Walker: An insulting prank and hypocritical response

‘ROFL.” A simple acronym, used on an Internet forum or in response to a hilarious story. But on top of a cross, it is nothing less than sacrilegious. Yesterday, on Cross Campus, someone replaced the iconic INRI of Easter with those four letters — they cruelly and offensively maligned a significant part of our community, even worse given the proximity of Easter. I know that I was not alone in the repulsion I felt. I was not the only student filled with a sense of injustice, shocked that anyone felt it acceptable to so blatantly mock another’s beliefs. And, as I stood stunned for a moment in disbelief, others passed by with the same consternation splashed across their faces.

One of the saddest aspects of the prank was that it was entirely inimical to all that Yale represents. As a university that strives for diversity in every sense of the word, we aim to foster and cultivate an open and inclusive environment. From the day we step foot on campus, we are taught to be tolerant, to be accepting, and most importantly, to understand differences. But incidents such as these accentuate the limits of our tolerance education. Not once during my freshman orientation was derision towards Christianity deemed unacceptable, but it was forcefully impressed upon us that we should disavow all antipathy to Islam, homophobia, sexism and xenophobia. We are a campus that responds aggressively to most forms of discrimination, but this kind of disrespect was ignored. At an institution like this, we are taught daily about the world the panorama of human experience, with the goal of expanding our minds, ostensibly to edify the future leaders of society. How can we, as a university, ignore the ignorance and disrespect in our midst?

Just two days prior to the incident, I had the opportunity to enjoy my first Passover Seder and observed a culture and religion that was completely foreign to my own. I found it neither oppressive nor offensive, but saw it as it truly was: an expression of faith by a community that sincerely believed in the God of their ancestors. Is it naive to expect the same of others? Is it folly to anticipate that all people — Yalies included — would act in a similar manner and appreciate a religion with which they might not agree, but at least respect? It seems I have been mistaken.

If it were Ramadan and someone displayed a blasphemous picture of Mohammad, the university would be up in arms. Professors would decry the latent antagonism that Americans hold towards Muslims — Mary Miller’s expected email condemning the action would be in our inboxes right now. But somehow, I do not think that this will happen. The most disheartening thing is that nothing will be done. No one will contact the government and argue that Yale is creating an environment that violates the fundamental religious rights of its students. No one in the Dean’s Office will erect a committee to address the problem. Nobody will utter a word in condemnation. For at Yale, it seems that the only rights worth defending belong to women and sexual and ethnic minorities. And all others are cast aside.

Jordon Walker is a sophomore in Calhoun College.

Comments

  • grumpyalum

    Yes, because they already have the power to enforce themselves upon the world.

    Yes, we should get up in arms when the disempowered are further attacked. I have no such need for those already who have powers. That’s why we’re fundamentally okay with people mocking Yale; we’re powerful.

    Seriously, it’s not that hard. We should treat things based on their context, not some false equivalence. I’m sure the Christians can take it – the Western world, the inability for someone of a different religion to get true political power – I’m sure they are hurt by a little mockery.

  • GSAS11

    Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

  • The Anti-Yale

    ” I was not the only student filled with a sense of injustice, shocked that anyone felt it acceptable to so blatantly mock another’s beliefs.”

    Ironically, “blatantly mock another’s belief” is EXACTLY what Pontius Pilate was doing by placing INRI on the cross of Joshua ben Joseph (i.e. Jesus)

    Wikipedia:
    INRI is an acronym of the Latin inscription IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum), which translates to English as “Jesus the Nazarene (Galilean), King of the Jews (Judeans)”.

    The Greek equivalent of this phrase, Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων (Iesous ho Nazoraios ho Basileus ton Ioudaion), appears in the New Testament of the Christian Bible in the Gospel of John (19:19).

    Each of the other accounts of Jesus’ death has a slightly different version for the inscription on Jesus’ cross: Matthew (27:37), “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews”; Mark (15:26), “The King of the Jews”; and Luke (23:38), “This is the King of the Jews.” John and Luke state it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, while Matthew and Mark describe it as the charge for crucifying Jesus.

    Luke states that it was a statement hung above Jesus’s head. Since John’s form is the most complete it is the one that is usually found on depictions of the Crucifixion of Jesus.

    In the Gospel of John (19:19-20), the inscription is explained:

    And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (King James Version)

    According to all four Gospels, Pilate challenged Jesus to deny that he was the “King of the Jews” and Jesus did not deny the accusation.[1]

  • Jaymin

    I agree the ROFL thing was simply incendiary, unproductive, and shouldn’t have happened – but I take issue with the overall tone of Jordan’s piece.

    1) “I know that I was not alone in the repulsion I felt. I was not the only student filled with a sense of injustice, shocked that anyone felt it acceptable to so blatantly mock another’s beliefs.”

    Why shouldn’t we be able to mock others beliefs. Generally, when one believes an idea to be silly, he mocks it. Why should religion be protected from such scrutiny, especially given the scope of claims that it makes.

    2) I understand why you’re annoyed at the inconsistencies in our response to these sorts of incidents, but I’m not sure if playing the “Christian victim” card really works, especially given then context of Christianity’s dominance in this country.

  • paris

    How ironic that all of the comments so far support Jordan Walker’s thesis: people are OK with mocking and attacking Christianity. Thank you , Jordan, for speaking for those of us who are sick and tired of being the only religion that is not protected from the kind of ignorant attack displayed by the person who thought it funny to put ROFL on a sacred symbol during Holy Week. And shame on Yale for not condemning the action. You are correct; if somewhat had attacked Islam, there would have been an uproar.

  • Jaymin

    @paris

    Again, why does an attack on Christianity have to be rooted in “ignorance”? What if it’s a sincere display of disagreement? I concur that vandalizing property isn’t legitimate protest, but you seem to be implying that all protest on religion is ignorant.

  • james1

    Everyone, including the author of this column and whoever put up the cross, has a right to express their opinions.
    And perhaps Christianity is the dominant religion in the country, but how many practicing Christians do you see on this campus? There may be fewer than you think. I know that I am often derided by my friends in my residential college for faithfully pursuing my beliefs. Don’t I also have the right to be respected by my peers?

  • alsoanon

    I’m not defending what was clearly a distasteful prank, but come on — you can’t really compare this to Islamophobia. Students are clearly made aware of the need to respect Islam (and the other examples you gave — anti-Christian sentiment is similar to homophobia? Really?) because we live in a culture where Islam is a regularly marginalized religion. No matter what the numbers of actively practicing Christians on Yale’s campus may be, you can’t play the “Christians are persecuted in America” card, because it simply isn’t true. Next thing you know we’ll all be reading an editorial about the “War on Christmas.” Quite simply, as a Christian in America, your rights are not threatened in the least, and that’s why no one is up in arms about this.

  • migly

    I think it is a tasteless prank, I would expect more creativity from Yalies, but I am often disappointed by their high school antics. Going more for Shock than spurring discussion. Those who practive Christianity would turn the other cheek and forgive those who trespass against them. Which is why you don’t often see outrage for these sorts of things. Now if they had depicted the easter bunny on a cross with the words PETA over it, then we’d have some dialogue and outrage.

  • InterestedInBiology

    It’s kind of pathetic that you really thought the best way to write this column deriding a legitimately offensive prank was to complain that your (majority) religious community was sooooo much more persecuted than everybody else’s. Classless.

  • james1

    Migly is right–I responded first as a Yale student, where I should have responded first as a Christian. It’s just as Migly said–the response should simply be: we’ve been slapped, and now it’s time to turn the other cheek.

  • lightandtruth

    “Just two days prior to the incident, I had the opportunity to enjoy my first Passover Seder and observed a culture and religion that was completely foreign to my own. I found it neither oppressive nor offensive, but saw it as it truly was: an expression of faith by a community that sincerely believed in the God of their ancestors”. Completely foreign? Considering Mary was a Jewish mother and Jesus was a Jew and the last supper was a Passover Seder I am wondering who you think you have been praying to all these years?

  • joe29sb

    @lightandtruth. So true. Mad props.

  • b12

    “But on top of a cross, it is nothing less than sacrilegious.”

    “If it were Ramadan and someone displayed a blasphemous picture of Mohammad, the university would be up in arms.”

    Something can only be sacrilegious or blasphemous if you adhere to a belief system that deems it as such. Neither a ROFL on top of a cross nor a picture of Mohammad (of any variety) would be sacrilegious or blasphemous for me.

    We must remember that each religion mandates a different set of norms, and those who are not of a religion are not obligated to conform to the standards of any or all religions.

  • smartypants79

    Some of you are missing the point to a degree that is ridiculous.
    People do discriminate against Christians in America. Maybe not in certain parts of the country, but at Yale, at Harvard, yes, they do.

    Also, the argument that Christianity is the majority religion in America so it must take any and all insults is absurd when what we’re really talking about is respect for other people’s religions. Religious tolerance is a total sham unless it’s applied to ALL faiths.

  • grumpyalum

    @smartypants79 – When you can point out the actual mass oppression of Christians on campus, besides a little mockery, let me know. Additionally, if four years as not the supra-majority makes them feel bad, tough.

    The problem with the liberal cause in the 20th century was that it universalized everything and made us treat similar things in different context similarly, rather than depending on that context. The leftist response in the 21st shouldn’t make that mistake.

  • veggiesattva

    It’s tough out there for a straight white (I’m assuming) Christian male, isn’t it? So much oppression.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Interesting conundrum about freedom of expression; If we want Yale Press to publish prophet-satire cartoons, then we should certainly defend a satire of Christianity.

    Or is ROFL actually a satire? Perhaps it is hyperbole. Isn’t it merely a modern rendering of Pontius Pilate’s mockery in nailing INRI (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Judeans) to Jesus’ cross when Jesus refused to confirm Pilate’s accusation that Jesus claimed to be King of the Judeans?

    And doesn’t it call attention to the fact that Pope Benedict recently apologized for 2000 years of Christian-inspired anti-semitism based on the mis-impression that Judas’ behavior “killed” the Christians’ God? (BTW Both Judas and Jesus were Jewish. Christianity was invented half a century —-if not more—after the death of Jesus.)

    Perhaps this discussion of facts and fiction is EXACTLY what the ROFL designers intended.

  • Chicagoan

    Do not deface other peoples’ sacred objects. There are appropriate and productive ways to challenge a belief system. This isn’t one. I can’t believe that there’s room for discussion peripheral to that central point.

  • Undergrad

    It’s not really the idea that someone decided to mock Christianity that’s the problem. Putting ROFL on a cross implies that Jesus’ death was funny, which is especially offensive two days before Good Friday, making this prank particularly offensive and harrassing. Even from a secular perspective, this should be offensive–there is nothing funny about someone being tortured, nailed to a cross, and left to die, no matter who it is. By making fun not just of Christianity in general, but of Jesus’ suffering and death in particular, this constituted an act of harassment against Yale’s Christians.

  • Y_2011

    It’s true that Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States, but Christians at Yale do not occupy a privileged place so it’s ridiculous to claim we’re not supposed to be offended. There are strong strains of anti-Christian sentiment which people are more comfortable expressing overtly than general anti-religious sentiment. My freshman year roommate claim that because of my membership in a mainline, liberal congregation in New Haven, I was morally responsible for the crusades and the oppression of native peoples by missionaries during colonialism, and that I was doing more harm than good for society by participating in a church community 0.o Did I mention that this happened while I was trying to study for a test in couple of hours?

    I find that it is other religious students, be they Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, Protestant or Catholic that understand the need for respect. Students from secular backgrounds, however, don’t always realize how hurtful and harmful their words and actions can be. I agree with those who have called for greater awareness of the importance of tolerance of other cultures and religions.

    If you want to discuss theological and ethical issues, there are places to do so. Doing something that is simply offensive, but doesn’t add anything to the discussion is just plain stupid.

  • graduate_student

    I doubt that whoever committed this act, however tasteless, was “anti-Christian.” There is no reason to be anti-Christian unless one is an anti-religious atheist or an anti-Christian of some other religion. The latter scenario is highly unlikely; in the case of the former scenario, an anti-religious atheist, being anti-Christian is an extension of being anti-religious. While the act appears blasphemous and anti-Christian to the Christian community, it obviously is not meant as a particularly anti-*Christian* act. The griping then boils down to this: “Anti-religious atheists are targeting Christians more often than they are x, y, and z.” It is a strange argument — is one to presume that atheists should be careful to mock everybody equally?

    A more intelligent article would have addressed relations between the atheist community and the religious community at large, rather than making it about a special kind of Christian persecution. Nobody is being thrown to the lions. In the U.S. and at Yale, the Christian persecution complex stretches a bit thin.

  • alsoanon

    “I find that it is other religious students, be they Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, Protestant or Catholic that understand the need for respect. Students from secular backgrounds, however, don’t always realize how hurtful and harmful their words and actions can be.”

    Maybe someone should have mentioned this to the Christian group at Yale that invited the “ex-gay” pastor and deeply offended so many of Yale’s LGBTQ students and allies, secular and religious alike.

  • 201Y1

    @Jaymin: I think you’re right, overall, that not all disagreement is necessarily rooted in ignorance. There’s plenty of legitimate beef to be had with Christianity. I think the author’s point, however, is that although you toe this line now, you wouldn’t be cutting the perps the same kind of slack were this a mockery of just about any other non-majority religion. There is a double standard, and we should all be more consistent. Either take offense to all, or take offense to none.

  • sacul

    @Anti-Yale: I completely agree with your point about ROFL functioning as hyperbole.

    There is a fine line between mockery and provocative art. In this case, I would encourage offended Christians to read the display as the latter, particularly because blasphemy is built *into* the Passion story itself. The point of the Crucifixion is that it represents God taking an emblem of mockery and inverting its meaning, so that it becomes a symbol of triumph.

    In other words, God has the last laugh. Or, as they say in Internet parlance, God is ROFL.

  • grumpyalum

    @201Y1 No, that’s silly. I’m going to take offense when someone uses a position of power to hammer down and mock those that are disempowered.

    I don’t quite care if you mock the powerful. In America, Christianity is powerful. Islam is not. I treaty things in different context differently, even if the concept itself is in a similar category without the consideration of context.

    I’m not suggesting Christian shouldn’t be annoyed – I’m stating that they shouldn’t expect any support from those that act in the public sphere to prevent attacks on those with less power.

  • migly

    The comments are amusing. Part of the problem with religous beliefs is that they are beliefs. Those who do not share them, tend to find it illogical and ‘attack” those beliefs. If you prefer we can call it debate those beliefs. I don’t think religon is that far fetched that we can’t be respectful of others beliefs. Call them traditions if that makes you more readily accept them. People do all sorts of things that make no sense. Women date aholes and Yalies play qudditch. If you believe the current literature, there are a lot of evolutionary and biological explanations for the things we do that seem perplexing at times. I think we are hard wired to believe in something. Some choose to believe in a higher power, others in themselves, some in nothing. Just because you don’t understand a person’s beliefs doesn’t mean you can’t respect them.

  • tedmosby

    @veggiesattva

    Mr. Walker is most certainly not white. I like that (1) you think you’re entitled to just assume that he is, and (2) if he were white, it would render his perspective less valid.

  • MohawkMonk87

    “One of the saddest aspects of the prank was that it was entirely inimical to all that Yale represents. As a university that strives for diversity in every sense of the word, we aim to foster and cultivate an open and inclusive environment.”

    This is what the University would like you to think. What it actually does however is take America’s marginalized and/or minorities from all aspects of life whether it be race (read affirmative action), religion (Muslims, Jews, Athiests, lets be clear here basically anything goes as long as you are not an Evangelical or a practicing Catholic), sex/gender (LGBT + whatever other letters I forgot); bunches them together in one place (to make them a majority), and indoctrinates them to persecute anything too morally, religiously, or politically mainstream and calls it diversity. Hence why Mr. ROFL could have probably spat upon said cross as well and been appluaded for exercizing his free speech.

    Sometime soon Yale, the country WILL wake up and and realize what you and your Ivy-siblings have come to stand for. Your prestige, God-willing, shall collapse as mainstream, Christian, America discovers that though you present yourself as a nexus for the next generation of political and academic leaders, you teach them dogmas incompatible with the peasants you would have them lead.

  • pierson2014frosh

    @alsoanon

    While the issue of inviting Yuan to Yale has sparked a lot of controversy, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to live their religious experience whatever way they want to. As a member of the LGBT community at Yale, and as a religious and spiritual man, I can tell you that I went through great pains to compromise my religion with my sexuality, and to accept that G-d loves whether I’m gay or not. Yet, I believe that Yuan is completely entitled to hold a different opinion. While both of us might profess similar faiths, I respect his biblical interpretation of homosexuality, even if I do not agree with it at all.
    What happened yesterday is a violation of every students’ right to practice an open religious life. Just as Yale is a great place to be openly gay (homophobic comments are not tolerated in any social circle), it should also be a great place to be openly religious, regardless of faith.
    I was shocked and appalled when I found out about the burning of the LGBT Pride Month poster a couple of weeks ago. I am equally shocked and appalled at what happened yesterday. While LGBT students celebrate their pride and culture during Pride Month, Christians on campus celebrate the core of their faith (the resurrection of Jesus Christ) during Easter.

    All students, religious or not, should strongly defend their right to practice (and to not practice) religion in an open environment. I completely agree with Walker, and am disappointed at the lack of respect that some members of this campus community show for students who decide to openly profess their faith. For those of us who are religious and who were hurt by this, especially prior to the beginning of the Triduum, let’s practice our love for G-d with deep devotion, love, and, most of all, peace.

  • alsoanon

    @piersonfrosh — you may not have been insulted by Yuan’s invitation, but a lot of people were. basically i’m just saying that it’s totally ignorant to imply that religious people are far more likely than non-religious people to be compassionate towards others.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Pontius Pilate was Rolling on the Floor Laughing (ROFL) at this guy who wouldn’t deny that he claimed to be King of the Judeans ; so, he let him be nailed to a cross with that title over his head: INRI (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Judeans)

    This YDN posting-debate has been EXACTLY what the Jesus of the Bible (as opposed to the Joshua ben Joseph of history) asks of himself and of his followers : Sacrificial suffering.

    A Perfect Easter Evocation.

  • MohawkMonk87

    @ Anti-Yale (though for the life of me I cant figure out why you use such a name PK, you seem to fit into the Uni’s mentality just fine from what I’ve read of your posts)

    “Pontius Pilate was Rolling on the Floor Laughing (ROFL) at this guy who wouldn’t deny that he claimed to be King of the Judeans ; so, he let him be nailed to a cross with that title over his head: INRI (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Judeans)”

    Because this is precisely what was intended by whoever changed the letters.

    “This YDN posting-debate has been EXACTLY what the Jesus of the Bible (as opposed to the Joshua ben Joseph of history) asks of himself and of his followers : Sacrificial suffering.”

    I seem to recall the same Jesus calling out the established powers on their hypocrisy every now and then, which seems to be the primary motive behind this article.

    Are you really under the impression however, PK, that any attempt for a Christian to see grievances relating to inequal treatment addressed runs contrary to the “sacrificial suffering” of Jesus? I guess we should go ahead and sack all those social justice projects our school and its students seem so enamored with (I wouldn’t actually mind this, im just saying the average YDS’er is much louder about his/her particular cause than Mr. Walker has been, who would simply like to see his religious symbol stop being defaced). Im sure in your time here you had your pet projects here too, were you being unChristlike by objecting to what you saw as unjust?

  • The Anti-Yale

    “Because this is precisely what was intended by whoever changed the letters.”

    Unposited referent: To what does the “this” (in the sentence) above refer?

    As to sacrificial ministry: I believe that the Jesus of the Bible (as opposed to Schweitzer’s unverifiable Jesus of “History”) would ask his followers to turn the other cheek.

  • graduate_student

    >What it actually does however is take America’s marginalized and/or minorities from all aspects of life whether it be race (read affirmative action), religion (Muslims, Jews, Athiests, lets be clear here basically anything goes as long as you are not an Evangelical or a practicing Catholic), sex/gender (LGBT + whatever other letters I forgot); bunches them together in one place (to make them a majority)

    ROFL.

  • sep092

    Jordon is absolutely correct.

    If this had been a mockery of a Jewish or Muslim symbol, the campus would be up in arms and Dean Miller would form a dialogue about “tolerance.”

    In fact, when a poster advertising an LGBTQ event was burned on Old Campus earlier this month, the YDN devoted a feature article to it, and Master Chun said it was the saddest thing that had happened in his time with Berkeley (a time which also included the suicide of one of his students).

    There is no substantial difference in intent or hurtfulness between the above incident and the creation of an anti-Christian poster.

    Yale is hypocritical in its discussions of ‘tolerance’; they only truly want us to tolerate minority opinions. It is hard to be a Christian on this campus, and the utter and disappointing lack of response to this incident by the administration (nobody’s received any emails, it wasn’t even in cross campus) shows the double standard. Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, etc: all completely unacceptable. Anti-Christianity?: ‘enlightened’ and ‘progressive.’

    If burning an LGBTQ poster is a hate crime, so is this. Yale should respect its Christian students enough to speak out about this event as well.

  • sep092

    btw, tedmosby, thank you for this comment!

    @veggiesattva
    Mr. Walker is most certainly not white. I like that (1) you think you’re entitled to just assume that he is, and (2) if he were white, it would render his perspective less valid.

    For what it’s worth, veggiesattva & co., I’m not white either. Although if you are truly as ‘tolerant’ as you claim most of campus is, you shouldn’t really care what my race is.

  • penny_lane

    The prank is clearly tasteless and insensitive…but the words you’re using? “Injustice”? “…environment that violates the fundamental religious rights of its students”? They don’t apply. The groups whose varying degrees of protection you envy are groups who have to deal with threats of violence and insults that are inherently violent. The Title IX complaint was filed because many women feel that Yale’s standards for protecting their personal safety are sub-par. Please, write in again when bands of atheists march across old campus chanting about violence towards Christians. When that day comes, I will be behind you and call for your protection. Until then, just learn to accept that there are tasteless and ignorant individuals in the world, and that there always will be.

    See also this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20M9ywn7Zgs&feature=player_embedded

  • Ross_D

    ” I was not the only student filled with a sense of injustice, shocked that anyone felt it acceptable to so blatantly mock another’s beliefs.”

    …what exactly is it that happens to those who express conservative views on campus…?

  • The Anti-Yale

    MohawkMonk87:

    “@ Anti-Yale (though for the life of me I cant figure out why you use such a name PK”

    Try the source: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com

    :>)

    PK

  • Goldie08

    I’m not christian, but the comments on this article (some written with such…anger) would make me feel somewhat unsafe on campus if I was. Is this really Yale? These comments baffle my mind and kind of support the author’s claim. Just…weird.

    I just really can not believe the double standard I’m seeing – and people are openly defending it right here in the comments! Boggles the mind.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “Putting ROFL on a cross implies that Jesus’ death was funny, which is especially offensive two days before Good Friday’

    IMPLIES? No—”funny” is what you INFER.

    Putting ROFL on a cross could equally imply that Pontius Pilate’s putting INRI on the ORIGINAL cross was “Funny”. It could actually support the seriousness of Good Friday, not undercut it.

    A Jewish friend of mine told me that her mother always warned her to “tread lightly around Christians at Easter.”

    I see a predisposition to self-crucifixion in some of the preceding posts.

  • sacul

    Anti-Yale in some ways you are too intelligent for this forum… it’s sad, but once again, the open secret of Christianity will go overlooked, as it has for 2000 years.

    It is we who have prettified, whitewashed, and scrubbed clean the cross who have committed the ultimate blasphemy. We, who have taken a symbol planted in the heart of Roman cruelty, mockery, and sadism, and turned it into a neck ornament.

    As for the “ROFL” cross, it’s probably the most deeply Christian depiction of the Crucifixion that you’ll see on campus this weekend.

  • sacul

    One more thing, viz. this and any other work of art: consequence matters way more than intent.

    No matter what the motivation of the person who put up the cross, the consequence was that s/he ended up retelling the Gospel story.

  • InterestedInBiology

    Somebody drew a SWASTIKA on a Yale Dems poster yesterday. A freaking SWASTIKA – that’s a lot more of a threat than an internet acronym. And yet I don’t hear the Dems whining about how persecuted they are or how it’s so much harder to be a Democrat than a Republican.

  • Undergrad

    It’s certainly possible that this was an ironic reference to the sarcasm in Pilate’s original inscription, but they’d have had to be a real idiot not to think it would offend people. The idea that the prank was mocking the crucifixion itself came to mind much more quickly.

    We must remember that a crucifix is an instrument of torture and execution. What if someone put ROFL next to a picture of a gallows, a lethal injection gurney, or a gas chamber?

  • sacul

    @Undergrad:
    “What if someone put ROFL next to a picture of a gallows, a lethal injection gurney, or a gas chamber?”

    Perhaps they have gone insane with laughter at the inhumanity that we inflict on each other. In which case I sympathize completely.

  • graduate_student

    Jews were persecuted by Christians up until the twentieth century. Some fundamentalists Christians still blame the Jews for the death of Jesus. Just some months ago, prominent Republicans in Texas were arguing that their speaker of the house (also a Republican) was not fit to serve because he was Jewish, not Christian.

    Muslims in the United States are asked by these same Christians to prove that they are not terrorists, and continually have their loyalty to their own country come under question. Many churches in the U.S. preach intolerance against Muslims and burn their holy book.

    The so-called “discrimination against” or “persecution of” Christians in the United States is trivial in comparison. All forms of discrimination must be condemned, but comparing mockery of Christianity to the outright hatred demonstrated on a daily basis towards non-Christians in the U.S. is a form of discrimination in and of itself.

  • 11

    Sepo, you say that “There is no substantial difference in intent or hurtfulness between the above incident [burning a LGBT informational poster] and the creation of an anti-Christian poster.”

    Let’s compare apples to apples here, because I think there’s a big difference. Which is worse, this ROFL incident, or burning a cross on cross campus? I think the difference between parody and arson/intimidation is pretty clear.

    Also, are you really suggesting that Master Chun thinks this incident is more sad than a suicide? Really? Think before you speak.

  • dfsdfs

    “Do not deface other peoples’ sacred objects. There are appropriate and productive ways to challenge a belief system. This isn’t one. I can’t believe that there’s room for discussion peripheral to that central point.”

    Agreed. It’s as simple at that. If I were religious, I’d probably be upset too. I understand where Walker is coming from with this piece, and you really shouldn’t have to be a Christian to understand it, either.

  • sep092

    @11:
    Master Chun explicitly said that the burning of the LGBTQ poster in a Vanderbilt entryway was the saddest thing that had happened in his time as master.

    You are right, of course he didn’t explicitly compare it to the suicide of a Berkeley student last spring. But that event also happened during his time as master, as did various other campus tragedies. Even if Master Chun spoke in hyperbole, it is hyperbole which emphasizes the huge importance which campus places upon gay rights, an admirable pursuit which I only hope they would extend to Christians as well.

    Please don’t commit the fallacy of assuming that a majority group cannot be hurt and oppressed by hatred. Yes, there may be many Christians on campus, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the same rights and commitment to open dialogue which the administration strives to ensure that minority groups receive.

  • sep092

    Also, burning a poster isn’t arson. It’s some drunken jerk with a cigarette lighter wreaking havoc upon a single piece of paper. Please don’t exaggerate.

    For what it’s worth, I still think I’m comparing apples to apples. Of course burning a cross would have been more offensive than creating this poster. Just like burning a pride flag would have been more offensive than burning a poster advertising a gay event. In both cases, we are talking only about posters– pieces of paper– and not even pieces of paper with activist messages. I think the comparison is apt.

  • Inigo_Montoya

    @sep, he didn’t. I just reread his email (I’m a Berkeleyite) and the YDN. The only thing he says about being the “most _____” he’s been in his time at Yale is this: “Chun said in his email that the incident made him feel more ‘personally aggrieved’ than he ever had felt before as Berkeley master.”

    I know that sounds like “grieving,”, but, as my namesake would say, “you keep on a-using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    The OED gives only one non-archaic meaning for “aggrieved”: “Injured or wronged in one’s rights, relations, or position; injuriously affected by the action of any one; having cause of grief or offence, having a grievance.”

    Chun would thus never have felt “aggrieved” by a student suicide. He could very well, however, feel “aggrieved” by vandalism within the community he oversees.

  • Inigo_Montoya

    NB that this is no comment on the ROFL displays, which I think are tasteless. I just don’t like people slandering or mischaracterizing others to win debates (Had no one else done so, I would also have called out veggiesattva for his/her comically wrong assumptions about Mr. Walker’s race).

  • Hounie13

    @ tedmosby: Yes, Jordon is not white. But the point of veggiesattva’s comment isn’t to say that if he were white, his opinions matter less. But that he benefits from all the privilege society affords whites, men, heterosexuals, Christian and straight people. Hence the sarcasm about how “hard it is” to be these things.

    I think the outrage that no one has said something is really a non-issue. Things get addressed by the administration if enough of an outcry is generated that it warrants an address. As Jordon points out, very few people actually care that someone wrote “ROFL” on a cross. I’m sure Mary has no idea this happened.

  • Hounie13

    Also, my response to this and to any kind of “discriminatory” act would be: take it down and move on. You give it more power by feeling offended and giving it publicity. I know it’s easier said than done, but take it for what it is (i.e. stupidity) and shake your head.

  • Hounie13

    @graduate_student: I HATE those arguments. Yes, the discrimination might not be comparable, but to somehow dismiss one discrimination because another one was greater is idiotic. Comparable to the age-old discussion of Jews vs. blacks and blacks vs. Irish. Useless.

  • MJG

    I had no idea that Yalies were this stupid. Multiple posters here have argued that tolerance and respect are due only to things they deem oppressed minorities, while anything that they deem to be in a position of power or dominance is by definition okay to mock at will. In other words, respect is not intrinsic to human beings, it’s just a maleable fact derivable by seeing who is in power at any given moment and place. So if I lived in Saudi Arabia, these people would be totally okay with me burning the Koran in a public place? And if America were some day run by atheist homosexuals, I could burn all the LGBTQ posters I wanted to, and paint crosses all over public buildings, and you wouldn’t care?

    It’s fairly obvious to me that Yale Christians who do not pass certain political correctness acid tests are more “oppressed” than any other minority- try keeping up an anti-abortion poster for more than a day, or expressing principled opposition to homosexual behavior without being shunned by most of the campus. The Chaplain’s office, supposedly run by a Catholic, is much more open to the Athiest and Agnostic group than it is to the theological or philosophical truth claims of any traditional religion. We don’t have a cultural house or a special dean or tons of money thrown at us for almost any reason, which many other supposedly oppressed minorities do. And don’t pretend that the existence of YDS (the Yale Department for “Social Justice”) makes a difference anymore. If the prevailing views at YDS represent Christianity, then I don’t think I would give the religion much respect either.

    I don’t actually want any of these perks, and I’d be even less enthusiastic about destroying all actual differences under the relativistic banner of mutual respect, but at least it’s a consistent position that I thought most liberal Yalies took. You’ll all be in my prayers.

  • alsoanon

    I don’t think anyone is saying that Christians shouldn’t be defended. My main complaint is that the actual comparisons the article made — saying this was equivalent to persecution of Arab or other minority students — were offensive. Everyone should receive tolerance and respect, yes, but certain unthinking equivalencies can actually be disrespectful.

  • dmv1011

    Yo jordan walker, you need to CTFU (chill the f–k out). Kids like you ruin the yale name. You feel that your cause is more important, needs more support, and more followers than the douche bag next to you. The result: people fussing over arbitrary sh-t like this. It’s astonishing what crap the YDN has allowed to be published in their paper. I thought that last week’s piece on why HALF of our already small Spring Fling budget should donated to charity was awful, but you managed to blow that out of the water.

    Hooray for you my friend, you’re a crusader: fighting for the meaningless, the pointless, the marginal. And to the YDN, you guys allow awful pieces to be published! Week after week I read these op-eds that make me wish I went to ITTech (They don’t have a school paper).

    In the immortal words of Tropic Thunder “Never go full retard”

  • tedmosby

    Hounie13, I understood the sarcasm perfectly well, thank you very much.

    >he benefits from all the privilege society affords whites, men, heterosexuals, Christian and straight people.

    You, however, seem to be really struggling with the idea that the columnist is not white. I am not sure how I could make it any clearer. Also, heterosexuals and straight people are the same thing.

    Lastly, if something is morally wrong to do, then their race or religion shouldn’t matter in the least. It’s still *wrong.*

  • Moosetracks

    I think there is a fundamental problem with a lot of the posts here. At Yale we believe that everyone deserves respect, however I think the focus often is too much on ourselves. We demand the respect that we want, but we forget that respect is earned more than bestowed onto everyone. Maybe we should be focusing more on how we can show respect rather than how we can force others to give it to us.
    As a Christian, I certainly would like to be respected for my beliefs. I would hope that the way I treat others (Don’t forget, Christ calls us to LOVE people, all people, not just our friends. Love is a lot more than saying some words or throwing money at charities. It is deeply caring about someone, enough to care about what they care about.) would cause me to be respected, but I cannot expect that to be the case. In fact, perhaps we should be expecting the opposite. The Church in its history has done very little to earn respect. The Crusades, the recent burning of a Koran, many of the KKK members identifying as Christians and other examples are an embarrassment, and we cannot expect people to look past these. Instead of complaining about how some people don’t respect us, maybe we could redirect that energy into activities that would be more likely to earn us respect…things maybe more inline with what Christ has called us to.

  • Yalie

    “Do not deface other peoples’ sacred objects. There are appropriate and productive ways to challenge a belief system. This isn’t one. I can’t believe that there’s room for discussion peripheral to that central point.”

    – Do not deface peoples’ right to free speech. It is an appropriate and productive way to challenge any system – even if you do not agree with it. I can’t believe that there’s room for discussion peripheral to that central point.

  • roganjosh

    > Do not deface peoples’ right to free speech.

    Do not deface your own obligation to civility.

    The principle of free speech is destroyed when free speech is used to hem in the free speech of others. That’s exactly what personal and emotive insults do.

    Once you adopt the position of abusing free speech to silence the free speech of others, you join the tyrants from whom “we, the people” sought dignity through liberty.

    And you may be giving up your entitlement to be treated as one of the people.

    Must we raise the voting age? Or could the admissions office nip this problem in the bud?