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Readers Explain Uproar Over 'Sister Mary Ignatius'

October 20, 1990

Upset by the popularity of Christopher Durang's "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You," Costa Mesa City Councilman Orville Amburgey has decreed: "There are enough plays that we can go out there and perform that won't be offensive to anyone." Fine. Mr. Amburgey has decided to offer pablum and tripe for those few tormented souls who take offense to any thought-provoking production.

Ernie Feeney with husband John, who incited this incursion and catapulted it to a national level, vows, "This city will never be torn apart for a religious issue again." However, it was the Feeneys' intrusion into the world of community theater that has caused the turmoil.

Further, Councilwoman Sandra L. Genis has opined that the issue is one of "sponsorship, not censorship." Yet, without supplemental city funding, the theater will be unable to function. Is that not censorship? The City Council is currently debating whether or not to withhold further funding pending the establishment of "guidelines." Whose guidelines? The electorate's? The City Council's? The Feeneys'?

Judging by the sellout of the play's run, it would seem the people have spoken. They don't want pretentiousness, they want substance. They don't want simplicity, they want stimulation.

The current fad in this country to suppress the First Amendment's right to freedom of expression has been brought about by those individuals who feel it is their duty to protect the rest of us from what they have decided is wrong or bad. They want their "guidelines" established for all.

The gross mistake made in these thought processes is that intelligent, rational, freethinking people do not want, nor do they need, to have someone else establish "guidelines" for them as to what is right or wrong. The choice must be left up to the individual if any semblance of personal responsibility is to remain. Individual thought and self-expression made this country. We cannot let these principles die through the misguided attempts of the self-appointed "right minders."

WILLIAM E. GERKEN

Huntington Beach

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