14 April 1982 |
Daily Trojan (University of Southern California)
March 31 was what a university was all about. There were speakers, rallies and causes everywhere. Unfortunately, most of the activities of this remarkable day were happening at the same time - noon - and one had to choose between the appealing alternatives: W. Stanley Mooneyham was speaking in Norris as part of the University Religious Speakers series; Paul Conrad, cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times, was holding forth in Hancock; outdoors in the crystal-clear sunshine there was the USC Day of Prayer service (E.F. Hutton Park); and the rally in protest of the "Human Life Amendment" and the "Family Protection Act," a rally which featured Gore Vidal and Midge Costanza, among others.
While I decided to attend the rally in the SAC patio, I also spent a few minutes at the prayer meeting (the other two speeches simply were beyond my capabilities to be in two places at once). Besides the obvious difference in content, there were some subtle (?) touches distinguishing the two outdoor meetings.
I noticed four campus security officers at the rally while seeing none at the prayer meeting. I also noticed no recognizable university administrators at the rally while there were two on the platform at the prayer meeting.
These observations are even more interesting to me in light of reports that the rally organizers had been warned to keep noise to a minimum (I heard a singer at the prayer meeting as far away as the opposite side of Taper Hall, as I was approaching). And the rally had been limited to only an hour (I wonder if the prayer meeting and/or the other speeches on campus had similar firm restrictions?). All this made me wonder about priorities.
Possibly the most uplifting and meaningful comment of the whole experience for me was the one made by the moderator of the rally, who suggested that it might have been a good idea to combine USC Day of Prayer with the political rally, as the issues being discussed were certainly worthy of the concern of those who believe in prayer. I agree wholeheartedly.
One last question: During the time I was away from the prayer meeting, did anyone mention solidarity with the social causes being espoused at the rally, or at least with the underlying concern with social issues? Somehow I doubt it.
March 31 was a challenging and exciting day, indeed. Keep it up, USC.