The Colgate Scene
November 2003


Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon H'00 shares a bit of light humor alongside Christine Duncan '06 before his presentation in the Hall of Presidents. [Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko]

"We have a kind of inalienable right to grasp the world, and use the world, and control the world. Well, scripture is not like that. It's about knowledge that grasps you. You don't grasp it. It's about a knowledge that is thick and multivalent and polyphonic. And it's that kind of knowing that I find the modern university often ill at ease with, because modernity by its nature tends to be reductionistic, simplistic, narrow . . ."

"Islam, or the religious dimension, was always present in their [the state's] politics. That is why my suggestion is not that there is no relationship between Islam and politics, but that the state was secure, and by the way my sense is that the state can never be other than secure. The idea of a religious state is incomprehensible. It doesn't make sense. A state can not have a religion. A state is a political institution. And whatever religion is expressed through the institutions of a state just happens to be the beliefs and convictions of those who control the state. So it is not the state that is religious; it is religious people who control the state, so if you lift the veil of the state, what you see is those human beings acting out their own convictions through the institutions of the state. My proposition is that Islam and the state can not be united."

Abdullahi An-Na'im, C.H. Candler Professor of law at Emory University and an internationally recognized scholar of Islam and human rights, and human rights in cross-cultural perspectives, reacts to comments made by President Chopp before his CEWS lecture.

Writer and producer Mike Reiss autographs a Homer Simpson poster after his talk in the Hall of Presidents.

"I wrote 60 jokes a day [working for the Tonight Show]. If you write comedy for a living, you can't get writer's block. You should do it because you can't help yourself . . . The first thing everybody always asks [about The Simpsons] is, how do we get those great guests to star on the show? We have a trick. If the celebrity has a kid, the kid will make them do the show. Last year, the Rolling Stones did the show because their grandchildren made them do it . . . The weird thing is, when we insult celebrities, they love it. We called Rick Dees a moron and the next day he sent us a basket of cookies."

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