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Born_again
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Progress

Post by Born_again »

University of Alberta works out compromise on motion to take God out of grad
at 21:24 on January 26, 2009, EDT.
By THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON - The University of Alberta has reached a compromise on a push by a group of campus atheists and agnostics to take a mention of God out of convocation ceremonies.

A majority of members of the campus General Faculties Council voted Monday to change the wording in the speech, a move that was applauded by the campus group that launched the challenge.

In the old graduation speech, the chancellor of the university urged graduates to use their new degrees "for the glory of God and the honour of your country."

The new speech will now say that the degrees should be used "for the uplifting of the whole people; to inspire the human spirit; for all who believe to serve your God; and to pursue more steadfastly whatsoever things are true."

Ian Bushfield, spokesman for the University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics, said the new wording is more inclusive of those who are non-believers.

"I'm definitely pleased with the new convocation charge that they've brought forward. It's not the most ideal or eloquent one that could have come forward but it's more inclusive of all parties involved in this debate," he said as he headed to a campus debate with a Christian student's group on the existence of God.

The debate over the proposal to take God out of graduation was worthwhile, adding that at least it brought the issue to the public's attention, Bushfield said.

Everyone should feel welcome to participate, not just those who believe in God, Bushfield suggested.

"I think it's good that we can bring forward issues in a civil manner, that we want to include everyone at these types of events. It's definitely better to debate these issues than not."

Provost Carl Amrhein said the debate shows that the university is an open and transparent organization.

It remains to be seen whether other groups could challenge the council's decision, said university spokeswoman Deb Hammacher.

"It was a great debate, very open and very collegial, very passionate people on both sides. But always very collegial and respectful," Hammacher said.

J.D. Crookshanks, the student whose petition helped to lob the debate into a public forum, said the issue of referencing God in such public addresses isn't going to go away.

"It's a public university. Whether religious aspects should be raised in a convocation, that was the intent behind the petition I wrote," he said after the council meeting Monday.

Seventy-one members of the council voted in favour of changing the wording in the speech, 17 voted against and 10 abstained.

Last year, when the issue first surfaced on the council's radar, at least one Christian campus group said it wasn't opposed to removing the reference to God.

But Paul Tan also said he didn't want the address to "open the floodgates to restrict us in our practices on campus and the right for us to share our beliefs with others."

The issue began brewing last summer when Bushfield asked university officials to make the change.

He was rebuffed, so wrote an opinion column in the university student newspaper The Gateway, which ignited a war of conflicting opinions in print letters and online.

©The Canadian Press, 2009
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steven lloyd
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Re: Progress

Post by steven lloyd »

Born_again wrote: The new speech will now say that the degrees should be used "for the uplifting of the whole people; to inspire the human spirit; for all who believe to serve your God; and to pursue more steadfastly whatsoever things are true."

Ian Bushfield, spokesman for the University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics, said the new wording is more inclusive of those who are non-believers.


That is progressive. Good on them.
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usquebaugh
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Re: Progress

Post by usquebaugh »

Born_again wrote:University of Alberta works out compromise on motion to take God out of grad


I'm still not going to my grad ceremony -- it's far too boring! Such a waste of time when one can pick the degree up at the FGSR, or have it mailed home. There are parties to be had instead (yes, even on a Thursday afternoon!). :sillygrin:
Where oh where’d my body go?
Africa or Mexico?
Where or where’d my body go?
Where’d my body go?
Have you seen my ghost?
Staring at the ground?
Have you seen my ghost?
Sick of those *bleep* clouds
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Born_again
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Re: Progress

Post by Born_again »

It sounds a bit messy, as well as a mouthful, but I do like the bit about "inspire human spirit". We are going to need a chunk of that in the coming years!
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eyepop
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Re: Progress

Post by eyepop »

indeed.

all it had to say was, "for the uplifting of the whole people; to inspire the human spirit and to pursue more steadfastly whatsoever things are true."


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Born_again
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Re: Progress

Post by Born_again »

I'll second that, eyepop.
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usquebaugh
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Re: Progress

Post by usquebaugh »

As much as the change in the Provost's address is nice, it's really the long-winded gas bags receiving their honourary doctorates that one wants to watch out for at these ceremonies. When they're supposed to give speeches lasting a few minutes, they tend to drag on for 15-20 minutes when the actual graduates would much rather be celebrating!
Where oh where’d my body go?
Africa or Mexico?
Where or where’d my body go?
Where’d my body go?
Have you seen my ghost?
Staring at the ground?
Have you seen my ghost?
Sick of those *bleep* clouds
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Nebula
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Re: Progress

Post by Nebula »

Usquebaugh, will you be celebrating liberally or will you be conservative in your imbibing?
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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usquebaugh
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Re: Progress

Post by usquebaugh »

writerdave wrote:Usquebaugh, will you be celebrating liberally or will you be conservative in your imbibing?


Socially.
Where oh where’d my body go?
Africa or Mexico?
Where or where’d my body go?
Where’d my body go?
Have you seen my ghost?
Staring at the ground?
Have you seen my ghost?
Sick of those *bleep* clouds
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Nebula
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Re: Progress

Post by Nebula »

:dyinglaughing: I knew you were going to say that.

Have fun! (But stay away from tequila and Jack Daniel's.)
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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usquebaugh
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Re: Progress

Post by usquebaugh »

Thanks! Like many of my friends (not to mention, my supervisor and thesis committee), I will probably be enjoying Guinness and Scotch (but not in that order!). The one exception will be my poor friend with Celiac disease, who generally has to stick to wine (not that he minds!).
Where oh where’d my body go?
Africa or Mexico?
Where or where’d my body go?
Where’d my body go?
Have you seen my ghost?
Staring at the ground?
Have you seen my ghost?
Sick of those *bleep* clouds
maxx
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Re: Progress

Post by maxx »

Born_again wrote:I'll second that, eyepop.


I'll third that!!!

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