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The Laramie Project – why you need to be concerned

June 18, 2007

The extremely violent content, described in raw language, is overwhelming.

  • The play focuses our attention on hideous, brutal violence, with incessant and relentless assaults on our emotions and thoughts. The play fixates on descriptions of what was done to the victim, how it was done, how the victim reacted, how long his torture lasted, the facts of his being tied to a fence, tears streaking down his cheeks and through the blood, the agony experienced by the young man who found him, the police officer who extricated his limp body, the parents’ anguish as he lingered for days in the hospital, etc.  We wonder why more and more children become involved with violence, and yet we don’t draw the connection with subjecting students to this type of event.
  • Teenage emotions and issues with violence, suicide, and depression are real problems. This horrific play will certainly contribute to emotional disturbance in some vulnerable teens. We should be especially concerned about those students involved in the production, as they will be immersed in this disturbing material, living it over and over as they learn and rehearse the play

The play is lacking in artistic, literary and educational merit.

  • There is no dramatic action. There is no character development. There are just narrations and musings on the murder.
  • The play allows no time for reflection. It employs a rapid-fire series of brief narratives by individuals in the community.
  • It does not accurately portray the facts of this murder and the events leading up to it.
  • There can be no comparison between the merit of this play and works from Shakespeare or other great playwrights. There are many other great theatrical works to choose from which would be challenging, uplifting, offer introspection, and be educationally appropriate.

The play denigrates religious Christians with traditional moral values.

  • It sends the message that traditional religious people are hateful and bigoted, and specifically that people who believe in the Bible are backwards and foolish. It inaccurately presents an extreme fundamentalist preacher with an unbiblical message as representative of conservative Christians.
  • An underlying theme is that people with traditional moral values may be prone to commit similar violent acts. The not-so-subliminal message is that the community needs to fear religious Christians.
  • The play clearly portrays the murder as a symbolic “crucifixion” – offensive to Christians.

The play is a means of promoting a very controversial political agenda, an agenda which greatly offends many people in the school and the community.

  • A major goal of the play is to change the values of children regarding homosexuality and homosexual acts, through a gut-wrenching emotional experience involving extreme violence by “homophobic” people.
  • The Laramie Project is being heavily promoted to schools by the major homosexual activist groups. They’ve published sophisticated “study guides” for teachers to help them deflect parents’ objections about the play. As one such guide admits, “Students may even come to view their most basic values – values that have been a part of their families and communities for generations – in a new light.”
  • A clear purpose of the play is to normalize homosexuality in the minds of children despite their upbringing. For example, one of the heroes of the play describes how he can’t believe he actually grew up think that homosexuality is wrong. It draws young people into defending and promoting a dangerous lifestyle choice (homosexuality), while turning them against their own parents and their parents’ values. It sows divisiveness not only in the community, but within families. (This has already happened for several families with connections to the drama program.)
  • Because it is a propaganda piece, the play is inaccurate – e.g., it suggests that Shepard was attacked because he was homosexual, and this was a “hate crime”. But after the play was produced, an ABC News report revealed that money and drugs were probably the motivation, and the attacker was using drugs (methamphetamine) at the time of the crime. (See the ABC 20/20 report: “New Details Emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder; Killers Talk About Crime That Shocked the Nation,” Nov. 26, 2004; http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=277685&page=1.)
  • The play jams into our minds the idea that homosexuals are specially targeted victims, and thus need special protection from the rest of society (including people like you and me). It is a vehicle for promoting controversial “hate crimes” legislation (addressed directly in the script).

A school official has made disturbing statements in an effort to defend the play.

  • Here in Acton, in a recent email our school personnel have defended the production of this play by making the disturbing statement that a hideously violent act like this could happen in this town (“the answer is yes, it could happen here”) and that “the seeds of hate” are here in Acton.  And furthermore, they stated that there is prejudice at the school and that students here “feel it every day.”  Therefore, they claim it is necessary to produce this play.
  • The play was given to students months ago without parents’ knowledge or permission.

A public high school, supported by a wide spectrum of people with taxpayer money, should not get involved in extremely divisive and psychologically destructive areas like this.