that, they have become blinded to the necessity for holiness and moral purity.”

Wyman at William Jewell, however, told Baptist Press that students have a right to perform the show as they desire and the faculty would not try to censor the production.

“We welcome controversy so we can have a dialogue about it [the issues],” he said.

In New Orleans, six radio stations were banned from mentioning the show on-air due to “community standards.”

Jeff Scott, director of operations for Entercom New Orleans, told a local newspaper, “We have a number of family oriented radio stations that we broadcast in this market. We felt like running commercials with repeated usage of the ‘v’ word, if you will, would probably elicit a negative response from our audience.”

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  • Todd Starnes