Practice what you preach

A student’s response to preacher’s rhetoric on campus

The campus of CNU was restless in response to an assertive Christian preacher who planted himself in the middle of the great lawn for the second time in just one week. As students made their way to and from classes, they were met with this man vocalizing his beliefs about the Bible and actively trying to engage with students despite their disinterest. 

The previous week when the disruption first occurred on campus, CNU PD was called to remove him due to his intense demeanor and incendiary language. This past Friday was not much different as students became agitated with his remarks and began to challenge his disposition on the matter of “salvation.” 

We pride ourselves on living in a country where freedom of speech is evident. However, shouting and screaming at students that they’re going to hell is not the way to sway them towards your beliefs. I, like the agitator, identify myself as a Christian, though I would certainly never behave in the same capacity. 

Religion almost always carries the potential for controversy and negative stigmas. We can thank people like this preacher for that. Many religions in this day and age value things such as love and acceptance. This preacher did not represent either of these values, and in my mind, doesn’t represent any religion, let alone my own. 

As students became agitated, they shouted back at him, slandering him with things like “ok boomer.” The CNU PD had to step in to monitor the situation and make sure it did not get out of hand. This isn’t the first time I have seen students act out towards a radical Christian preacher on campus, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 

Of course, if these people are able to voice their beliefs on our campus, then we as students should feel comfortable to voice ours back. Obviously, it’s hard to respond to aggression with peace. Hearing him say many of the things he did made me feel a range of emotions from anger to complete sadness. I was angry by his lack of compassion for others who don’t believe in the same thing and was also deeply saddened over the fact that people see my religion through people like him, and they’re seeing the distorted picture. 

Also, the way that the students were reacting did not make the situation any better. Student voicing threats towards the preacher and responding with further aggression did not make the situation any better. 

While the preacher’s comments were inflammatory, if not downright offensive at times, responding in kind does not solve anything. The students who protest his presence on campus with hateful language of their own are validating him by engaging with him in such a manner. 

Being of the Christian faith, I wish I could shout to the whole world that people like this do not represent our beliefs well. The fact that religion usually carries a negative stigma to it because of people like this who do not represent it well enrages me. It is because of people like this that my religion has such a bad connotation. I am not like this. My friends and family are not like this. 

Let me just say that next time you see this happening, whether it be on the news or on our campus, don’t associate every individual of the same religion with that person. We are all different but the beliefs that we hold do not warrant behavior such as the various protestors on campus.

We don’t all hate the LGBTQ+ community or support Trump. We don’t all condemn and judge others when we are nowhere near perfect. We aren’t all like the people of the Westboro Baptist Church or this preacher on campus. 

Well, at least we aren’t supposed to be based on our belief system. I love the people in my life who are important to me no matter who they are or what they believe. 

I encourage you next time to remember something. The voice of the few does not represent the voice of the many. I refuse to let this man speak for me, and I’m sure many people feel the same way. 

I am a Christian, and I love Jesus. One of the most important aspects of that is loving others despite their differing beliefs.

~Kaitlin Sanata, Staff Writer~

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