I’ve always admired people who have the courage to ask me direct and sometimes provocative questions about my faith. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the “Mormon” Church or the LDS Church. I am oftentimes barraged with questions regarding polygamy in my family (“Hey so you have, like, six moms, right?”), Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon or Proposition 8. The list goes on. The fact of the matter is, I love answering questions about my religion. I very strongly believe that if I were to feel uncomfortable supporting or talking about my religion, then I probably shouldn’t be part of it anymore. Answering questions about my faith reaffirms my conviction to follow it. However, I have been disheartened to find that, on this campus, as Tia Baheri ’12 mentioned in her article last week, we do not create an environment open to discussion of religion. Indeed, the problem we face with religion on this campus is not the tyranny of intolerance or belligerence but rather the tyranny of silence and ignorance. With assistance from the CAMD office, CAFÉ, GSA and All-School Meetings speakers like Spike Lee, this school does make a relatively successful attempt of promoting open dialogue about race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality – but not religion. It’s as if religion rests on some untouchable pedestal of sensitivity that makes countless students, administrators and faculty alike cower away in a cloud of “political correctness” and “diplomatic sensitivity.” The resulting sentiment for religious students, however, is not one of acceptance or approval, but one of isolation or sometimes even ostracism. I feel as though by not discussing religion on this campus we demonize it. Something needs to change. I have an idea that might help: make the Bible a required text for all incoming students. Allow me to explain further. I think it’s a pretty safe assumption to say that the majority of literature a Phillips Academy student will read during their four years at this institution will be Western literature – literature replete with numerous allusions to the Bible. I have found in my own experience with English 300 and English electives that students holding a Bible background can pull so much more information and meaning from texts like Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Twain’s “Huck Finn,” or Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” than their Bible-less counterparts. By not requiring students to read the Bible, we are denying the majority of pupils on this campus the opportunity for a more meaningful literary study throughout their years at Andover. Some might be inflamed at the notion of requiring students to read the Bible whilst not requiring a study of Islam’s Qur’an, Buddhism’s Mahayana Sutras or other religious texts. But the fact of the matter is that almost all of the authors we read in the classroom grew up reading the Bible and many were influenced by the Bible. If the authors of the texts we read were brought up as, for example, Muslims, then I would suggest that we instead read the Qur’an. It doesn’t matter particularly to me what canon we study so long as it furthers our understanding of the literature we read in the classroom. I propose further that, by adopting a religious text as requisite material, we can open the door to religious dialogue on this campus. I cannot tell you how many thought-provoking and meaningful discussions I have had with other students in my dorm revolving around materials that we have read in class. If we were to bring the Bible into the academic sphere at Phillips Academy (with acknowledgement of both non-believers and believers in the classroom) I am fully confident that dialogue would arise regarding religion. And with that dialogue, I believe a constructive and refreshingly intellectual atmosphere surrounding religion would arise – not an atmosphere of simply tolerance and coexistence, but one of mutual respect and personal development. Scotty Fleming is a two-year Senior from Salt Lake City, UT.