Crimson opinion writer
Aidan R. Scully
Aidan R. Scully ’25 is a Classics and Religion concentrator in Adams House. His column “The Free Exercise Thereof” appears on alternate Tuesdays.
Harvard is no longer a Christian institution. But being a pluralistic institution means doing more than just dropping “Christo et Ecclesiae” from the motto, and being a pluralistic country means doing more than using “historical significance” as a legal justification. Only once we acknowledge who our physical society privileges, and who it excludes, can non-Christians truly be equal participants in our national identity.
If we are to make legislative invocations a genuinely inclusive civic practice, we must ensure that all of the many religious and nonreligious communities that make up our country can be and are welcomed.
It is people of color, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, and women who suffer whenever these exemptions are invoked, and these groups will continue to suffer unless the laws designed to protect them are allowed to fulfill their full purpose. Bigotry is bigotry, and if we do not fight it wherever we see it, we are not fighting it at all.
A small, reactionary subset of hardline Christians see the loss of absolute supremacy for Christianity in America’s religious landscape and view it as discrimination.