Letter to the Editor,
An Op-Ed Vignette
In the not so distant future: Cathi, a Catholic, and Evan, an Evangelical, are sitting in the campus cafeteria.
Before they commence to eat, Cathi makes the Sign of the Cross; with her right hand fingertips she touches her forehead and says, “In the Name of the Father”, she moves her hand to her chest by her heart and says, “And of the Son”, then she moves her hand to her left shoulder and then to her right shoulder and says, “And of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
They are sitting across from each other and extend their arms across the table, holding hands they bow their heads.
Evan prays, “Lord, as we walk through this world may Your Love heal our hearts, may Your Grace light our minds, and may Your Mercy shelter our souls. We thank You for giving us these wonderful blessings.” and together they chime in “Amen.”
Just as they start to eat, Gotham, a Goth, suddenly appears and loudly protests, “You offend me with your ‘holier than thou attitude’. Both of you are disgusting and you make me sick.” Evan starts to get up from his chair, but Cathi motions for him to stay in his seat.
Cathi, at first is shocked, but she quickly regains her composure and asks Gotham if he would like to join them for lunch. Gotham stomps out of the cafeteria.
Campus security walks into the cafeteria and escorts Cathi and Evan to the University Security Office.
Cathi immediately tells Chief Capovilla that they do not want to press charges against Gotham.
The Chief gives them a quizzical glance and then authoritatively states, “Both of you are being charged with the offense of public display of religion, which is a campus “hate crime”. For now, both of you are suspended from this university until after the investigation and the decision is rendered. Please clear all of your possessions from this campus immediately.”
They are taken aback and shocked because they didn’t realize that it was a crime to publicly pray in the campus cafeteria. That is just what they always do; everywhere they are, before they eat their meals. They pray in their homes, at restaurants, at picnics, at parties; they don’t do it to offend anyone, they do it devoutly to praise and thank God for the food they are about to eat.
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts . . . .Marian Casillas, Ed.D.