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The Cross Removed At William and Mary

Written By : John Hawkins
February 5, 2007

How is it that Christians seem to be the only people ever targeted in this way?

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“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 Jan. 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.”

I am so sick and tired of seeing Christians getting pushed around in this country. You’ve got atheists trying to get taken God out of the pledge, people saying happy holidays because they’re afraid to say Christmas, liberals like Andrew Sullivan assaulting Christianity on a regular basis, and anti-Christian groups like the ACLU launching an all out assault on Christians at every opportunity.

I’m of the opinion that Christians need to stop allowing themselves to be bullied and should start fighting for every single inch of ground. Christians make up an overwhelming majority of people in this country and although we should certainly tolerate other religions and viewpoints, we shouldn’t ever tolerate Christians being given the short end because of our religion. On issues like this one, there should be no more backing up, no more accommodation, no more going along just to get along.

Those alumni who have, “threatened to withhold donations until the cross is permanently restored?” They’ve got to right idea. More alumni should join them. Parents should write William and Mary and say that they won’t send their children to a school that’s so hostile to Christianity that they’re removing a 65+ year old cross from a chapel. If enough Christians stand up for their religion, William and Mary will back down and do the right thing.

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