To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
We object to the editorial of April 12th in the CRIMSON entitled "Religion and the Free Student." It seems to us to represent a false analysis of the situation. Furthermore, the editorial writers can only have hearsay evidence of the proposed plan.
Your editor objected to a chaplain appointed by the University. He gives three reasons for this point of view.
1. He will be redundant. Now in actual fact there are clergymen in Cambridge. They are completely unofficial, as far as Harvard is concerned, and to a large extent unknown to University officials. A chaplain will be well known at the Dean's office and the Hygiene Department. There are over 2,000 students at the University at the present time who have not denominational affiliation. In addition, there are many denominational students temporarily dissociated from their denominations. Many of these men have religious problems from time to time, which they bring to the Dean's office or the Hygiene Department. The Deans and the College psychiatrists cannot cope with these problems, which they could then refer to the Chaplain. Hence a chaplain would fill a tremendous gap.
2. The University will be endorsing Protestant Christianity. The Chaplain will obviously work in close cooperation with the Roman Catholic chaplain, and the Jewish rabbi as is now done at Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. As a matter of fact, the majority of affiliated students are Protestants.
3. Personal religion is one's own matter. We agree with this in one sense. The Chaplain and what he stands for would not be forced down anyone's threat. He will be available to anyone who needs him. On the other hand, religion, as well as secular education, cannot be achieved in private. At Harvard, as in any other community, religion is acquired by social intercourse and public instruction.
We quite agree with you that the Chaplain should be an unusual man. What member of the Harvard Faculty is not an unusual man?
We believe therefore that your case is unsupported. Ernest B. Johnston, Jr. '51 John W. B. Luce '52 William S. Zuill '52