Thursday, April 2, 2009

Brooklyn Law School Designating a Contemplation Room in the Library

Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Brooklyn Law School has recently announced the creation of a designated "Contemplation Room" in the Brooklyn Law School Library.

"In response to the request of several students and student groups, we are pleased to announce the designation of Room 104M in the Library as a “Contemplation Room.” Starting today, the room will be dedicated to and limited to quiet devotion and prayer."*

*E-mail from Dean Jones-Woodin to student body on March 17, 2009.


  1. Even though this issue seems trivial, I personally feel as though it is the exact situation that requires an active voice from the secular community.

  2. The issue is kind of trivial, but I still think we should make a bit of an issue over it. Particularly because the whole 'contemplation room' thing is just appeasement to a community that the administration is afraid to offend.

    The fact that the room is being re - purposed from quiet studying to quiet contemplating isn't really a change at all. I think it is clear that they are just trying to make the minimum effort to quiet a squeaky wheel that its socially unacceptable to ignore.

    I think the main issue for people posting here is why student religious groups need to be appeased at all; and whether they are given special treatment over non - religious groups since it is less acceptable to ignore them (and face accusations of intolerance).

  3. I completely agree with Schuyler's suggestion, that a potential solution to the problem of the prayer room, whatever one's objection to it, is to make it open to all students to do whatever they want, including pray, study, contemplate Our Noodley Master, take naps, or what not.

    However, to opine on a point which Schuyler raised:

    By opposing the prayer/contemplation/quiet room simply because of its religious connotations, and demanding that those connotations be removed, we back ourselves into an extremist, reactionary corner, marginalized farther than we already were.

    I think that one's viewpoint on this and similar topics depends on whether one sees atheism as one of many tasty "belief entrees", or as the only rational choice on a menu of silliness.

    If any religion, including atheism, is an equally valid choice, then it would indeed be hypocritical to be opposed to something like the prayer room solely because it is religious.

    However, one may instead view atheism as the most (or perhaps, only) reasonable & rational theory of existence, similarly to the way one would view the theory of gravity as the most rational explanation for why things fall.

    If one takes the latter view, is it reactionary/extremist/(wrong?) to object to something religious solely on that grounds that it is religious? I'm not sure that it is, any more than it would be wrong to object to BLS dedicating a room to the theory of things falling because the wind blows them down, or the theory of the Atlantic Ocean vomiting up the Sun every morning so we can find our way to classes.

  4. re: Kyle's email about BLSSLS raison d'etre / QC's above post

    I wasn't at the meeting, so I missed any discussion about how we planned to characterize the goals of BLSSLS.

    Perhaps we could put together some sort of mission statement.

    I, for one, would like to see the organization focus on promoting respect for non - spiritual / irrational / stupid ways of thinking about things.

    I'm less concerned about promoting atheism (arguably fitting in the above category) than I am about promoting the separation between church and everything else.

  5. Liam-
    The Jerk Store called, they're running out of you.


  6. I agree with Liam. I applaud his ability to stand out and say what he believes, WITHOUT an alias -- he is far braver than even I.

    For those of you who sent emails about promoting hate, although I do not condone it, under the US Constitution, such beliefs and statements are protected speech -- and rightfully so. If you want to preach hate, you may do so as it is your right, just as it is my right to say whatever I want. The only line to be drawn is at direct insults or speech aimed to create violence.