The contradiction behind new UVM Interfaith center

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Respecting other religions is important, right? I think the key word there is “other.”
Do you need to respect “other” religions if you don’t associate with one in the first place?

Is it OK to be an Islamophobe if you are also a “Christianphobe?”

It should be noted here that while Islamophobia is a commonly accepted word, “Christianphobe” or whatever is not. Hmm.

The new interfaith center is UVM’s and the SGA’s attempt to respect all religions.

I was excited when the Interfaith Center opened as a Rastafarian. Now, finally, I had a safe and sanctioned place to practice my religion. Right? Right?

Wrong.

I actually believe the whole world is my temple, so I should be allowed to practice my religion wherever I damn please.

But no. These intolerant bigots at UVM have prohibited the practice of my religion anywhere on campus.

My only consolation is that I can still worship one of our minor deities, Al-Cohol, in Brennan’s pub.

Now, we all know that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

We know that the big bang created the universe, releasing a huge amount of compressed matter and energy into some sort of an abyss that didn’t exist before … but what created this massive bang of energy and matter? Did it create itself? But if matter cannot be created or destroyed.

This is making my head hurt.

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Whether or not I believe in God or some sort of higher power, what I would like to ask is whether it is really appropriate to have any sort of formally institutionalized place for the practice of one religion or any at a public university.

Reason and empiricism, the foundations of Western education, are not easily compatible with institutional religious practice.

For example, I was surprised when I got to UVM that there was a Catholic center right on campus because of that whole first amendment thing, saying that the government would respect no establishment of one religion over any other.

The Catholic Center does not count as the university putting one religion ahead of any other though, because there are multiple denominations on campus.

One of the people on my floor was a full-blown Christian, who would pray for us all the time and managed to drag me to mass on one occasion.

But there is no Islamic center or Buddhist center on campus.

Christianity is clearly privileged above other forms of worship.

So yeah, I’m fine with there being an interfaith center to correct that imbalance, but I’d just like to point out that we really should not have any tuition dollars going towards religious practice.

Students should not have to provide any financial support, through their tuition dollars or the SGA fee, for a small number of students to observe their religion.

To the extent that the appreciation of nature is my religion (I’m not really a Rasta), I would just add that I think UVM has done a great job of creating green spaces on campus.

I hope that once construction is done on campus UVM will plant a bunch of trees.