A Prayer for Owen Meany
And there was the column about required church-attendance, arguing that "IT RUINS THE PROPER ATMOSPHERE FOR PRAYER AND WORSHIP TO HAVE THE CHURCH—ANY CHURCH—FULL OF RESTLESS ADOLESCENTS WHO WOULD RATHER BE SLEEPING LATE OR INDULGING IN SEXUAL FANTASIES OR PLAYING SQUASH. FURTHERMORE, REQUIRING ATTENDANCE AT CHURCH—FORCING YOUNG PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RITUALS OF A BELIEF THEY DON'T SHARE—SERVES MERELY TO PREJUDICE THOSE SAME YOUNG PEOPLE AGAINST ALL RELIGIONS, AND AGAINST SINCERELY RELIGIOUS BELIEVERS. I BELIEVE THAT IT IS NOT THE PURPOSE OF A LIBERAL EDUCATION TO BROADEN AND EXPAND OUR PREJUDICES." (6.202)
Once again, The Voice put us in our places. "IT IS HARD TO KNOW IN THE WAKE OF THE DISTURBING DANCE WEEKEND, WHETHER OUR ESTEEMED PEERS OR OUR ESTEEMED FACULTY CHAPERONES SHOULD BE MORE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. IT IS PUERILE FOR YOUNG MEN TO DISCUSS WHAT DEGREE OF ADVANTAGE THEY TOOK OF THEIR DATES; IT IS DISRESPECTFUL OF WOMEN—ALL THIS CHEAP BRAGGING—AND IT GIVES MEN A BAD REPUTATION. WHY SHOULD WOMEN TRUST US? BUT IT IS HARD TO SAY WHETHER THIS BOORISH BEHAVIOR IS WORSE OR BETTER THAN THE GESTAPO TACTICS OF OUR CHAPERONES." (6.229)
There was more, and it was worse. Owen suggested that someone check into the admissions policy at the small private day school in Lake Forest; were there any Jews or blacks in Mr. White's school? Mr. Early, in his capacity as faculty adviser to The Grave, killed the column; the part about the faculty being "TYPICAL TEACHERS—INDECISIVE, WISHY-WASHY" […] that was what forced Mr. Early's hand. Dan Needham agreed that the column should have been killed.
"You can't imply that someone is a racist or an anti-Semite, Owen," Dan told him. You have to have proof." (6.384-385)