The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

College of William & Dhimmitude?

Why should Christians be expected to have culture?
How's this for an outrage: The College of William & Mary, a Christian school founded in 1693 by the Crown, and existing under a charter that openly declares that it will exist in perpetuity (which our Commonwealth continues to honour) is apparently so bowed to the forces of political correctness that it is removing the cross from a chapel, and not just any chapel, but the 300-year-old Wren Chapel!

Be sure to drop a kindly e-mail to Melissa Engimann, the director of the Historic Campus, and share your thoughts with her on this blatant historical revisionism. If the University needs a non-sectarian chapel, perhaps it'd be best if it built a new one, something which would meet the "non-Christian" students' needs without sullying the school's history!

ARGH! Political Correctness is a curse!

Update 29-Oct: Oh, I neglected to mention earlier that there is a Crypt in the Wren Chapel, housing the remains of many notable Virginians:—Lord Boutetort, Sir John Randolph, and Peyton Randolph, to name a few.

Do you think these Godly men would want the Chapel they helped build to be desecrated by bullies all in the name of Secularism? I don't!

Update: Neither does Jim Bacon, a self-described secularist who "respects (his) Christian heritage." My hat's off to ya, Jim!

Update: Reader Brad sends in his exchange with W&M President Gene Nichol, who seems to have a gift for illustrating the obvious. Read the exchange following the break!Brad writes, "Brian, thought you'd laugh at this email exchange with the W&M college prez." Believe me, I'm amused! Thanks for sharing this with us, Brad!

And thanks for pointing out something we both understand.

Very progressive of you to eschew capitalizing your name. How k.d. lang.

On Nov 1, 2006, at 4:53 PM, Gene R. Nichol wrote:

Thanks. William & Mary is a public school. Pepperdine is not. [ed.: highlight mine]

gene nichol

---- Original message ----
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 12:28:53 -0800
From: Brad
Subject: Wren
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]

Dear W&M,

As an undergrad I went to Pepperdine, a school which I think has a few similarities with your own, especially that we had a campus chapel, a rarity nowadays. I can assure you that my heart (and my reasoning mind) would be absolutely sick today if I were to hear that Pep planned to do what you are doing in your chapel.

At first glance no doubt many of us assume that the removal of Christian symbols (THE symbol, even) is to placate Islam and other religions in the news du jour.

The more I think about it, though, the more I suspect the following scenario: get enough progressives to catch the ears of enough politically correct administrators and bureaucrats in our institutions and voila, they can achieve quite literally the ultimate oxymoronic high jinx: remove a cross from a chapel.

So which scenario is correct? Are there really some "Christian" denominations who cannot abide a cross? If so, which? Or are you placating progressive atheists?

If it is the latter, this must be a resounding victory for them. Removing Judeo-Christian references and symbols from hilltops and courthouses pales in comparison!

The million dollar question: will those asking you to do this next ask the local mosque to remove the pesky crescent? Doubtful.

yours very sincerely,
Brad in CA

Mr. Nichol might have a point, if the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation weren't the organization responsible for restoring the Wren Chapel to its 18th-century appearance!. Gene—Shouldn't you be sure that the folks at the Foundation approve of your historical revisionism before you start messing with their building?



#1 Michelle Malkin 29-Oct-2006
The College of William and Mary has decided to make its famous campus chapel less "faith specific" and more "welcoming" by getting rid of the cross on its altar. Administrators huff that they're not tossing the cross aside--just putting it...
#2 john 29-Oct-2006
Disgusting! If you are so ashamed of the Christian fait that you need to hide the cross, Maybe you should just be up-front about it and turn the chapel into a Student's Union building and be done with it. I'm sure you will be very tolerant and display the brilliant work of art "Piss Christ" next in the Chapel to honor "artists".

#3 Paul Pigulski 29-Oct-2006
As an alum, I am deeply disappointed by the decision to remove the Cross from the Wren Chapel. Somehow, I expected more from my Alma Mater than caving in to the cause du juor.
#4 Gene Libbey 29-Oct-2006
The excuse given as to the handling of the cross in the Wren Chapel is one of the weakest I have read. Knowing the history of the Chapel and what it has represented, people going there should respect and honor it. We are a Republic, not a Democracy and you should understand the difference. We (you) do NOT have to bow to every whim or supposed offense that people want to carry.
I see more and more "surrender" from higher education to PC - why is it wrong to stand up for traditional values???????
#5 FLORIDASLIM 29-Oct-2006
#6 Brian Sullivan 29-Oct-2006
If you are ashamed to be Christian, step aside. You're in the wrong place.

This is a shameful repudiation of our religion and history. We should not have to hide what we are. Those who come into our chapel should tolerate our beliefs. I would no more expect a mosque to remove the symbols of their religion than they should expect us to remove ours. The sad thing is that we are denying our own religious symbolism and history at a time when we should be standing proud for who we are.
#7 brian 29-Oct-2006
How dare you throw the cross in the garbage.This is a democracy, not sharia law! The majority wants the cross. You
slowly chip away at americana and you will lose your freedoms and that means you! Stop being so p.c. and do the right thing and pull the cross out of the garbage.
#8 John 29-Oct-2006
Maybe this decision should be carried out to all public buildings. We will dismantle all "Christian" churches and just have "Buildings" and if a group wants to use it as a church or place of worship we can bring out the appropriate religious symbol that could be removed at a moments notice lest some aggreved person see it. Maybe Christians should just go underground with their religious services, that way we wouldn't offend anyone. This obivously would not apply to a Muslim Mosque, as to do so would be discrimatory against Islam.
#9 Howard 29-Oct-2006
I don't see the cross but it still looks like a church. Maybe get rid of the pews, altar and all that 300 year old wood. Oh yeah, paint some color besides santuary white.
#10 Cheryl Shand 29-Oct-2006
How utterly spineless these ridiculous political correctness slaves are. It's another one of thousands of cases of any kind of subject where the minority is imposing their will on the majority and getting away with it, because we allow it. See Bill O'Reilly's book "Culture Warrior" - that is exactly what this is about. Build another building without a cross for those oh-so-sensitive souls who get offended at everything.
#11 Alec Rawls 29-Oct-2006
This is the equivalent to making a gay center on campus remove its pink triangles before others use their facilities. William and Mary is teaching intolerance. Amazing that they can be oblivious to the double standard. Gays on campus regularly hold in-your-face public grope-fests explicitly to force people to tolerate them, and here the school is enforcing the principle that people are not expected to tolerate Christianity even when they enter a church!
#12 rainsford 29-Oct-2006
This is ridiculous. The building was planned, designed, and built as a Christian house of worship. Anyone that that finds the presence of a cross in a Christian church offensive or troublesome can easily go worship
elsewhere. Can you imagine the hullaballo if a campus mosque or temple was asked to make similar"improvements?"
If students would prefer a non-denominational church, then they can petition their school to have one built.
But the Wren Chapel should be left as it is.
#13 Deborah 29-Oct-2006
Political Correctness: Definition: n. 1. The attempt to be everything to everybody. 2. Codependent and people pleasing (See also Sally Field, "You like me, you really like me!") 3. The lack of a spinal column, also see invertabrae.
#14 Ronald S Hoehn 29-Oct-2006
I just wrote this to the school. The administrator who took the way of cowardice should be removed. Only a child would bow to the will of children and not take this as a moment to discuss the importance of this man to our present and future history. No matter ones belief, one should never be ashamed of the symbols that bare witness to the life of another.
Especially when ones school represent the following of that mans life!!

Dear whom ever it may concern,

I just read this article of how your apparent lack of courage and poor judgment has lead you to deny the symbol of the death of a great man and a historical figure who preached to the strengths of mankind and reiterated the belief in an almighty universal power that holds us all together in the common goal of realizing the truth in our lifetime. Your imitation of the denial of Christ by removing the symbol of his martyrdom, an actual historical occurrence, reeks of ignorance and ashamed cowardice.
If a school founded on religion won’t stand on its foundation of Christ’s life and witness to a belief in the power of compassion, faith and courage under the simple ignorance and contempt of children, then perhaps you should find some leaders that more exemplify the life of the man that religion holds as it’s model.

When leaders are so inept as to educate their children as to the reasons of their habits of faith, then perhaps the leaders are inadequate not the faith!!

I am not a Catholic nor am I a man that believes that organized religion makes a man a better follower of his belief in the ultimate power of the universe, but I do know what results from the lack of courage to stand for what one preaches. If one is to believe that the Christ died ( and historically a man name Jesus did) on a cross and you found a religion and a school upon that mans name and the symbols of his untimely suffering and death, then at least have the decency NOT to back down to the uneducated and foolish that mock that belief.

Debate if you will whether all men are the sons of the almighty universal power or a chance occurrence, but do not give way to the fleeting cowardice of ignorance that finds offense in the search for the truth and the symbols of an other's death toward that same search!!

A life that offends no one is a life of no impact!
I encourage you to stand for your origin and not to fold to the child like mind that forces you to a position of denying the Symbols of the death of a man that proved to be worthy of discussion for 2,000 years!!

Sincerely in the faith
Ronald S Hoehn
#15 Tomi 29-Oct-2006
Speaking as an alum...

I cannot even believe this is happening. This is the same administration that is standing up to the NCAA to keep feathers in the W&M logo and keep W&M Tribe as a team name. Does anyone see a disconnect here?

I'm deeply embarrassed for my alma mater.
#16 m 29-Oct-2006
Just sent:

Don't. Please, God, don't do this. It is a church. It is a Christian church. You're erasing history.

People are responding viscerally to this decision. It is like removing the cross from the tombstone of my mother's grave. That would be the end, the absolute end, and it will not happen without my standing in front of the stone to block the effacement. Please do not put people in that position. That is what you are doing. Stop it now.
#17 Peter Zurita 29-Oct-2006
Well Said - The Administrator who made this decision should be sacked, how dare he/she take the cross out of 300 yr old tradition. yes, that chapel was more than brick and mortar. It is tradition and is part of the college. I surely will not be sending my two kids to William & Mary...
#18 Mitchell 29-Oct-2006
Here in N.C., we can tell you all about Gene Nichol. He's the problem.

UNC-CH is so pleased you took him, he's as empty-headed a Leftist P.C. agitator as you'll find anywhere. But we're not pleased you'll have to suffer the gas bag and his antics.

I was in Williamsburg today, ironically enough, enjoying my Mother's 70th birthday with family. I would never have guessed the College would make a move to diminish its heritage in the cradle of the new world, where the modern world essentially started.

I also emailed this W&M contact. I believe that if the Cross is so offensive, then let's just remove it and keep it hidden. That way, we'll know where are beliefs and principles are cherished, and where they are derided.

And we can choose to stay far away from this shameful place of so-called "higher learning."
#19 J.E.Sandor 29-Oct-2006
Who raised questioms about the cross in a christian chapel? As Mr.Nicol says .I can imagine.But do you respond to all questions about how to de-christianize WM?/Terror,cowardice,appeasement goes a long way ro explain certain acts.The root cause of evil unfortunately exists in minds so small that they don't realize what they are doing.But at least:"have you not shame"?The excuse of "other uses" is very thin,Why should anybody be offended by a christian cross.Are you Mr.nicol? You as mant other people fail to understand that "tolerance" is a two way street.As George Santayana said:"those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" STEVE
#20 Windycorner 29-Oct-2006
Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father sho is in heaven.
Matthew 10:32-33
#21 least 30-Oct-2006
Throughout history, one of the first things a conquering force would do would be to makeover existing religious structures for their *own* religion's use.

The religion of political correctness is conquering the world.

Offend islam and you'll get seething, raging and rioting most of the time. I'm pretty certain that this type of action, if taken against a mosque, would result in the aformentioned behavior.

Offend Christianity and you _might_ get some nasty notes, e-mails and voice-mails.

Lastly, in reference to comment #8: I would suggest yellow.
#22 B. 30-Oct-2006
Maybe you haven't heard:

Rather than fight a very winnable battle to retain the feathers for the Tribe mascot, Gene Nichol capitulated. Henceforth, feathers will not be displayed by W&M in deference to the NCAA bullies. The news announcement was emailed to alums about three weeks ago. Hark upon the gale!
#23 Paul Goertz 30-Oct-2006
There is a way to fight back against this anti-christ anti-religious and anti-christmas behavior. Look to to see the rally held in Seattle to combat this stripping the country of our culture and heritage. VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!
This William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol president is spineless and needs to wake up and read what happened in Germany in the 30's. Paul Goertz
#24 Mitchell 30-Oct-2006
Mr. Nichols looks a bit like Chris Farley in "Tommy Boy," doesn't he?
#25 abundant blessings 30-Oct-2006
This is so unbelievable and hideous that it is hard to even comprehend. It is very sad, indeed. God have mercy on us as a society.
#26 Beach Girl 20-Nov-2006
Found your site through Michelle Malkin. I think perhaps it is time for prez nichol to be retired so that the Wren Cross will have company.

Seriously, I am posting on this as well. The efforts to return the Wren Cross must continue until the Wren Cross has been returned.

This is more than revisionism, it is more than sad - it is an attack on Christianity and it is an attack on us individually, it is a slap in the face to us. prez nichol has spit in the Face of God. Call me a radical, give me a moonbat of the week award - Chickenlittle Nichol must go - let him desecrate other places that will have him but he is not fit to hold the position of president at The College of William and Mary. I am a graduate of The College as we called it and nichol's actions are the highest form of loathing for our nation and our heritage.

I thought better of the Board of Visitors - I see I have been wrong.
#27 nlhartley 25-Feb-2007
Top National Universities Have Chapels
And Display Crosses

William and Mary and the Display of the Wren Cross Found to be in
The Excellent Company of Colonial Colleges and Ivy League Universities

The Path to Being Great and Diverse is Lined with the Display of a Cross in University Chapels

A survey of the top universities, their chapels, the display of a cross and racial diversity demonstrates that the majority of top schools have chapels that display crosses and most have achieved much greater diversity than William & Mary. After examining 133 top colleges and universities, there is no correlation to the goal of diversity and the display of a cross in a chapel. Rather, the majority of top schools and 8 out of 9 Colonial Colleges have chapels and display crosses.

In an effort to bring pure facts to light, on the issue of the Wren Chapel at the College of William and Mary and the display of the Wren Cross therein, a survey of American universities, their chapels (as applicable), and displays of the cross in such chapels (as applicable) was conducted over the past two weeks. In addition, these universities were also surveyed for “diversity” , to determine whether there is a correlation between diversity levels and the display of a cross in a university chapel.

Data was collected on colleges and universities from several viewpoints:

1. “Top National Universities” – as listed by the U.S. News & World Report, America’s Best Colleges 2007 (the top 34 are considered).
2. “Colonial Colleges” - the most pure peer group of William and Mary;
3. “Peer Schools” – as listed by Princeton Review as peer schools of William and Mary.
4. “Top State Universities” -- all state universities were examined that were listed in the U.S. News & World Report’s Top National Universities, America’s Best Colleges 2007.

The results are summarized in the analysis below.

Summary of Survey Results
Group Selection and Number Chapel Cross <
Diversity Similar Diversity > Diversity
9 Colonial Colleges 8 8 8 n/a n/a
34 Top Universities 26 20 23 9 2
21 Peer Schools 20 16 5 8 8
69 Top Public Universities 28 19 39 13 18
Less Diverse 81%+ White
More Diverse <70% White
Comparably Diverse 71%-80% White

Of the 9 Colonial Colleges, 8 have chapels. Of these 8 schools, 8 display crosses. For purposes of this analysis, the College of William and Mary was included in the list of 8. Most of these crosses are removable or capable of being shielded by drawing a curtain, upon request. The eight Colonial Colleges are Harvard College, William and Mary, Yale University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Columbia University, Brown University and Dartmouth College. All of the other Colonial Colleges have measurably greater diversity than William and Mary. 8 of the Colonial Colleges were founded upon Protestant religious roots. None would have likely originally displayed crosses, due to their reformation roots and anti-papist foundations. Some of them have chapels that are not original, including Harvard and Rutgers. Yet, they do not have a compelling need to secularize their newer chapels or remove crosses that have become over time the fabric of their rich and diverse communities. Rutgers Kirkpatrick Chapel was built in 1873. Harvard’s Memorial Chapel was built in 1932. They have not needed to deny their Christian roots, closet their crosses, or reconfigure their chapels into secular rooms. All of these Colonial Colleges demonstrate reverent historic respect for their traditions while welcoming a vast variety of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

The other three groups, Top National Universities, Peer Schools and Top National Public Universities are summarized here. The chapel cross display policy is, in most cases, that the cross is removable upon request. Most are used for secular events in addition to being chapels. This represents their tolerance for interfaith worship, college activities and secular events. The Universities that display crosses in their chapels do not demonstrably believe that the mere tolerant policy of hosting or permitting secular events in such spaces is in conflict to the core purpose of such spaces, i.e., a chapel. In other words, just because these Top National Universities are tolerant of secular events, they do not demonstrably believe that the positive value of “tolerance” encompasses the idea that they need to erase or dilute the religious origins of their universities or the fact that a chapel is a chapel. 5 of these Top Public Universities were originally private. Of these five, 4 have chapels and 3 display crosses. Three schools have achieved greater diversity and one has less diversity than William and Mary. William and Mary’s rich history includes today’s status of a “public institution” magically blended with its pre-colonial, colonial and historic “private institution” past. William and Mary is a hybrid, which most “public institutions” are not.


Among the Top National Universities, the Colonial Colleges, the Peer Schools, and the Top State Universities, there is not a relationship BETWEEN the welcoming of greater student body diversity and the holding of secular events in a chapel, AND any type of recognized need to remove crosses from chapels or changing the purpose of a chapel.

In removing the Wren Cross from Wren Chapel, William and Mary is indeed charting a course altogether at odds with the practice of most American universities.

Please visit the website:
#28 David M 13-Feb-2008
What is wrong with you people? College of William and Mary is a publicly funded entity. Don't you dare use my tax dollars to fund your religious propaganda and lies.
#29 Brian C. Ledbetter 13-Feb-2008
David M,

A brief public service announcement for ya:

More reading, less trolling.[/center]

That is all.

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