When the President of the wonderful and venerable small university where Jefferson was educated decided that a cross in William and Mary's chapel was "offensive to some" - or whatever gibberish ACLU types typically use to erase signs of faith from daily life - I felt two things: sickened and angry.
Also, confused. What person, of any religion or lack thereof, would be offended by a symbol of God's sacrificial love for mankind? That is an odd concept by which to be offended but, in general, the notion of desecrating another person's place of worship would never even occur to me.
And I wondered why it affected me so strongly, when I usually take such nonsense in stride.
It didn't make me feel badly for Christ: He and His followers have encountered hostility and persecution since he began His ministry, and He does not need my comfort or pity.
It didn't make me feel too badly for other Christians, especially those at W&M, because Christians have become accustomed to, if not resigned to, living with intolerance from the Left - and to resisting that intolerance when they can.
I think I felt angry that an agenda-driven person would try to erase a piece of the College's history. It doesn't matter what the excuse is; it's still the same thing that the Commies did in Russia. It's like a lie. Nothing to do with religion, really. As a pattern, the dismissal of tradition is a foolish and dangerous thing with unknowable consequences.
And I think I felt ill that a college president - presumably but not necessarily a high-minded person - would have the hubris to strike down a symbol of God's presence. We do not need a chapel in which to pray, nor do we need a cross to focus on Christ's sacrificial love, but these material things are tools, aids, to reverence and prayer, and as such are sacred - if anything is sacred anymore.
Yes, that is what made me feel ill; it is a personal violation, like the time I was mugged with a gun in my stomach in NYC many years ago. Civilized folks do not do that to each other. It is that indifference to others - including to me - that sickens me and always takes me by surprise. (Hostility disguised as "tolerance"? That isn't very subtle.)
Now the deal is that the Wren Cross will reside in a glass case with a plaque, like a museum artifact, or like Lenin in his glass coffin. Like a dead cross, buried in a tomb. But Easter is coming, when the glory of the Resurrection and the offer of salvation will no doubt touch even a college president in some small way. A glory that will shine forth through any attempted entombment or confinement to illuminate the world, and light a little lamp in any soul which is receptive to that light.
No human can extinguish that Easter light. My pastor would advise us to pray for the president of W&M - to pray that his heart be softened. My friends would say "Stand up for Jesus" - and pray for the W&M prez too.
Other thoughts: Protein Wisdom, Powerline, and Powerline again.
Image: Botticelli's Mystic Crucifixion