29 July 2008

It's okay, Barack. Jesus had trouble finding privacy in Israel, too.

It's hard to assess to what extent this is true, but I like to think that as a student at Duke Divinity School, I am part of a community that will hold me to a higher standard than the old "I will not lie, cheat, or steal..." of the Duke honor code. When our present community covenant was introduced in 2003, it was met with quite a bit of resistance - much of it from the undergrads on the staff of the school newspaper, who just didn't get it. (How presumptive for the school to think that it can meddle in the moral formation of its students!)

I was reminded of all this by a small story that emerged from Obama's trip to Jerusalem. He took part in the custom of writing a prayer to God and placing it in a crack of the Western Wall. A local seminary student went to the wall, found Obama's note, and shared it with a newspaper, which printed it. This is viewed as a profound desecration of a very holy place; the Duke equivalent might be if a student snuck a tape recorder into Coach K's confessional booth at church. Public confession and atonement are often necessary for these kinds of breaches. So yesterday the yeshiva student appeared (anonymously) on Israeli television to apologize. He also seems to have taken the opportunity to endorse Obama's candidacy. Whatever.

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