Current Articles of Interest

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crucifixes in the classroom

by Margaret Cabaniss

According to the Boston Globe, Boston College is currently in the middle of an eight-year program to increase the presence of Catholic symbols on their campus. To that end, the school put up 151 crucifixes in classrooms over the Christmas break.

The reaction? Students seemed generally supportive, but for some in the faculty, it was a different story:

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,"

by Margaret Maxim D. Shrayer, chairman of the department of Slavic and Eastern languages and literatures, said in an interview.
The irony of citing "open intellectual discourse" as a defense for banning certain images from the classroom seems lost on Professor Shrayer. Meanwhile, one professor has apparently refused to teach in a classroom with a crucifix in it, even if he has to relocate at his own expense. Mark Shea has very helpfully illustrated this reaction over on his blog:

Crucifixes in Catholic universities. What will they think of next?

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