Dunham: Religious recruiters should stop preying on college kids

Marshall Dunham

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Colorado State University is a fantastic breeding ground for intelligent conversations, for free thinkers, and, perhaps most importantly, for free speech. However, just because a person can say almost anything they want to passerby doesn’t mean they should. In other words, stop pushing your religious agenda onto college kids who haven’t developed their own identities yet.

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College is a place to expand horizons, where students begin to realize what kind of person they are and strive to become the person they want to be. 

Yet, every day there’s some person or organization on campus trying to grab your attention to tell you about religion. While this is completely their right, it’s also predatory and immoral.

It’s no surprise as to why these college kids are “preyed” on by religious affiliations. Incoming freshmen, lacking friends and family, are looking for a place to feel welcomed and fit in. We also, arguably, lack more critical thinking skills going into college than we do coming out of it. Given these reasons and the large student population of CSU, it would seem that college is the perfect place to recruit more worshippers.

According to the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey, the amount of college kids with no religious affiliation has tripled within the last 30 years, and the number of college students who reported attending religious events dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. With these types of statistics, it would make sense that religious organizations need to get out on campus and hustle some students into joining their cause.

Every day there’s some person or organization on campus, trying to grab your attention to tell you about religion. While this is completely their right, it’s also predatory and immoral.

A classic hustle that many fall for is the age-old classic, “Hey, can I ask you a question?” While this may seem innocent at first, anyone who has dealt with this scam knows the true nature of the question it’s a trap. It not only suckers an unfortunate soul into a conversation that is both extremely forced and awkward to have, but they also make it incredibly difficult to leave. The religious pursuer, either unable to read or blatantly disregarding social cues, now has this innocent passerby held verbally hostage.

This isn’t the only hustle one can find on campus. Another classic is when a person asks, “Hey, can I show you something?” while simultaneously placing a book into your hands. As soon as the book is in your hands, you should hope you don’t have any obligations in the next fifteen minutes, as you’ve just been deceptively trapped into a conversation.

If a freshman comes to CSU without any friends or hobbies, but is invited to a “club” by someone on campus, that freshman may be very interested in attending. But, one is required to ask: did that freshman attend this “club” because they felt the glory of God flowing through them, or because they yearned to be a part of a community?

There’s nothing wrong with being religious. The problem is those that are religious and try to make everyone else religious too, especially when they try through sneaky means, like the aforementioned hustles.

If a student is curious about a religious organization and seeks information out on their own merit, that’s fantastic. But if a religious pusher verbally disguises their motives to come off as more friendly and innocent, that’s wrong. At the end of the day, there’s a moral and immoral way to evangelize.

Free speech is a wonderful right to many and a gorgeous privilege to others, and it’s one of the aspects making America the fantastic place it is. But the idea of taking college kids who have no idea who they are and trying to deceive and persuade them into your religion to grow your numbers? Well, that should count as a sin.

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Marshall Dunham can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @gnarshallfunham