King’s Chapel must be demolished in 2015
It’s a symbol of oppression
Content Note: capitalism, colonialism, sexism, racism, mental health, homophobia, tendentious language
When I think of the intrusive and dominating figure of King’s Chapel it is hard not to burst into tears. On my morning walks, I can barely glance at it without shaking in fear and anger. Its incessant bells often leave me sobbing, curled up in the corner of my room and I have had enough.
Before I go on, let me explain.
I am a student activist and with the support of nearly fifty like-minded peers I started TDKCN (Tear Down King’s Chapel Now). We are a grassroots social-media based movement aiming to remove an offensive and potentially triggering building from the grounds.
As a King’s student with a very sensitive disposition towards all forms of oppression, I feel I am under a constant psychic attack by the presence of the Chapel. It dominates the landscape and culture of my college and makes living and working at here totally unsafe.
Many students have agreed they feel unsafe here due to the presence of the Chapel. The question must now be asked: which is more important, preserving King’s Chapel, or preserving the health and welfare of students?
A more in-depth explanation of our position, including student testimonials, meeting times/guidelines, and a proposed timeline and method for the demolition, will be published in the near future. In the meantime, we have provided the outline of our campaign platform and the reasons behind the push to demolish the Chapel:
1. The KC is a longstanding symbol of Christian oppression, Western dominance, colonialism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, capitalism, Anglocentrism, and elitism. Demolishing it would strike at the heart of all forms of institutionalised discrimination and oppression.
2. The KC is used as a means of monetary profit for the college through tourism, conferences, and corporate events, which does not directly benefit student welfare.
3. The KC, a definitively Christian space, must not be allowed to dominate the lives and space of a diverse, multi-faith student body.
4. The KC acts as a glorification of Anglocentric Western architecture and ideals, and the college should work to avoid alienating its growing proportion of international students.
5. The Chapel Choir, an organisation notorious for its promotion of sexism (the choir is all male) and oppressive Christian ideology, would likely be disbanded.
6. The design of the Chapel is plain ugly—from its phallic turrets to its overbearing height, I think we can all agree that King’s would be a much nicer place without it.
7. The KC is part of the College, a space which students call home and which ultimately must serve students, so the decision of whether to keep it standing or destroy it should be left to the students.
8. An empty lot on the site of the current KC could be put to use as a non-exclusive, non-denominational place of prayer and worship. The flat dirt area would be an ideal place for student welfare meetings, solidarity sessions, lived-experience testimonials, political demonstrations, performances of The Vagina Monologues, drum circles, etc.
To those of you who disagree with this preliminary article or our movement as a whole: before commenting, we encourage you to stop and engage in a process of self-reflection. Do your personal interests lead you to silence or invalidate other voices? Does your position of privilege inform your disagreements with our campaign? Do you have a right to be offended or to disagree with our campaign’s message?
We’d like every reader opposed to this campaign to see the correct point of view by finding it within themselves. Perhaps this might show some readers that we are as passionate about reconciliation as we are about reform. This dominating, offensive, and politically problematic part of King’s College must die out for good.