Practice what you preach

Practice what you preach

Story by Emily Gresbrink

It seems whenever a preacher of some sort shows up on campus, it always appears to cause quite the conversation. Not necessarily a public uproar, per se, but a milling of comments on Facebook statuses or tweets. Even then, many students simply pass by and disregard the soapbox antics.

I usually like my opinions with a side of snark, but this time I am just going to say it: I’m not OK with these preachers showing up on campus. It’s a bigger issue than passing by Phillips and Schneider with my iPod turned up a few notches louder. This deals with respect.

I’m not sure who is responsible for bringing them in, or if they just showed up here by themselves, but what they are saying is inappropriate. Yes, I am aware that what they are doing is protected by the first amendment, and I respect that. But what exactly are they trying to accomplish? I wouldn’t know. I would have asked, but I was too busy being called a whore for wearing a v-neck tee.

Anyway, whoever is allowing these people on campus or bringing them in — you need to stop. They are hurting feelings, esteems and diversity.

They bother me the most because of their defamatory comments: I’ve heard stories of girls wearing skirts being called heathens and sluts. People who are simply walking to Davies are looked dead square in the face and are told they are going to hell. A same-sex couple holding hands across the campus mall is told that God does not love them.

But, on what basis? You’ve never spoken to them. What sort of “divine powers” do you have that allows judgment of character and their afterlife?  Why is it even necessary to create an “ideal image” of what you think to be a Christian soul who will live in eternal happiness after death?

I’m about 100% sure there are some pretty great people out there who wouldn’t fall under the lines of your stereotypical Christian — or, more specifically, the “Christians” these preachers look for.

I’m also bothered by these preachers because they are blatantly disrespecting the spiritual/religious diversity on campus. How dare they have this “perfect image” of a Christian in their mind and backhand everyone else who doesn’t fit it!

Look, I was raised in a Christian household, a house that taught me everyone out there — regardless of creed, color, orientation or background — is worthwhile and should be treated with respect. In fact, I thought that’s what most other religious folk thought, too!

So why is it that these preachers are telling us we’re bad people — sinners, heathens, whores — when they themselves are presenting it in a very non-Christian, unkind and inappropriate manner? To me, that seems hypocritical.

I’ll come right out and say it: I don’t go to church. I don’t believe in doctrines, and I would consider myself agnostic. In fact, I’m a little afraid of churches because (for me) spirituality is very personal and not something that defines who I am. Blatantly put, I can’t follow any person or faith that doesn’t practice what it preaches. Practice kindness, meekness, humility, yet go to a public place and proselytize me for how I look or act? I don’t care if you are Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or Pastafarian – That’s not okay, in ANY situation.UW-Eau Claire is a diverse campus worth celebrating and embracing, not tearing down into one ideal image. I don’t want our campus – or any college campus, for that matter – to be afraid of self-expression in any length because of the idiotic and spontaneous words of someone who thinks they are, in some way, “pure of mind and body, ready for Heaven’s open arms.”I just wish there weren’t so many hoops to jump through in that First Amendment. I’d love to see them legally not allowed on campus – but alas, the same amendment that allows me to say what I am now also allows them to show up on campus and say whatever they please. Funny how that works, don’t you think?

Let me conclude by saying that I am by no means attacking Christianity or Christians in general – I respect people for who they are. Nor am I attacking one specific preacher who shows up on campus. It’s a public space, and if you’re paid/paying to be here, that’s fine. Not my waste of time or money.

However, I live by the Golden Rule – do unto others as they would do unto you.
Good morals will tell you to respect others and not crush esteems of students who deal with your defamatory, childish drama. And if I’m being told I’m going to hell, then the next time I see them, I’m telling those preachers they are going to hell – for how they are treating perfectly innocent and diverse passersby on campus.

 

Emily Gresbrink is a junior print journalism major and Sports
Editor at The Spectator.