The University Record, June 5, 1995


As chair of the Board of Directors, co-ministers of Guild House, an interfaith, justice and peace ministry at the University of Michigan, and as president of the U-M Association of Religious Counselors, which represents campus religious leaders from a wide spectrum of faith traditions, we feel it important to respond to Mr. Bruce Bender's letter (printed in the May 8 issue of The University Record and the May 11 issue of The Ann Arbor News) calling for the Division of Students Affairs to establish an "Office of American Christian Culture."

We find Mr. Bender's proposal contradicts the spirit of religious tolerance that has always been so crucial to the integrity and vitality of American democracy. An "Office of American Christian Culture" at a state-funded public institution like the University of Michigan clearly violates the long-standing, cherished principle against governmentally established religion.

While we oppose University support for a particular religious viewpoint as advocated in Mr. Bender's proposal, we fully support the expression of particular faith perspectives on the part of students, faculty and staff. As an alternative to Mr. Bender's "Office of American Christian Culture," we advocate the re-establishment of the U-M Office of Ethics and Religion, which provided educational opportunities and counseling services reflective of the rich diversity of ethical and religious perspectives present within American society and our campus community.

Rev. Jodi Bushdiecker Atwood, president, U-M Association of Religious Counselors, and co-minister, Guild House Campus Ministry

Rev. Christopher Atwood, co-minister, Guild House Campus Ministry

LeRoy Cappaert, chair, Guild House Board of Directors