FOX News reports that an Australian hospital has banned religious symbols — from its chapel. Naturally, patients are outraged.
Managers at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney told worshippers they were allowed to display symbols during services but had to store them out of sight afterwards because the chapel was increasingly being used by people of a variety of faiths, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Some patients and families who’ve sought comfort from the chapel in the past said stripping it of its symbols strips it of its meaning, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“I used to sit there and pray when my wife was dying of breast cancer and look at that cross,” Mosman Mayor Dominic Lopez told the Telegraph. “Now it is just a hall …You either have a chapel or you don’t. It’s offensive to have a church or chapel and not have a cross in it.”
The hospital however said the decision was appropriate to appease all religions, the Telegraph reported.
Here’s that story from the Daily Telegraph (Australia): Hospital bans Bibles, crosses from chapel
If we were talking a government building, I would be in support of keeping the setting neutral, but this is a hospital chapel, for heaven’s sake. A place of worship is supposed to have Bibles and crosses and Stars of David and copies of the Koran and such.
Seems it makes better sense to welcome and display all religious symbols. If a grieving relative shows up from an unrepresented faith, have the chaplain add the new symbols to the collection. Consider commissioning a mural that encompasses a wide variety of faiths. With some creativity, surely other methods could be found if the goal is to be more welcoming. Putting religious sysmbols out of sight in a place where people go to find spiritual comfort at the worst possible times is anything but welcoming. The decision could end up doing emotional and spiritual harm. Isn’t the hospital’s job to do no harm?
I certainly understand the desire to avoid offending other people. Sometimes, though, political correctness does go too far.