Last week Duke University was forced to renege on its promise to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from atop the university’s Christian chapel when Duke alumni and various North Carolinians strongly protested. Some, predictably, voiced their protests in a disgusting manner. Others did not.
Instead, the call to prayer was played over a small speaker from the chapel’s steps on the 16th as Muslims and many non-Muslim supporters, who will probably be present in fewer numbers this and every Friday after, observed the event. Muslim worshippers were then free to worship in a room in the chapel building as they have been for a while now but not in the actual Christian sanctuary which is reserved for Christian religious services and not the religious services of other religions.
There are currently seven mosques and Islamic centers in Raleigh-Durham. One of them is the Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center which is over 50 years old and currently in the middle of a fundraiser to build a new center. It also happens to be on the periphery of Duke’s sprawling campus, a 3 minute drive from the edge of Duke’s property, .9 miles away. It is very close. This is, of course, not to say that Muslims should not have a place to worship of their very own on campus. If they’d like to then they absolutely should. I for one think that would be great and I imagine campus Muslims and non-Muslims would agree.
There’s something important about having your own space to worship in which brings me to Atheist and Gym Bro Hamilton Nolan who, last Friday, wrote an angry and nonsensical diatribe against Duke University’s decision not to move toward a co-worship model at the university’s historical chapel. It seems that almost no one but people who don’t use the chapel for worship felt co-worship was appropriate. Let’s go through some of his more concrete points together because I think they are commonly adhered to among those that call themselves Progressives but who are, in reality, globalists who adhere to a corporately manufactured idea of what integration should look like. Full disclosure, I have a nearly abandoned blog known as The American Progressive because I generally consider myself to be politically progressive in the vein of Teddy Roosevelt.
1. Unity, to Hamilton, means lack of difference. It also means hating Southerners.
If you take Duke at its word, it is a school now committed to canceling or erasing anything that does not have the effect of “unifying” its campus, which is populated in large part by upper class Southern bros and bro-ettes.
Duke was founded by Wesleyan Methodists in 1838. It is a private school and is, like any good school, secular in the way it approaches teaching. It’s not a “Christian school.” The ties are there though and the chapel specifically is completely Christian. Here’s a schedule of their services. There is not one non-Christian event on the schedule for the month of January, or February, or March. The reason for that is because Duke Chapel is a church. Even though it’s a pseudo spiritual center for the school in some amorphous way it’s still a church first.
Hamilton believes that, in order for Duke to be a unifier, churches must move towards becoming mosques which would have the added effect of making them less like churches. People need to become less like they want to be and more like something not many people seem to want to be, neither Christian nor Muslim nor Jew, as in heaven.
2. Hamilton lives down the street from a mosque, possibly has a Black friend too.
I live down the street from a mosque that broadcasts the call to prayer daily. You barely even notice it. It’s not a big deal, guys. It’s certainly no worse than having to endure the sight of Easter hats.
Note that the daily call to prayer comes from a mosque and not a church. Also note that Hamilton neither attends daily prayer at this mosque nor does he got to a church. He barely even notices it, it’s just cultural background to him and it’s “not a big deal.”
Well, I guess some Christians love those Easter hats and that’s their prerogative no matter how ridiculous I think they look. It’s also a church’s prerogative not to play the Muslim call to prayer from their bell tower.
Hamilton’s anecdotal experience about what is and isn’t a big deal doesn’t matter. He’s not invested in either faith but he knows what both faiths should do, apparently. He has strong opinions on things that do not effect him or his freedoms much like those persons screaming outside abortion clinics.
3. Specific religious spaces at private institutions are racist and cowardly. Believing otherwise is ignorant.
What have we learned from all of this? An honest reading of the facts of this case tell us that: 1) Duke University does not support Christianity and Islam equally; 2) Muslim students at Duke University should feel discriminated against not only by the religious idiots who populate North Carolina, but also by their own University. They should feel discriminated against because they are discriminated against; and most importantly, 3) Duke University will cower and fold in face of intense vitriol and hatred. Hatred and vitriol work. Duke University will not stand up for marginalized groups. Duke University will cower in fear of damage to itself and its own reputation, and will give in to the most ignorant elements of its own community before it will stand up and do something that might require the tiniest bit of backbone or belief in the principles that it so cheaply espouses on paper.
That last bit is my favorite, “so cheaply espouses on paper.” You can just see his jowls flinging spittle everywhere, the people sitting around him slowly moving away.
Duke University’s values are such that they are a historically Methodist school that accepts every kind of person from all over the world. They have a chapel on campus which is a church. It remains a church. Allowing a church to continue to exist on a private, historically Methodist campus is, to Hamilton, discrimination. Apparently the history of Duke’s affiliation with the Methodist church has been a secret, the chapel has been covered over and the Christian services it has conducted since 1932 have only now been revealed.
This was all apparently hidden from non-Christian students prior to applying to the school and being accepted for classes.
Note that Duke has a Jewish Center on campus. For some reason there are no Jews demanding the Chapel become a Jewish center and there are no Christians demanding the Jewish center become a church. It’s completely uncanny.
This is what is called co-existence with difference. It’s a mainstay of liberal ideology. Hamilton rejects it.
4. All Southerners are racists
Anything else, if you think about it—anything that threatens the settled beliefs of Southern racists—could pose a danger of not “unifying” the student body, which now seems to be against Duke’s code of conduct.
Many Southerners are racists. Many people are racists. Hamilton Nolan lives in New York CIty. New York City is many things, it is also racist. In fact, it is the only city in the country where discrimination of minorities by law enforcement has recently been a matter of public policy via stop and frisk.
It is a city where the population will keep you from building an Islamic community center on private property because of bigotry and fear.
It’s also a place where you can get murdered by police on the streets for having sold loose cigarettes in the past.
It’s a troubled city but Southerners, Southerners are terrible like the bogeymen of old.
5. A lot of people agree with Hamilton
Many people are atheists or agnostics and do not like religion. Specifically, they do not like Christianity. They have read books about religion and Christianity and don’t see any reason why the call to prayer being played from the top of an operating Christian chapel might be offensive or worrisome. They think this because they do not care about religion and think that religious people should also not care about religion. They also may not go to Duke University and so they have no trouble telling others what they ought to do. They have read about religion and therefore understand all religions. They understand them better than the religious do.
There is this person who has had the enlightened realization that private institutions cost money.
“I think it was money,” said Matthew Wiseman, a graduate student in religious studies who stood near the chapel entrance along with throngs of other students. “There were donors who threatened to stop supporting the university.”
Indeed, these donors, these shadowy monied figures, are likely Christians. They are not simply donors. They are the people who allow the school to continue to exist. They are the people whose dollars enable the school do what it does, to provide an environment where a religious studies major who may not even be religious can have a fine staff under which to learn. But no, these persons believe it must be about money. It cannot be from a deeply held belief because beliefs they deem to be incorrect cannot be deeply held and are therefore invalid.
This is a borderline fundamentalist way to think. It is a way of thinking that knows best and that wants to tell groups of people what to do. It is stupefying that atheists or agnostics, many of whom think very little of religion and religious people, would care so much about whether or not the call to prayer is sung or played from the top of Duke Chapel. It’s almost as if this has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with sticking it to Christians who they may have animosity for as a group. That would be hypocritical and bigoted but Gawker is no stranger to hypocritical bigotry.
These non-religious people who are very concerned about Duke Chapel may have theories about what to do with this animosity they have and many of these theories may involve banning things or getting rid of things or not allowing things. This is all in the name of unification of course because people can only be unified by changing them from who they are into people they are not and may never wish to be.
But none of the above should come as a surprise. These are the same “progressives” that think tax policies are the primary ill crushing the middle class and the country when it’s actually outsourcing of labor to third world countries that has hollowed out the working class. Still they talk of equitable taxation and labor standards when all the money jobs have been shipped across the ocean. They are wise in their Clinton corporatism and have faith in a U.S. consumerism based on Asian brutality and neo-slavery. At one time they would have been called bourgeois.
This, all of it, is called irony. It is not called Progressivism.