|Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 10:46 am: ||
This kind of debate seems to be more and more prominant as we become more liberated as a society from our prejudices... The question that remains is, "Are we creating a new type of prejudice?" As a person of faith myself, I have no problem with either stance... to remove the cross or to keep the cross... I will say if the cross is a henderance to ones own spiritual journey two questions arise... 1. Is your spiritual journey controlled by your surroundings or your will/soul? 2. Is it charitable to keep a symbol visible that may hinder another's spiritual journey?
Your fellow writer,
|Posted on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 08:13 am: ||
Removal of cross from Virginia college's historic chapel raises ruckus
POSTED: 9:15 p.m. EST, February 4, 2007
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (AP) -- As a Catholic, Vince Haley often went to Mass at the College of William and Mary's historic Wren Chapel when he was an undergraduate in the 1980s. Also a Catholic, school President Gene R. Nichol often goes to the 120-seat chapel alone at night to think in the quiet.
Both agree the chapel is a sacred space meaningful to students, alumni, faculty and staff of the public school who use it for religious services and secular events.
They clash, though, over what to do with an unadorned, 18-inch brass cross that had been displayed on the altar since about 1940.
Nichol ordered the cross removed in October to make the chapel more welcoming to students of all faiths. Previously, the cross could be removed by request; now it can be returned by request.
"It's the right thing to do to make sure that this campus is open and welcoming to everyone," Nichol said. "This is a diverse institution religiously, and we want it to become even more diverse."
Haley and more than 10,000 supporters who have signed his online petition since last fall want Nichol to put the cross back on the altar permanently. More than 1,100 students, alumni and others have signed a petition in support of Nichol since January 31.
In response to early protests, Nichol decided in December to return the cross to the chapel on Sundays, and he recently created a committee that will examine the role of religion at public universities and the use of the chapel.
The school's governing Board of Visitors meets this coming Thursday and Friday, and Haley and his supporters -- including some alumni who have threatened to withhold donations until the cross is permanently restored -- want the panel to overrule Nichol. The board's agenda will not be available until midweek, a school spokesman said.
"The message that is sent by removing the cross is that we no longer value that part of our heritage, and that's a mistake," said Haley, research director at the American Enterprise Institute for former House speaker Newt Gingrich. "It reflects a view that religious symbols -- religion and the public expression thereof -- are somehow an obstacle for us to get along with one another."
Nichol, who became president in 2005, said perhaps 20 people mentioned concerns about the chapel's cross to him during his first year and a half in the job.
"Does that marvelous place belong to everyone, or is it principally for our Christian students?" Nichol said. "Do we actually value religious diversity, or have we determined, because of our history, to endorse a particular religious tradition to the exclusion of others?"