Conservative Author, Religion Professor Debate Cross Removal

February 1, 2007

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Wire Service: AP

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - A plain, 18-inch brass cross filled a 120-seat chapel Thursday night at the College of William and Mary, not for a worship service but for a debate on whether it belongs on the altar.

Conservative author Dinesh D'Souza came to campus to argue that school President Gene R. Nichol acted "recklessly" by ordering the cross removed last October to make the chapel in the Wren Building more inviting to people of all faiths.

Nichol later responded to criticism by returning the cross on Sundays, but more than 10,000 people have signed an online petition to put the cross back permanently.

Previously, the cross could be removed at any time by request. Now, it can be returned by request, and it was on the altar during the 90-minute debate between D'Souza and David Holmes, a religious studies professor at William and Mary.

"Why is Christianity being singled out for special exclusion?" asked D'Souza, whose books include "Letters to a Young Conservative" and "The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11."

He contended Nichol was wrongly "driven by this idea that Christianity and its symbols are in some way offensive."