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Open Letter to the Voters of the 12th Senate District of Virginia About Vince Haley

By Jim Jones

I’m not a resident of the 12th District, but after hearing that Vince Haley was running for Senate, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my personal experience with Vince and share some of my thoughts on the leadership and commitment you can expect if you elect Vince.

Vince Haley I and are both graduates of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, but we graduated several years apart so I did not know him then.  It turns out that Vince and I have several things in common: a love for the nation’s second-oldest College, a deep and abiding respect for her history and traditions, a desire to keep William and Mary firmly among the best schools in the nation, and a willingness to stand up and fight for something we believe in.

In July of 2005, before I knew Vince, Gene R. Nichol became President of the College of William and Mary.  We didn’t take much notice at the time, though the news in mid-2006 that Mr. Nichol had decided to acquiesce to the NCAA’s demand to remove the feathers from the W&M logo – we were “the Tribe” – had caused me to raise my eyebrows.  Our athletic program logos were in my opinion, and Vince’s as I later found, both tasteful and inoffensive, as several tribes in the area had told us.  We were “The Tribe,” and to us that spoke of unity, teamwork, pride, and victory: qualities that emphasize the best qualities of the Native American.  While it was clear that political correctness was behind the NCAA’s action, we thought at the time that perhaps Mr. Nichol had determined not to pursue against a ruling that had already been set in stone.

Yet it was not long before Mr. Nichol was again in the news.  Apparently a prospective student touring the Chapel at the College’s historic Sir Christopher Wren building, the oldest College building in the nation, caught a glimpse of the small gold cross on the altar and ran screaming from the building, much as a vampire might upon seeing a crucifix or a bulb of garlic.  Someone wrote to Mr. Nichol, who decided in October of 2006 to remove the cross from public display and store it in the sacristy (essentially a closet) unless someone using the Chapel specifically requested it be brought out.  The College’s previous policy was to remove the cross upon request since students of many faiths use the Chapel.  The policy had worked well for decades.  Thus began a “culture war” over the cross, and thus I met Vince Haley.

Mr. Nichol’s contention was that the cross was “unwelcoming to students of other faiths” and so it needed to be hidden in a closet to avoid offending anyone visiting the only non-secular space on campus; a space known as the “Wren Chapel” because it was, in fact, a chapel.  Cross or no cross, it is unmistakably a Chapel.  A small one, but open and welcoming to all, in the nation’s oldest College building.  Where students used to worship.  A part of history.  And only ten yards away is the Great Hall of the Wren Building, equally beautiful and historic and with no religious context.

On Sunday, October 29, 2006, Vince Haley read in the Richmond Times Dispatch that William & Mary’s President Gene Nichol had ordered the removal of the Wren Cross from the Wren Chapel.  On Tuesday, October 31, Vince registered the web site, and later that day contacted three William & Mary students to discuss collaborating on efforts to oppose and seek the reversal of President Nichol’s order to remove the Wren Cross.

Vince led the effort, recruiting supporters and building a successful movement of students, alumni, and friends of the College who publicized the issue in newspapers, on radio, on television, and on the Internet.  Vince created a petition which garnered over 17,000 signatures.  Vince, while opposed to the removal of the cross on the grounds of history and tradition, was moved to action by the idea that the mere presence of the cross was unwelcoming and symbolized not the love of God, but rather historical oppression.  I was one of those who heard Vince’s call and joined the movement, getting to know the man who now seeks to become your representative in the Virginia Senate.

The result of Vince’s efforts was a victory: the return of the cross to the Wren Chapel on a permanent basis.  A victory for religious freedom, for history, and for tradition.  And a firm and enduring stance against the idea of an unwelcoming cross.

The experience Vince and I shared is relevant to all Virginians, not just the 12th Senate District, because the implication of what Mr. Nichol said – that the Cross was somehow unwelcoming – has implications for all Virginians.  The cross at Cape Charles, the cross on the mace carried in at the start of the General Assembly session, and the cross in the Virginia Beach city logo.  What does it say to people of faith in particular that the oldest college in Virginia would declare the cross an unwelcoming symbol?  Vince called out the lie, stood up for religious freedom, history, and tradition and against political correctness, and fought back intelligently, with forcefulness and persistence, raising an army of allies that ultimately overwhelmed the politically-correct establishment that saw Nichol’s actions as right and proper and beyond criticism.

This is the sort of leadership, energy, and dedication that the 12th can expect from Vince Haley.  I’ve seen it first-hand and I know how hard he will work for you and for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Jim Jones

W&M Class of 1982

Alexandria, Virginia

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

3 Responses to “Open Letter to the Voters of the 12th Senate District of Virginia About Vince Haley”

  1. Janine Woods

    Mr. Jones, thank you so much for sharing your story. We, in the 12th District, appreciate information about candidates.

    • Bob Lane says:

      We do indeed appreciate information about our candidates.

      This is why I was disappointed to see this morning that Siobahan Stolle-Dunnavant did not fill out the NRA’s survey. She is the only candidate to skip it. She also didn’t bother to fill out the VCDL’s survey. Again she was the only candidate to skip it.

      With the State Senate hanging by one vote we cannot afford to put another RINO in who will stab us in the back when our 2nd Amendment rights come up for a vote.

      Does Dr. Stolle agree with our new Surgeon General Vivek Murthy that our right to keep and bear arms is a public health threat?

  2. Karla Bruno says:

    Vince showed himself a true fighter for religious freedom and the 1st amendment during the Wren Cross debacle. I worked with him as part of the alumni revolution. He’s exactly what the kind of principled leader we need in the GA, someone who won’t back down or cow-tow to special interests anywhere. Vote Vince June 9th!


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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