A tale of two bigots

Posted: Jan 12, 2007 12:01 AM

President Gene Nichol recently decided to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel altar at William and Mary. It is but one reason why the incurably Christ-o-phobic administrator should be removed from his position at the prestigious institution of higher learning. Another reason is the secretive fashion in which he made the decision – one that was free from the input of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

During the Great Depression, Bruton Parish Church gave its 2-foot tall gold altar cross to William and Mary. It was supposed to be displayed behind the Wren Chapel altar. When Gene Nichol was inaugurated as the 26th President of the College of William & Mary it was still on display.

But, then, in October of 2006 an administrator at William & Mary sent an email to Wren Building volunteer student tour guides. The brief email noted that the cross had been removed. Later that month, President Nichol confirmed his cross removal order in an email message to all students.

The following month, Nichol reiterated his reasons for directing the cross to be stored away and put on display only during appropriate religious services. Then, just a few days before Christmas, Nichol announced he was amending his decision – urging that the cross be displayed on Sundays only. This would mean that the Cross would remain hidden in a storage room six days of the week. In an effort to cover his backside, Nichol commissioned a plaque to be placed in the Chapel mentioning the space's Christian and Anglican history.

Prior to President Nichol’s arrival, a policy was already in place that helped solve any problem that the display of the Cross might cause for any group or individual using the Wren Chapel. They would simply ask that the Wren Cross be removed for the duration of their event. In fact, over the course of the year preceding the order, about 15 to 20% of wedding celebrations occurred in the Chapel with the Wren Cross removed.

Although websites like www.SaveTheWrenCross.org have done a good job of exposing the history of the current controversy, some facts have been omitted. These accounts have incorrectly suggested that President Nichol has acted alone out of some individual animosity towards Christianity. That is unfair because it fails to mention the probable role of his wife Glenn George, a professor at William and Mary School of Law.

Glenn George was named as University Counsel at UNC-Chapel Hill on December 7th, 2002. Just three days later, a Jihad was launched against religious organizations at that school. Thirteen letters were written to religious groups - twelve to Christian groups – threatening to de-fund them and kick them off campus.

These threats were issued because the groups did not allow membership and voting privileges to students hostile to their religious views. There was also a mandate that the groups adopt policies that allow all students to hold office in the religious groups they oppose.

The policy was so absurd that it should not have required a lawsuit to correct. But it did.

After a religious group filed suit, a federal judge issued an injunction against UNC that caused the policy to be amended. Eventually, Glenn George and her husband Gene Nichols – then the Dean of UNC School of Law – moved on to William and Mary. And they took their penchant for harassing Christians with them.

So, remember to sign the petition urging Nichol’s Christ-o-phobic policy to be fully overturned. Then, hopefully, another petition will be initiated with the goal of firing both Gene Nichols and his wife. They, not the Cross of Christ, are the offensive symbols that need to be removed from the campus of William and Mary.