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King Alleges Religious Discrimination

By Rachel P. Kovner, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Presidential candidate T. Christopher King '01 said last night that he has been the victim of religious discrimination.

King, who made the claim in a meeting with the Harvard Secular, Society (HSS) and the Interfaith Forum said his religious beliefs are not relevant to the campaign.

"I am a Christian, but I have never mentioned that in a public setting...I have absolutely nothing to apologize for," King said. "Privately I'm hurt, but publicly I can't believe what is happening."

King said he believes religious bias played a role in The Crimson's decision to endorse Noah Z. Seton '00 and Kamil E. Redmond '00.

The editorial said, "Though King and [Fentrice D.] Driskell ['01] say they want to unify the campus, their ties to religious groups have raised concerns among many students."

It also called their "values-driven leadership" campaign plank "vague and worrisome."

"That was my lowest time in this campaign," King said of the editorial. "If that were at thesis at Harvard, it would get a C."

But in an interview with The Crimson, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said he believes "[King's] affiliation [to Christian groups] was a fair question to ask. And the reaction to his affiliation is fair."

King said "religious bigotry" was also evident in the anonymous fliers that were found taped to some first-years' doors last weekend.

The fliers falsely claimed that King wanted religious groups to come "organize student life at Harvard."

Epps met with King yesterday about the incident, but King declined to file a formal complaint with the College about the fliers.

"They could [officially] bring it to the College's attention, but they don't wish to file a complaint about anti-Christian prejudices," Epps said. "I certainly condemn, on the College's behalf, any prejudiced literature," he added.

Religious beliefs became an issue in King's campaign after an election commission official sent an e-mail message to members of Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship seeking prayers for King and Driskell and asserting that "God's hand [was] directing them to run."

King said his campaign did not solicit the message.

Officials from the Interfaith Forum and the Secular Society said King's personal faith is not relevant to the elections.

"No candidate should face discrimination because of the non-issue of his or her personal religious stance, which as nothing at all to do with the campaign," said HSS President Derek C. Araujo '99.

Araujo said atheists have also been the victims of discrimination on the basis of their beliefs.

Neither HSS nor the Interfaith Forum has endorsed a candidate.

King said his mission of community building must involve people of all different creeds. "For what we're talking about to work, no one can be left out of this process," he said.

But King added that even though he is a final club member, he will not include finals clubs in his community building dialogues if he is elected president.

Final club members would be permitted to participate in his community-building dialogue as individuals but not as club members because the clubs are not officially recognized by the College, he said

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