April 22, 2019 | 59° F

Intolerance of religion on campus inhibits productive discussion

Letter to the Editor

A common theme that emerges from conversations I’ve had with Rutgers students, of all faiths, is a certain feeling of marginalization. Monotheistic or otherwise, daily interactions with professors and students leave believers feeling as though they comprise only a small sliver of the Rutgers pie that practices their faith. Perhaps there is nowhere on campus where that imposition is more visible than the opinions section of The Daily Targum. Followers of all religions have been called irrational, bigoted, hypocritical and gender-biased — all in one week.

How is one to respond? Is it best to simply argue each point and respond to each article? Pointing to the massive philanthropic efforts of the Church that include hospitals, schools and rehabilitation centers throughout the world that are maintained by followers of all religions? Regurgitating news articles about the active nature of Pope Francis in guiding multiple peace talks in the Americas or his fearlessness in speaking to Congress? Challenging both sides of our political spectrum on issues that include respect for Our Common Home, the Earth, as well as the dignity of human life?

Perhaps no, that is not the best route. Perhaps the better path is to point toward truth. The truth is that 800,000 people, Catholic and non-Catholic, attended a mass given by Pope Francis that was an hour away from campus to share in the joy of communion. Perhaps the better path is to keep the doors of on-campus faith groups wide open for all students, and to engage in discussion in response to the current climate at Rutgers — the climate that allows a loud minority of students with anti-religious views to shout without consequence.

Faith entails a personal relationship, but that relationship is strengthened through community. I apologize to the Rutgers student body that such a community is seemingly discouraged both inside the classroom and out, but I urge all students to check out one of the on-campus faith groups with confidence that you will be welcomed regardless of personal ideology.

Allow this letter to be a flag to the faithful: You are not alone.

Henry Grabbe is a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in political science and philosophy with a minor in music. He is the president of the Catholic Student Association.

Henry Grabbe

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