October 4, 2005

More on Riner

The Convocation Agitation gets a mention in the libertarian online mag Reason.

In a larger article about the church/state wall, author Cathy Young says:
Meanwhile, bogus charges of "religious intolerance" are swirling over a controversy at Dartmouth College. Late in September at Convocation, which marks the start of the school's academic year, senior Noah Riner, president of the College's Student Assembly, gave a speech on character that turned into a sermon about Jesus as the only solution to character flaws: "He gave His life for our sin so that we wouldn't have to bear the penalty of the law; so we could see love. The problem is me; the solution is God's love: Jesus on the cross, for us." And more in that vein.

Riner came in for harsh criticism. The student paper, The Dartmouth, accused him of "preaching his faith from a commandeered pulpit"; Student Assembly vice president Kaelin Goulet resigned to protest his "abuse of power."

Some conservatives, such as Peter Robinson on the website of National Review magazine, see the brouhaha as liberal intolerance. Yet Riner didn't simply talk about his own faith; he spoke for "us," delivering to the entire student body a message that excluded non-Christians. Since Dartmouth is a private institution, this is not a legal problem. But at a school with a religiously diverse student body, it is certainly a moral one.

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