Friday, February 13, 2009
Crucifixes and Icons at Boston College. What Nerve.
Boston College President, Father William Leahy SJ, has decided to install crucifixes and/or icons in each of BC's classrooms as part of an attempt to reconnect BC to its Catholic mission.
Generally speaking, the news has gone over well, but not with everyone.
A smattering of reactions from here and there.
Student reaction has been generally supportive, but among faculty, there is division over the appropriateness of the step. A meeting last month of arts and sciences department chairs turned into a heated argument over the classroom icons; a handful of faculty have written to the administration to protest, and some unsuccessfully circulated a petition asking to have crucifixes removed.
"I believe that the display of religious signs and symbols, such as the crucifix, in the classroom is contrary to the letter and spirt of open intellectual discourse that makes education worthwhile and distinguishes first-rate universities from mediocre and provincial ones," Maxim D. Shrayer, chairman of the department of Slavic and Eastern languages and literatures, said in an interview.
“There is no choice if you don’t think it’s appropriate. You can’t turn it around,” said biology professor Dan Kirschner, faculty adviser for BC’s chapter of Hillel, a Jewish student group. “I think it is being insensitive to the people of other faith traditions here.”
Amir Hoveyda, head of BC’s chemistry department, blasted the school in an e-mail to the Herald for “not being interested in an exchange with its faculty members.”
In an interview with the college newspaper, The Observer, which broke the story, Hoveyda described the crucifixes as “offensive” and the university’s actions as “anti-intellectual.”
“I can hardly imagine a more effective way to denigrate the faculty of an educational institution,” he is quoted as saying. “The insult is particularly scathing, since such symbols were installed without discussion . . . in a disturbingly surreptitious manner.”
Sophomore Alex LoVerde, 20, believes a crucifix “pushes the Catholic religion” and does not belong in a classroom. “I think the Jesuit tradition is more of openness and tolerance,” LoVerde said. “I think that an overt display of crucifixes is not what the Jesuits would have had in mind.”
Oh, give me a break! With moonbats like this around, no wonder we have SSPX wingnuts around... Is there anyone sane out there?
Says Father John Paris SJ:
"Christian iconography and symbols permeate this place and always have," said the Rev. John Paris, a Jesuit priest who teaches bioethics at BC. Paris said he finds "offensive" the notion that a crucifix impedes the ability of students or faculty to think critically in a classroom and called the criticism "the narrow and bizarre musings of a few disgruntled folks."
"This is a small problem for those with small minds," Paris added. "This is not a serious controversy.
Watch the video from this link.