Administrators at a hospital in Australia have thrown the crosses, crucifixes and Bibles out of their chapel to comply with new rules that followed the construction of a special prayer room for Muslims.
According to a report in the Mosman Daily, the change has been made at the Royal North Shore Hospital in St. Leonards.
The move, according to senior members of the hospital staff quoted by the newspaper, was made to avoid offending Muslims or Hindus who may be at the hospital.
The newspaper cited a hospital spokeswoman who said the ban was imposed after “the chapel was enhanced with the provision of a Muslim prayer space in the loft area.”
“At that time the decision was made to display the symbols of each faith, for example the chapel’s cross and Bible, during specific services and ceremonies only,” the spokeswoman said. “This decision was made out of respect for the many faiths that make up both the hospital and also the modern Australian community.”
Hospital staff members told the newspaper while the chapel was built for Christians, the goal apparently now is to create a neutral space.
WND reported a case in the United States when the president of the College of William & Mary decided abruptly to remove a donated cross from the historic Wren Chapel on the school’s campus to make the space less “faith-specific.”
The historic Wren Chapel
University President Gene Nichol eventually left his post, following an effort
on the part of a coalition of alumi calling for the school’s Board of Visitors to not renew Nichol’s contract.
“Nichol has betrayed our trust by creating a call of silence, elevating personal pursuits above the good of the college and deceitful lawyerly posturing,” said Nina Hartley, a 1975 graduate in the group.
In the Australian case, Mosman Mayor Dom Lopez told his local newspaper the decision left him “outraged.”
North Shore Liberal MP Jillian Skinner described the maneuver as “bureaucratic madness.”
On the newspaper’s forum, one participate said, “So if I find myself in hospital in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan or even Indonesia, do they remove all islamic symbols so that I as a non muslim are not offended?”
On the JihadWatch website, Robert Spencer posted a report that generated a long list of reactions:
“Why would a person of one faith be offended by seeing the religious symbols of another faith? The only reason could be that their own faith is intolerant of others,” wrote one.
“The monumental hypocrisy is again evident for all to see. On one hand they claim to be a tolerant peaceful faith while with the other they try and dismantle all other faiths. Sometimes this is through sleight of hand though most times it is at gunpoint,” said another.
“I am offended by the very sight of mosques. These should be removed,” wrote another.
In a report in the Daily Telegraph, a spokesman for the Islamic Friendship Society said there now were concerns about a backlash against Muslims.
The Wren cross at the College of William and Mary originally was taken out of the chapel after Nichol reported he received a complaint about it. But alumni and students launched a website campaign called Save The Wren Cross and collected more than 18,000 names demanding the cross be restored.
As the number of names on the petition rose, Nichol at first admitted he “acted too quickly and should have consulted more broadly” and dictated that a plaque would be installed in the chapel.
The move failed to satisfy those who wanted the donated bronze cross restored to the historic chapel, and the university eventually assembled a special committee to deal with the crisis.
The college later confirmed the antique cross would be placed in a glass display case at the front of the chapel, which was done.
WND had broken the story that Nichol had created a furor by arbitrarily ordering the cross – donated by Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in the 1930s – into storage so that the chapel would be less “faith-specific.”
That argument hit even Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as unusual. “I’m just struck by the fact that it is a chapel and has always been a chapel and that’s a part of William and Mary, and I think continuing in that way certainly wouldn’t bother me,” he said.