Background: The new Atheists and Agnostics Society at the University of Alberta is petitioning to have one phrase deleted or changed in the U of A's convocation ceremony, the section where the chancellor charges graduates to use their degrees for “the glory of God and the honour of your country.”
The issue is getting good coverage, including an interview on CHCH TV with guests Ian Bushfield, the president of the group, and Charles McVety - to whom progressive bloggers need no introduction.
The two hosts get into the discussion. The female host in particular scores several points and exposes McVety as the bigoted idiot he is.
According to this article in the Edmonton Journal, many universities in the country either never had a reference to god in their convocation ceremonies or, if they did, had long removed it.
Andrew Chan, of the group Christians in Action Bible Study, said he wouldn't make a fuss if the controversial line was softened somehow, but believes the religious theme should remain part of convocation. "From my standpoint, the line has historical value because the U of A was founded on Christian beliefs," Chan said. "Taking that out would take out a part of the university's history."
But Brett Sawchuk of Cross Impact, another Christian group, argued that such history is now essentially irrelevant.Whatever Christian flavour the U of A may have had in its early days is no longer a part of the academic culture, he said.
"Nowadays, universities don't espouse those values at all."
That's why Sawchuk was surprised to hear the "God" reference last June when he attended convocation to receive his bachelor of science degree.
"As believers, it means something to us Christians and other people who are religious, but taking it out is probably a more accurate portrayal of the university," he said.
"Christians who attend the U of A know they are attending a non-Christian university."
Which supports Bushfield's contention that some god believers support having the ceremony changed to be inclusive of non-believers.
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