Letters to the Editor

Robert L. Johnson: Duke’s catch-22

I seldom find myself in agreement with anything Franklin Graham holds, but I do find Duke in a quandary in its ability to defend both religious pluralism and Duke’s Christian identity.

For two decades, I served as university chaplain at Cornell and observed the slow retreat of the Ivy schools from their “Christian” roots. In Duke’s case, Mr. Duke clearly intended the chapel to affirm its Christian identity. One can imagine his unease at the case made by the associate dean for religious life that “the use of (the chapel) as a minaret allows for the interreligious reimagining of a university icon” (“ At Duke, welcoming Muslims,” Jan. 15 Point of View).

Duke has courageously funded a Muslim chaplain and provided space in the chapel for their prayers. It should be enough to welcome all expressions of religious diversity without losing its foundational identity as a school grounded in Christian faith.

Robert L. Johnson