February
11th 2009
Crucifixation

Posted under: art, students, the body

giotto_crucifixOMG!  Someone is putting crucifixes in the classrooms of a Jesuit institutionSurely not!

Gimme a break.  Boston College is not going to lose faculty job candidates over this, contrary to the empty threats made in the linked article.  I taught at two different Catholic universities for a total of 5 years, and there were crucifixes in my classrooms.  The crucifixes never bothered me, and they were never the object of student attention or adoration (at least none that was apparent to me.)  I currently teach at a secular state institution where there are small, ugly, and very poorly framed American flags bolted to the wall of every classroom, and like the crucifixes in my former classrooms, they go entirely unpledged to and ignored by everyone.  This mimesis renders objects invisible.

That said, complaining about crucifixes at a Catholic university is like complaining that all of the students at Morehouse are black, or that there are too many feminists at Bryn Mawr, or that there’s no Hillel House at Calvin College.  What did you expect?  Duh.  (Interestingly, according to the linked article there is a Hillel chapter at BC, which just goes to show you–sometimes the Catholics are the most catholic of all.)

11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Crucifixation”

  1. John S. on 11 Feb 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    Wait–there are actually flags or flag pictures in your classrooms? We don’t have any of those! Though I did have to sign an oath of loyalty to the state of California and the US of A when I signed my contract. (And they took that seriously–I first signed the oath when our dept manager was out of the room, so she gave me another copy and made me sign it in front of her.) There went my career as a bomb-throwing radical.

  2. Satsuma on 12 Feb 2009 at 12:24 am #

    This article provided me with a much needed laugh! What will people complain of next? After samanella and peanut head CEOs, the dow dropping and disaster everywhere, this cute little story just had me smiling away!!

  3. The History Enthusiast on 12 Feb 2009 at 1:11 am #

    These things so annoy me.

    I went to a deeply Protestant institution, and one week in chapel (which wasn’t mandatory) we had “Martin Luther Day.” A Catholic acquaintance of mine got all up in arms about it…it wasn’t mandatory and nothing in the service said that Catholics were evil or whatnot. I would’ve noticed. Anyway, I just wanted to say to her, “If you don’t like hearing about Luther, then you shouldn’t have gone to a Protestant school!” Duh.

  4. ortho stice on 12 Feb 2009 at 5:47 am #

    I attended a small Jesuit university in Cincinnati. There was a tiny crucifix in each classroom. They did not bother me. The mandatory nine credits of theology did not bother me either. However, the accounting professor who made us say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, did bother me.

  5. Erica on 12 Feb 2009 at 6:24 am #

    A religious institution has religious paraphernalia? Yeah, that might affect job candidates, but hardly in droves — maybe one or two, and I doubt wall decor is what would push them over the edge.

  6. Bing McGhandi on 12 Feb 2009 at 7:15 am #

    Oh, sweet tap dancing Christ. For all my huffing about religion, this actually makes me cringe. I’m with Historiann on this one. Maybe the chemistry teacher would be happier if they put up a picture of laminin in his classroom, eh? What, what? Not funny? Damn it.

    HJ

  7. Historiann on 12 Feb 2009 at 8:22 am #

    John S.–they’re real cloth flags, but they’re badly framed on the cheap, so the frame covers up the edges and gives them a slightly off dimension. I think they were framed to make them longer-lasting and more secure. It all seems so pointless, but like I said, no one really notices them, so who cares?

    Erica, there will still be superstar candidates who have multiple job interviews and offers, but I guarantee you that if BC loses a candidate, it will be due to many other factors besides the crucifixes.

    I went to a SLAC with a strong brand identity. In fact, most of my classmates and I went there because of its strong identity as a particular kind of college. Like The History Enthusiast, I didn’t get why students or faculty would complain about that identity. (And it was so expensive that I wondered: why do some people have at the time $20K a year to spend, and yet they don’t have the sense that God gave a rutabega to spend it someplace they like?)

  8. Historiann on 12 Feb 2009 at 8:25 am #

    And p.s. to Bing: I like that image of “sweet tap dancing Christ”–maybe one of the Art students at BC can whip up some of those for installation on classroom walls? Those would be guarandamnteed to get noticed.

  9. GayProf on 12 Feb 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Hmmm — This kind of reminds me of all those professors who claimed that they were going to resign if little Georgie W’s library ended up at SMU. Last I heard, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of professors from Dallas.

  10. Indyanna on 12 Feb 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Yeah, there was a crucifix on the wall in _Retour de Martin Guerre_ when I showed it in a first year class the other week and I noticed I was breaking out in some kind of a rash. You’d think they could have modernized the story and set it in a fertility clinic in Grand Rapids or something like that.

    This was the veteran Chemistry Department chair at B.C. who was feeling intimidated teaching there? I could see if they started taking molybdenum or tungsten out of the periodic table or something on that order. But otherwise, you just gotta tough it out.

  11. Historiann on 12 Feb 2009 at 3:45 pm #

    Yeah–Indyanna and GayProf, this just feels to me like people looking for something to complain about. You want something to complain about? Leave your wealthy private university and come on over to teach with us at publicly “funded” state institutions!

    (I put “funded” in quotes because it’s so low here in CO that it might as well be Monopoly money.)

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