The following is the transcript of an interview between Weekly reporter Greg Feiner and the Herrick Interfaith Center (the literal building). The transcript has been edited for length.
Greg Feiner: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me.
Herrick Chapel: No problem. I’m literally built into the ground, so it wasn’t too hard to make the time.
GF: So to start off, what’s your full name and title?
HC: I am The Margaret Brown Herrick Memorial Chapel (or Interfaith Center) and the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL).
GF: Wow, that’s a mouthful.
HC: That’s why I usually just go by “Herrick.”
GF: Yeah, that’s understandable. And what precisely is your function for students?
HC: I am the center of all religious life on campus.
GF: And that includes all religions represented on campus, correct?
HC: Absolutely! Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, you name it.
GF: And you represent them all equally?
HC: You bet I do!
GF: So, why is it that you’re shaped like a cross?
HC: … I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.
GF: I mean, you’re literally built in the shape of a cross. I suppose I’m just a little confused as to how that represents all religions equally.
HC: You said this was going to be a puff piece.
GF: And you haven’t answered my question.
HC: You know what, I’m pretty offended by your insinuation that because I’m shaped like a cross, I favor Christianity.
GF: And yet the cross is the most prominent Christian symbol?
HC: Just because I’m shaped this way doesn’t mean I’m confined to your human ideas of symbolism.
GF: Well, the humans who founded this school built you in 1887 to function as a Christian chapel — again, in the shape of a cross. So, I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate.
HC: Specifically, I was originally a Presbyterian chapel.
GF: So you admit it!
HC: Okay, yes. So what if I “visually symbolize the college’s roots in the Christian tradition.” That doesn’t have to define me. I can work for other religions as well. I don’t have to be just one thing.
GF: I thought you weren’t confined to human ideas of symbolism.
HC: Well —
GF: Ok, that was a cheap shot, I’m sorry.
HC: And I forgive you. Like Jesus would.
GF: Like Jesus, huh?
HC: …or Buddha.
GF: Look, I’m not saying you can’t be more than just a Christian chapel or that you can’t support non-Christian religions …
HC: So, what are you saying?
GF: I’m saying that I don’t think you can claim to equally be a space for, say, Jewish or Muslim students when there are Christian stained glass windows lining your walls and your entire structure and foundation is constructed in the shape of a crucifix.
HC: You know, Jesus is one of the most respected prophets of both Judaism and Islam.
GF: But is he the main one, though?
HC: Get out.
GF: I thought churches were open to everyone.
HC: They are, unless you ask too many questions.