Harvard University’s chaplains elect atheist to be president of chaplains’ organization

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CAMBRIDGE, MA – In a move that is rightfully confusing to many who’ve heard the news, Harvard University’s chaplains have decided to unanimously elect an atheist to be their new president of the Harvard Chaplains.

According to the Harvard Chaplains’ “Statement of Mission” on their website, the following is noted:

“The Harvard Chaplains are a professional community of more than thirty chaplains, representing many of the world’s religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions, who share a collective commitment to serving the spiritual needs of the students, faculty, and staff of Harvard University. “

On August 26th, 44-year-old Greg Epstein announced via Twitter that he was selected to lead the chaplains’ organization, sharing a New York Times article that highlighted his atheism:

“I’m obliged and honored to share news: I’ve been elected president of my [Harvard Chaplains] colleagues, and the brilliant [Emma Goldberg] wrote about it for the [New York Times].”

Speaking with the New York Times, Epstein said the following when addressing the unusual decision to have him lead the Harvard Chaplains:

“There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life.”

According to Epstein’s bio on the Harvard Chaplains website, he “serves as the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, as well as the president of the Harvard Chaplains”, which humanism is a sort of brand of atheism.

Humanists generally believe that the source of knowledge and a crafted social contract comprised of moral codes are derived solely from the human experience and rational thinking as opposed to these sorts of tenets and advancements come by way of gods or religious texts.

By all means, there’s nothing to suggest that Epstein is a bad or immoral person, but just a confusing choice to lead Harvard Chaplains considering he doesn’t believe in a deity or any instance of divine intervention.

Margit Hammerstrom, Harvard’s Christian Science chaplain, claims that despite these conflicts, Epstein’s election “works” for the university and has a good reputation with keeping dialogue open between faith leaders:

“Greg is known for wanting to keep lines of communication open between different faiths.”

Charlotte Nickerson, an electrical engineering student at the school, also chimed in on this notion as well, saying:

“Greg’s leadership isn’t about theology. It’s about cooperation between people of different faiths and bringing together people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves religious.”

But whether or not Epstein is a good person, the fact remains that him being elected as the chaplain president is drawing some criticism over the oxymoronic nature of his title and humanist stance. One Twitter user posted the following comment in regard to Epstein’s elected status at the university:

“Making that Harvard label less prestigious by completely missing the role of a chaplain.  Nicely done, you dopes.”

Others have commented online over the bizarre nature that Epstein is being referred to as a “chaplain” at all – noting that the term is typically associated with those hosting a theological background:

“A chaplain, by definition, is a member of the clergy, therefore you are not only unqualified for the job, but also unable to perform the duties required of the position because you cannot, as an atheist, be a true clergyman. As an unbeliever, why do you even want the position?”

The makeup of religious ideals (or lack thereof) within the Harvard student body is fairly diverse, as a 2019 study conducted by the Harvard Crimson found that the class was comprised of 21% agnostic and 17% atheist students – for context, only 10% identified as Jewish, 17% as Catholic and 3% as Muslim.

In fact, the Pew Research Center found in 2020 that organized religion has been on the decline with the younger generations. Epstein’s election as the president of the Harvard Chaplains may be a result of the phenomenon.

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Georgetown University students sign fake petition to cancel Memorial Day over ‘American imperialism’

(Originally published May 30th, 2021)

WASHINGTON, DC – During a recent social experiment conducted by Campus Reforms’ Addison Smith, the reporter presented Georgetown University students with a fake petition on getting Memorial Day cancelled due to “American Imperialism.”

At the onset of the video, Smith explains the purpose of the social experiment, to see if the collegiate youth would be willing to go so far as to cancel Memorial Day as it could be construed as a sort of celebration of “American imperialism”:

“We’re here in Washington, DC in honor of Memorial Day – a day where we celebrate the fallen men and women who’ve fought to protect this nation. But the question is, can Americans even still unite around Memorial Day?

“We’re going to see how far they’ll go. Will they sign this petition right here to ban Memorial Day as a celebration of American imperialism? Let’s see what they say.”

When speaking with some of the students around the campus, Smith was encountered a mix of responses where many didn’t even know why Memorial Day was celebrated – with at least one person even denouncing the day for perceived celebration of “imperialism” (prior to being handed the fake petition).

Even though some of the people that Smith interviewed during the social experiment knew of the actual reason for celebrating Memorial Day, he was still able to sway them into adopting the notion that it was also celebrating “American imperialism.”

When one woman was asked about the reason Memorial Day was celebrated, she responded with:

“It’s to remember the fallen.”

Smith then posed the following to the woman:

“It is kind of memorializing American imperialism and kind of glorifying it. Would you guys agree with that?”

The woman responded with:

“Yeah, oh probably yeah.”

One of the students who signed the fake petition to have Memorial Day no longer recognized as a federal holiday claimed that after his Women and Gender Studies course he took in college, he wound up adopting a negative outlook on Memorial Day:

“I mean, like, I didn’t really think of it in this way until I got to college, and, like, I took women’s and gender studies classes, and that put me on this path, where I’m, like, yeah, like, fuck the U.S., like.”

When speaking with this same student, Smith asked whether he’d “bow down to completely abolish the military,” which the student replied with:

“Yes, please!”

You can watch the video of the social experiment below: 

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University spends $50k to remove a rock that triggered students, claiming it reminded them of the past

(Originally August 8th, 2021)

The following contains partial editorial content which is the opinion of the author. 

MADISON, WI- Simply put, you cannot make this stuff up. Apparently, rocks are now “racist.” At least that was the allegation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the university spent in the neighborhood of $50,000 to remove a rock that is likely billions of years old because—racism.

According to the Post-Millennialthe rock, called the “Chamberlin Rock,” which has been sitting on Observatory Hill since 1925, has been removed from university property. Seriously we are at a time when people are offended by a flipping rock.

Apparently the rock was referenced by some kind of derogatory nickname for a large rock around 85 years ago.

The rock, dated at around two billion years old, is an example of the pre-Cambrian era, defined by scientists as the largest span of time in Earth’s history prior to the current Phanerozoic Eon, according to Science Direct.

The rock was dedicated as a monument to honor Thomas Chamberlin, a geologist who served as president of the university between 1887-1892.

Last November, a group of students who apparently spent more time being offended than actually engaging in their studies, claimed the rock was a reminder of so-called “past and present injustices faced by students of color.”

The chancellor of the university, Rebecca Blank apparently bought into it. The Wisconsin Black Student Union, in partnership with Wunk Sheek, the Native American student organization pushed for the rock’s removal.

“It took courage and commitment for the Wisconsin Black Student Union to bring this issue forward and to influence change alongside UW’s Wunk Sheek student leaders,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor said.

“In the midst of demands for justice following George Floyd’s murder last summer, the students wanted change on campus, and they worked hard to see this through. While the decision required compromise, I’m proud of the student leaders and the collaboration it too to get here.”

“Courage and commitment?” To move a rock? How are these whiny snowflakes going to survive in the real world?

The former president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union, senior Nalah McWhorter watched as the dream of having the racist rock removed took place on Friday morning.

“It was very meaningful for me to be there and to see the process all the way through to the end,” McWhorter said wistfully. “It was about a year ago that we released our demands and met with the chancellor and explained to her why those demands meant so much to us. It was a powerful moment today to see this demand come full circle.”

McWhorter is hoping the rock’s removal will inspire other students to advocate for change on campus. Perhaps next they can move some offensive flowers, or perhaps have all the trees removed from campus, since in the Jim Crow south lynchings occurred from trees. You know, racism and all. 

“I see this as offering the next generation of students something to build off of,” she said. “We got this project going, and now the next round of students can continue to work on the other demands and come up with other ideas. We hope this movement and this momentum carries on.”

There was a plaque affixed to the offensive, racist rock which was removed. A new plaque honoring Chamberlin will be placed in Chamberlin Hall on campus.

Historians at the university were unable to find any evidence that the racist term attached to the racist rock was used by the university in any capacity.

However they noted that the KKK was a visible presence in the Madison area in the early 1900s, noting that people of color were mocked in minstrel shows at campus facilities and in campus periodicals.

The racist rock was relocated to university-owned land southeast of Madison near Lake Kegonsa, still within a glacial till landscape. The cost of removing the racist rock was paid for by the chancellor’s office using private donations.

“Moving this [racist] rock to this remote site prevents further harm to our community while preserving the rock’s educational and research value for current and future scholars,” said Gary Brown, director of campus planning and landscape architecture, who led the search to find a new location in which to relocate the racist rock.

“Students and the general public will no longer casually encounter the rock, but it will remain available to those specifically seeking it out for teaching and learning purposes.”

Brown noted the racist rock does have some teaching and educational value in addition to its scientific importance.

A UW-Madison student told ABC News that removal of the racist rock was a small step toward a more inclusive campus.

“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument,” said Juliana Bennett. “Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.”

In order to remove the racist rock, the university had to get permission from the Wisconsin Historical Society to move the rock because it was located on a burial site. It was located near effigy mounds that are sacred Native American burial sites.

Removal of the racist rock was approved on August 2 following two rounds of public review seeking input from various stakeholders, which included the Native Nations of Wisconsin.

“We have worked closely with the Wisconsin Historical Society and our colleagues in the Ho-Chunk Nation to assure minimal if any, disturbance to the sacred burial sites nearby,” said Brown. “Although the rock did not sit on top of a burial site, it was located within a protected Native American burial mound area.”

Removal of the racist rock was observed by the tribal historic preservation officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation, Bill Quackenbush as well as a project manager with the Archaeological Research Laboratory Center at UW-Milwaukee. The presence of an archaeologist was a condition of the state permit.

One must wonder how these triggered snowflakes will react down the road when they face a real crisis in their lives. A racist rock? Seriously?

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