Religious discourse causes student rally
Destene Savariau – News Editor
Luke Molwitz – Photos
On the 20th of September, the academic quad became occupied by a group of non-students; which triggered a rallying response from students.
In front of the Hilton C. Buley Library, a group of preachers claiming to be from all over the state stood on the grass for #SinAwarenessDay.
According to various students, these groups of preachers come every year and have actually come once before this semester to preach their anti-abortion opinions.
This time, they were here to tell students about how evolution is a lie.
However, their anti-evolution message evolved into a chaotic protest by students when preachers were aggressively telling students to repent or they were going to hell.
As retaliation, Healthcare studies major Naomi Lorde, a junior, played music through her large JBL speaker.
“I just feel like people should be able to go to class without having to deal with this and hear people who are telling people they’re going to hell. So I wanted to play positive music to keep the energy on campus positive,” Lorde said.
Due to the loud music, and the preachers trying to drown out the music with their microphone system, it attracted more attention. The louder the preachers got, the more students disagreed. Then business major Arlo Bruckmann, a junior, arrived dressed as the Pope, a catholic figure.
“I come to mock them because they’re preaching hate. I’ve done this every year and it’s a lot of fun for me. ” Bruckmann said.
The Pope was an instant hit and garnered more attention. Students rallied behind his oddity and his jokes and disagreement with the preachers.
Nevertheless, many students felt the preachers’ presence was disruptive.
“They are here to take away from the important things going on. Like the PCAO bake sale we held to support a four year old with cancer. It’s best to just ignore,” said President of the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Organization Gabriella Gjoni, a sophomore.
However, not all students disagreed or took issue with the preachers’ presence. Psychology major Chrisitie Beaulieu, a senior, chose to sit on the grass where she was closest to the preachers while she finished her assignment.
“I wanna support the speakers because I feel they (the students) are being disrespectful. Because if this was an LGBT rally, and it was Christians were being negative towards them, we would have a problem. A true Christian has love for everyone and their message is about peace and love. You can disagree, but It’s about respect. Everyone has different beliefs. Bigotry is bigotry no matter what group. Wrong is wrong. Being rude is being rude,” Beaulieu said.
Another student who agreed with this sentiment would be sociology major Anna-Sashia Jones, a freshman.
“I fully agree with what they said. They (students) don’t come with open minds they come to antagonize,” Jones said.
Interdisciplinary studies major Eric Johnson, a senior, actually spoke to one of the preachers one-on-one.
“I asked him questions concerning the crusades; he went deeper than I thought. Tim was the only speaker I respect because he was honest and didn’t seem nearly as blinded by religious zealousness. But still, once you start preaching hate, that’s the part I don’t like and is going to make people uncomfortable and not listen to what you have to say.” Johnson said.
Preacher Norman Patterson explained why the preachers choose to come to this university despite receiving all the negativity and shunning
“We came to the state college because I knew there would be other men preaching the gospel and I wanted to join them. We come every year because what we believe is the truth. And just because we receive a lot of hate for speaking it, doesn’t change us because we still truly believe,” Patterson said.
When students were asked why they chose to stay instead of ignoring the pastors, many said they stayed because of the fake pope. Others stayed just for chaos.
“I stayed because I like the energy of everyone here. I like being around all the people who are having a good time. We have a lot of good energy and we’re reciprocating the energy towards the Pope because he’s talking to us,” Communications major, Spencer Lane, a sophomore said.
An Information and Library Science major, named Kylie Higginbotham, a freshman, was taking photos for class and was there from the beginning to end.
“I stayed for the Pope, but I hated them being here and wished they stopped coming. I wish there was something we could do to make them leave.” said Kylie.