As commencement season winds down, Samantha Reinis at Campus Reform reported that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology expunged God from its invocation on June 6 -- in the name of "inclusion."
This decision came after an op-ed in the campus newspaper The Tech by graduate student Aaron Scheinburg, who argued the prayer should avoid religion. (?)
Scheinburg claimed “It would be so easy — embarrassingly easy — to extend [the prayer's] message to 100 percent of students by simply not invoking religion....If the administration wants to accommodate everyone, it should minimize exclusion, not average presumed personal preferences. Simply not mentioning God would exclude no one.”
Scheinburg mentioned a colleague who felt the God mention was an insult: “Distanced from the religious pressure of his community back home, he eventually left religion entirely — a transition he viewed with pride, as another accomplishment facilitated by the intellectually open atmosphere of MIT.”
When asked whether he was personally in favor of the change, MIT chaplain Robert Randolph said: “I think there is more conversation to be had. We are a very diverse community and silence is not inclusion nor does it lead to education.”
Randolph began his invocation by addressing the controversy around the issue. “Some of you are aware that this portion of the commencement program got a bit of conversation started here on campus this year. As is often the case when thoughtful people talk about important matters, everyone benefited,” he argued.
The chaplain then began his secular invocation by stating that “[t]oday is the beginning of a new chapter in our collective lives, we have come from many places and we are grateful for the shared energy we have found here.”
Randolph finished with “these amended words” from Maya Angelou: “Here on the pulse of this new day, may we have the grace to look up and out. May we look into our sister's eyes. May we look into our brother's face, may we look at our country and say simply, very simply, with hope good morning, and it is good.”