As a recent graduate of Ole Miss, I have still noticed that religious adherence to “The Creed” by the UM administration warrants an article of faith.
The trappings of doctrine are apparent: Chancellor Vitter serves as high priest, with the Office of Student Life chiefly in charge of its sacraments.
A majority of the campus, I would venture, stands largely agnostic to its truth claims. However, perhaps the faithless can be inspired by acts of devotion—those who occupied the Lyceum were disciples, as the chancellor noted, “respectful and civil in our discourse, as called for in The Creed.”
Or as another on the scene moralized, all should come to faith and “preach constantly about the importance of our creed and upholding it.” In times of crisis, the chancellor always falls back on that old-time religion, usually followed by email directives from the magisterium on how to best apply its teachings to our daily lives.
I have no problem with what the Creed states: It is honestly a repackaging of some of the most palatable facets of the moral laws of the great world religions.
I also do no object to the sincerity of its practitioners—I do question whether it has the institutional power to truly redeem men’s souls. There is no need for definite redemption in “the Creed.” Unless, of course, one has violated the “the Creed.”
In times past, conduct may have been controlled by a common grace: decency or manners. In our brave new world, students should count their blessings to have the power and authority of this faith to shape lives.
And if this letter were further lacking in subtlety, take heed to those who critique or stray from this orthodoxy, as you may be branded a heretic.
Garret Wilkerson is a 2016 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law