[Image: GodBox030209.jpg]Entitled “Be Still and Know,” the play was first performed on Jan. 30 at the Campbell Theatre for Performing arts on the Sacred Heart Campus. “The play, adapted by SHP Drama Director John Loschmann from the novel The God Box by Alex Sanchez, explores the Bible’s view on homosexuality and the struggle adolescents have with their sexual identity and their identity as Christians,” said a Sacred Heart news release about the play.

Sacred Heart Preparatory School was founded in 1898 by the sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and today describes itself as “a Roman Catholic, independent, coed, college preparatory day school.” Yearly tuition is $28,635.

The God Box, published in 2007, won a Lambda Literary Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation, “the country's leading organization for LGBT writers and readers,” according to the group’s web site.

Among those who have praised the The God Box is Episcopalian Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who said of the book, "Alex Sanchez evokes the crucifying experience of adolescents wrestling with their sexual identity and their identity as Christians. He does a remarkably faithful job of opening up long-abused biblical passages often used as proof texts to denigrate homosexuality. This book is a gift not just to teenagers, but to those who love and work with them."

Writing on her personal blog “The thoughts of a teenage girl” on Dec. 15, 2008, a young woman who says she plays “Angie, who is the lead character’s girlfriend,” and had just returned from her first rehearsal of “Be Still and Know,” had this to say of the play: “With the passing of Prop 8, I think that California needs a nice dose of humanity. The show does a beautiful job of defending homosexuality with the bible, the very thing most commonly used to condemn it, including Leviticus 18:22 (‘Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman, it is an abomination’), to which Carlos (Manuel) Cordero, and openly gay, Christian teen in the play, responds, ‘The Bible also say that eating shellfish is an abomination… Does anyone who eats shrimp commit a lesser crime than homosexuality?’ The show is smart, and powerful, and will cause many people to reconsider their beliefs about homosexuality.”

But the young writer also acknowledged that the play had provoked disapproval by some at her school: “In my nice little Sacred Heart high school, though in one of the most liberal places in the world, San Francisco, this show is causing a remarkable amount of controversy… Parents are protesting it, teachers are confused by it, and student are just avoiding the topic all together.”

“Be Still and Know” has also captured attention in the Catholic blogosphere. Gibbons Cooney, a San Francisco resident and Catholic activist writing on “A Shepherd’s Voice,” the blog of outspoken priest Fr. John Malloy, asks some salient questions about the play: “Is the content of the play in agreement with Church teaching on homosexuality? Who decided on having this play produced at Sacred Heart of Atherton? Has the production of this play at Sacred Heart of Atherton been approved by the Archdiocese? Has the production of this play at Most Holy Redeemer been approved by the Archdiocese? Why is this play being performed at Most Holy Redeemer at all? The novel The God Box from which the play is adapted, is targeted at an adolescent audience... Finally, has anyone at the Archdiocese read The God Box? Or even visited the website of Alex Sanchez, the book’s author?”

Most Holy Redeemer, located in San Francisco’s Castro District, has repeatedly made news over the years for its homosexual-friendly activities: it is the parish where Archbishop George Niederauer gave Communion to two transvestites dressed as nuns in 2007 (the archbishop later apologized), the parish where the same group of transvestite “nuns” – the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – once held bingo games to raise money until they were kicked out on orders of the chancery in 2006, and the parish that until recently regularly sent a contingent to each year’s San Francisco “gay pride” parade. In fact, the parish is where the so-called “rainbow flag,” the banner of the homosexual-rights movement, was invented, according Jesuit Fr. Donal Godfrey, director of ministry at the University of San Francisco.

“The now decades-long tolerance of the celebration of homosexuality at MHR is bearing fruit: today, among other things, they have openly same-sex ‘married’ lectors, acolytes, and Eucharistic ministers serving at Mass,” noted Cooney. “And now, with their allies in Catholic High Schools, they are actively seeking to corrupt the faith of our Catholic young people. This is not about our same-sex attracted brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church, striving, as do we all, to live a Christian life. What we are confronted with is the ‘evangelizing’ for homosexuality in our parishes and now our Catholic schools. It is being backed by the drama teacher and principal of Sacred Heart of Atherton, and by the pastor of MHR. Our Archdiocesan officials have a duty to put a stop to it.”