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I often put in both my earbuds and bow my head to avoid talking to people who try to stop me while I’m walking through the plaza. While it works most of the time the evangelists on campus have a way of bombarding me at just the right time. Every time I get asked ‘do you have a minute to talk?’ or ‘can I ask you a question?’ I cringe at the idea of having to sit through another twenty-minute conversation of why I should go to a bible study that week.
As a Christian I have heard this speech way too many times outside of CSU’s campus. However, the influence of certain evangelists on campus has turned this practice into nothing more than religious vindictiveness — bashing other religions because they are different. It discriminates against certain religions and harms the non-Christian student body.
A great deal of the evangelists on CSU’s campus are members of Grace Christian Church. According to Grace Christian their goals are “to evangelize college students during a very crucial time in their lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and “to establish these students in Grace Christian Church or in other local churches in the Fort Collins area as the Holy Spirit leads.” These statements are accompanied by testimonials from CSU alumni who are now full time staff at the church along with video testimony of several young people who attend the church.
The video outlines what the church does on campus. They remind students that the school is teaching them secular humanistic philosophies, anti-Christian ideologies and man-made theories. Not only this, but while talking about anti-Christian ideologies they flash a picture of the Islamic Center of Fort Collins and the Pride Resource Center on campus.
But the bigger problem lies with the idea of evangelizing in the first place and when/how/if it should be done.
Evangelizing, or seeking to convert someone to Christianity, has been around for a long time and comes in many forms. The practice of evangelization is deeply rooted in hypocritical ideals.
CSU’s campus is filled with students of many different religions who all choose to co-exist in a space together peacefully. For many the religion they identify with is also deeply rooted in their culture and is a part of their daily lives.
Coming to a secular institution like CSU, students should have the right to not be bombarded with religion. The evangelists on campus choose to ignore this by bombarding students in their own environment with personal and offensive statements. The evangelists on campus have been known to tell people they’re going to hell for one reason or another, ridicule other religions/beliefs and have asked incredibly invasive questions. This is so problematic on many levels, pointedly with the idea that religion is a personal journey that should be chosen by the individual.
Discussion about religion should be encouraged especially on a college campus where ideas should be able to freely flow between peers. The way to get people to church is not by telling them they are going to hell or that they need to stop being gay. Allowing people to make the choice for themselves to attend a church or a Bible study fosters the open discussion about religion.
Forcing any ideals or beliefs down someone’s throat, especially coming from a religion that preaches loving your neighbors, doesn’t work. Evangelists like those from Grace Christian Church give Christianity a bad name and push the stereotype that Christians are hateful and ignorant people.
A word to those who want to share their religion with their friends: don’t force it. Allowing people to explore religion and finds what’s best for them is much more conducive then screaming at them why they’ll go to hell.
Madison Marcy can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @maddy_marcy