Evangelists could learn from students

Letter to Editor by Annie Hughes

Recently, I was walking past the Free Speech Area when I encountered the evangelistic preachers providing a sermon to the students walking by.

As a political science student, I often find myself unable to ignore situations where political freedom can clash with common ideals, so I stayed to watch.

The man wore a shirt saying “Jesus Saves From Hell,” something that was not ultra-confrontational, but straight forward nonetheless.

However, it was the signs held by his followers, such as “God Hates Fags,” that seemed to be drawing the largest crowd. The man quoted passages of how hell is for homosexuals, fornicators and sinners, and to repent is the only way to save yourself from hell.

It was at this point between the heated debate of the evangelist and students that I saw members from the OUTsource calmly step outside the Student Center with signs, both already made and hastily scribbled on a large pad of paper.

They proceeded to set up a very simple table about 10 feet in front of the preacher on which they placed information about resources for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual community and their supporters, as well as free condoms.

Then one student held up a newly written sign saying, “LOVE saves from hell.” A simple statement, but profound nonetheless.

In a few simple actions, three to four students were able to diffuse what was becoming a one-sided demoralization of individuals.

By saying nothing, but providing a clear message of acceptance, these students stood in front of judgment and opened up the opportunity for even discussion.

Despite the fact that they have yet to complete their collegiate degrees, these students were able to do something that the adults behind them were unable to: accept those for how they stand and not for how they believe they should be.

Perhaps these students should be the ones providing the education.

Annie Hughes

political science sophomore