The Brown and the Gold - May 1996

Opinion --
Religion is a delicate issue
Commentary by Priya Kapoor
Excerpted from The Tiger

Last semester, The Tiger published an editorial on how Diwali was neglected in Woodstock. Since then, Dr. Barton, Mr. Wilkins and other staff have taken extra measures to ensure that high school students were made aware of Holi [and other religious holidays of India. I Mr. Wilkins plans to initiate comparative religious studies in Middle School. Dr. Barton and Mr. Wilkins agree that students should be allowed to celebrate their festivals and if necessary, go to the temple, mosque or monastery. Mr. Wilkins feels that "we should enter into each other's religious views with imagination, empathy and sensitivity.

Over the years, students have been quick to label Woodstock as an intolerant and strictly Christian school, where staff members are insensitive to others' religions. But this accusation is neither true nor just. The school is deemed as a Christian international school, and this is made clear to all those who apply to study here. Woodstock's philosophy is to base the school on Christian teaching and principles, but it does allow enough space for students from other faiths to practice their religion. It is just a question of how those of us who are non-Christians choose to use the freedom granted to us.

Dr. Barton recalls that when he first came to Woodstock, there was compulsory chapel for all students every week. The Muslim girls didn't visit the mosque on Id until 1992, when one of them showed interest and they were allowed to go. In recent times, things have changed a great deal and students of all religions have an opportunity to visit their places of worship if a proposal is handed to the administration in advance.

Many non-Christian students find prejudice where there is a holiday for Good Friday and not one for Id, Diwali, or Losar. What we do have to keep in mind is that this is a Christian school, so it is only fair that school is shut on a major Christian holiday. Nevertheless, the administration should consider either shortening the periods or giving a half day off for one major festival of each religion represented at Woodstock.

On behalf of Hindu, Buddhists, Muslim students and anyone else who shares our view, we thank and congratulate the school for being sensitive and allowing people of all persuasions the time to celebrate their festivals the way they want.



A second for old times sake
Ajit Sherring ('89), running the anchor leg for the WOSA team, storms to a second place finish in the 100 meter open relay on Sports Day. Atul Datta ('90), Tom Alter ('68) and Jonnie Mendies ('95) ran the first three legs. WOSA members should note that Devina Anand ('77) finished second in the sack race, but was competing as a parent rather than an old student.


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