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Ga. Theater Canceled Restoring Courage Screening After Finding Out Beck Was Associated

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"This has been political since it first came out..."

Officials at the Holly Theater in Dahlonega, Ga. canceled a screening of Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage event when they found out what it was about. (photo via Flickr user altfelix11)

A Georgia theater canceled their live broadcast of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" event at the last minute after theater officials learned the topic, nature and host of the event.

The Dahlonega Tea Party booked the Holly Theater in northern Georgia to host a viewing party of Beck's Jerusalem event last month. According to the Dahlonega Nugget, when theater officials saw Beck's name and that the broadcast was about Israel, they canceled the contract five days before the event, saying they were not allowed to "support one person's opinion over another."

"This has been political since it first came out, and they have not invited anyone to offer another opinion," Geoffrey Kridel, the theater's executive director, told the Nugget. "We are forbidden by the Internal Revenue Service to allow or support any political organization to the exclusion of others."

Restoring Courage was never intended to be a political event, and was not. But Geneva Betzold, the theater's board chair, said hosting the screening would "open the door for every other political and religious group to come to the Holly."

"This not only has political ramifications, it has religious ramifications too, with Israel as the subject," she said. "And it would make a lot of people mad."

Additionally, Kridel claimed the Tea Party "misrepresented" the true nature of the event when they booked the theater.

"She said they wanted to view a GBTV event. We thought it was Georgia Broadcasting. I just discovered it was Glenn Beck Monday night," he told the Nugget. "There was no disclosure of the actual nature of the event. I didn't even know it was about Israel until Friday."

Dahlonega Tea Party co-founder Emily Lewy isn't buying their reasons. She called canceling the contract "an intentional effort to denigrate the Tea Party."

"They did not know the difference between GBTV and PBS. They alleged that renting to the Tea Party, to anything affiliated with Glenn Beck or to anything connected with Israel would be discriminating against some other party that should have been given equal time," Levy said. "Their excuses fell flat. Being inept does not excuse discrimination."

No politicians were invited to the screening, and audience members of all political beliefs were welcome, she sad.

Details about the event were also not kept secret: According to the Nugget, the Dahlonega Tea Party had been advertising the screening on their mailing list for nearly a month, it had appeared in the newspaper's community calendar section and was listed as an official viewing party on Beck's website.

The theater provided one last reason for canceling the contract -- because Betzold, the board chair, never signed it, the contract was "null and void."

But Lewy claimed the theater was "not in the habit" of requiring the chair's signature until now.

The organization said it does not intend to pursue legal action, but wants the breach of contract known.

"That we are being discriminated against is a big issue," Lewy said. "And we're not a bunch of radicals. We're a very proper bunch."

(H/T: Martha Zoller)

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