Precinct 333

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Is A Hospital Chapel An Appropriate Place For A Cross?

Yeah, you read that question correctly. What frightens me is that some hospital administrator in St. Paul, Minnesota has answered the question with a resounding "NO!"
Let's try this again. The hospital decided to remove the cross from the chapel. Chapel. There was a fear, apparently acted on by hospital administrators that the cross could be offensive to those who use the chapel but are put off their game by a crucifix.

"Regions doesn't have a religious affiliation,'' said Vince Rivard, the hospital's spokesman.

Rivard is a cool, collected fellow. When I expressed astonishment that a cross would be removed from a chapel, he calmly explained that this is a growing trend in the hospital industry.

"It's a natural evolution,'' Rivard said. "We have a more diverse population in St. Paul, with people having more diverse religious beliefs.''

So what?

I guess I could understand a hospital removing a cross from the property if the cross was planted in the front yard, or illuminated up on the roof or was a focal point of the lobby. You could certainly make a reasonable argument that such a symbol would be out of place in a hospital that has no religious connection.

But this is a new one for me.


To think that someone could be offended by a cross in a chapel is like believing that someone could be offended by a safe in a bank.

But don't worry -- they do allow the cross to be taken out of hiding for daily Mass. At least until someone decides that it is offensive to allow daily Mass, and instead replaces that with a hand-holding Kumbayah circle.

Over 380 employees of the hospital have petitioned for the return of the cross to its proper place in the chapel, But Rivard, the administrator, says the decision is final, no matter how many folks sign the petition.

Let's test that one. Tell Vince Rivard that the Cross needs to go back in the Chapel. You can contact him here:,1639,contact,00.html
I'll refrain from posting the phone number, because I don't want to risk disrupting essential phone service to the hospital.


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