Religion Column Degraded Valid Religious Beliefs and Practices Without Basis

by Tom Leatherbee | 11/13/98 6:00am

To the Editor:

It is with sadness and disgust that I write in response to the guest column "To Hell With Religion" that ran in The Dartmouth on Wednesday, Nov. 11. In this column, the author makes repeated overtures seeking to trivialize and degrade religious practices and canonical beliefs, at different points referring to the concept of religion as "silly," "ridiculous" and "nasty." The only basis presented for these attacks seem to be that religion causes unnecessary guilt, prevents promiscuous sex and "lengthily consumed perfectly good Sunday mornings."

It is clear that Weiss meant this column as a lighthearted satire, however in my opinion his literary mechanism left much to be desired. In a community such as ours, full of individuals with differing faiths and differing backgrounds, this sort of poor taste cannot simply be ignored. As a member of an academic community, I would wholeheartedly endorse the publication of a column attacking religion (or for that matter supporting religion) on the basis of thoughtful rhetoric; unfortunately this simply was not the case with Weiss' column.

I urge the author and The Dartmouth to exercise greater discretion in publishing columns that could so obviously offend members of our community. It is my hope that this letter will be seen not as an attack on a student trying to promulgate his views on an issue, but instead as an invitation to all concerned to engage in civil discourse on such a fundamental issue.