It is not all that common when your place of employment, and hometown, take center stage in the national spotlight. But that is exactly what happened last night when former FBI director, James Comey, was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, at a “Town Hall” meeting, at the College of William and Mary.
Phi Beta Kappa Hall was packed with college students, and several of my Information Technology colleagues were given the opportunity to ask questions on live camera. I opted not to attend in-person, as part of my job was to provide background assistance to the CNN tech crew, to make sure that they had the technology support to pull off this televised event. Instead, I was keeping an eye on my geeky graphs and computer logs.
A lot of people have strong opinions about Mr. Comey. The current United States President has expressed dismay over certain statements Mr. Comey has made. Likewise, a former presidential candidate believes that Mr. Comey’s actions helped her lose the recent presidential election. William and Mary has invited Mr. Comey to teach a class on “ethical leadership” this fall, something that has stirred up endless controversy, including Christians that I know on all sides. Mr. Comey had attended the College as an undergraduate, co-majoring in chemistry and religion, where he wrote a thesis comparing the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr to the televangelist Jerry Falwell. Questions about “truth,” and who is telling it, seems to be the center of discussion.
If I had been permitted to ask my question, this is what I would have asked: “Mr. Comey, much of the controversy you are embroiled in is not just about public policy. It is about moral standards, personal integrity, and truth telling. You co-majored in religion when you were an undergraduate here. Do you have a particular faith commitment, that informs your moral perspective? For example, would you consider yourself a Christian? Why, or why not?”
If given a further chance, I would probably also like to ask Anderson Cooper a very similar question.
When it comes to questions about “truth,” it really puzzles me as to why no one bothered to ask a question like this at the “Town Meeting.” Moral foundations are important, are they not?