Layden and Newman Center deserve an apology

By James Lee

In light of the recent plea agreement concerning Christopher Layden, former assistant chaplain at the Newman Center, I express the following thoughts as a United States citizen who also identifies as Roman Catholic. On the day of Christopher Layden’s arrest, some sacristans of St. John’s witnessed the police enter the rectory by literally brushing past us as we stood in the doorway. They did not provide a warrant, any form of identification or an explanation even when asked to do so. This was a gross denial of the 4th Amendment Rights entitled by the United States Constitution to Christopher Layden and the Newman Center.

I recall an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

Such rights became the very foundations of this country and inspired patriots into battle and martyrdom. Yet others and I witnessed violations of those rights by the very people charged to uphold the sacred duties of government.

The Bishop of Peoria, Daniel Jenky, recently stated, “I am increasingly concerned that our Church in effect no longer enjoys equal justice under the law.”

It is my fervent hope that the fundamental ideologies present at the founding of our nation are not skewed by religious discrimination today.

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To demonstrate that the law of the land is still supreme and that law enforcement is not engaging in religious discrimination, I ask that all parties involved in the misconduct offer formal and contrite apologies to Christopher Layden, the Newman Center, and any other members of society who were harmed as a result of the misconduct.