Lariat Letter: Even if you choose to not participate in Chapel, show some respect

Since it is a requirement for all students, it’s not surprising that Chapel isn’t everyone’s favorite. I understand that. But I do want to ask—even if you don’t enjoy Chapel at all—please don’t whisper while it’s going on. This should be a fundamental courtesy. Whispering is rude and disrespectful to other students and to those on stage.

If you can’t sing, I’m not asking that you sing. If you disagree with the words of the liturgy, you are free not to read the responses. If you have no interest in the invited speaker, go ahead and zone out. I’m not asking anyone to participate in Chapel if they don’t want to, although if you do, it might be more fun than you expected. But remember that what’s boring you might be exactly what the person in the next row needed to hear. So please respect that person and don’t distract them with a constant buzz of whispering.

Distracting and annoying as it is to fellow students, whispering is even more disrespectful to the speakers and performers who lead Chapel. Today, during Jessica Kemp’s beautiful, moving performance of “Walk With Me,” I heard numerous students whispering not just before and after the song, but even during the song itself when she made a dramatic pause. That sends a message to her that Baylor students don’t care about her talent and her passion. I don’t think that’s the message we mean to send, so let’s make sure we don’t send it.

How about a couple of weeks ago, when Beverly Gooden gave her amazing message, or when Jeanne Bishop shared her heartbreaking story? Although it quieted down as their talks went on, there was plenty of whispering then too. People come to speak to us who have been through so much, overcome so many challenges, and done such great things. Let’s show them the basic courtesy of listening.

I’m not blaming anyone for this. It’s hard to realize that a few words in a friend’s ear, seemingly so quiet, contribute to a hum of noise—and an atmosphere of disrespect. But it’s true. Chapel Ryan told us today that if we each donate just $10, we could raise over $30,000. It works the other way too. If each of us commits to show respect by simply remaining quiet, we could create a better Chapel experience and a stronger Baylor community.

Jamie Wheeler

Katy freshman