Tuesday, December 05, 2006

LC asks William & Mary to Restore Cross to Chapel

Williamsburg, VA - The cross in Wren Chapel at the historic College of William and Mary was removed last month from the altar and placed in a closet, because the President of the College was afraid it may offend non-Christians. Liberty Counsel sent a letter to The College of William and Mary, explaining that the message the College is sending is not of inclusiveness and tolerance, but of intolerance and hostility. The letter requests that the cross remain permanently in Wren Chapel, where it has stood without controversy and undisturbed for over 75 years.Current President Gene R. Nichol (the former Chair of the University of Colorado's Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Issues) stated the cross "sends an unmistakable message that the chapel belongs more fully to some of us than others." "In order to make Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths, the cross has been removed from the altar area," said Melissa Engimann, school administrator.Previously, it was the College's policy that any group using the chapel could ask that the cross be removed for their event, and the staff complied with the requests with no problems ever having been reported. Last year, only 20 out of 111 weddings asked that the cross be removed. President Nichol has reversed the policy and had the cross completely removed and placed in a closet. Those who want the cross must request that it be taken from the closet for the event.The College of William and Mary was founded as an Anglican school for evangelization of Native Americans and training of Christian workers. Eleven of the past 26 presidents of the College have been Christian pastors. George Washington was the school's first American chancellor. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became chancellor of the College after retiring from the Court.By removing the cross from where it has stood for over 75 years and hiding it in a closet, The College of William and Mary has sent the unmistakable message of hostility to Christianity. A cross in a chapel should not offend a reasonable person, anymore than a gavel in a courtroom.