Religious preachers stirred the emotions of many students October 20 in front of The Student Services Center. Displaying ghastly pictures of aborted babies, Repent America’s goal was to persuade students to follow the beliefs and rules of Christianity. In some cases they succeeded. “I believe that [the preacher] is trying to help people understand Christianity better. Why are people getting so offended by it, when they can just walk away?” one student said. The majority of students, however, were left outraged.
“I feel that the way they’re preaching is like preaching to a wall,” Student Nolan McDonald said. “It’s like two opposing forces because they are preaching to people who don’t want to hear it. To force people to believe something in which they don’t feel the same way, is just not right.”
The general consensus of the day, was the outrage of forcing young children to hold obscene signs regarding abortion. Freshman Terrayne Myricks exclaimed, “Some of the children are so small that they only reach my pocket in height, and the activists have them holding signs. Don’t put these children through that, don’t show them that. Let these children keep their innocence.”
Not only were there abortion and Christianity groups formed that day, but the members of the Bloomsburg Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) stood their ground and made their voices heard as well. An event invention over Facebook was sent out across the country to wear purple on October 20 to remember and bring awareness to the recent string of homosexual teen suicides. Many student felt it was very coincidental that the group Repent America was on Bloomsburg’s campus on that very same day. The activists made their opinions known on homosexuality very vividly, expressing they were completely “against their life choice”. Many of the students created unique signs firing back to express their own beliefs. One sign read, “Woman, not a womb.” Another stated, “God made us in His image.”
It was clear that each individuals freedom of speech was rightly exercised that day. The students had opportunities to gather together and discuss each others points of view. However, there were about three police officers standing by just in case the rally got out of hand. Even though it was completely obvious that the groups disagreed with one another, it seemed as if they maintained a level of civility and did not interact physically with one another. Their focus remained on the issues at hand and getting their opinions out there.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with the groups on campus, it seemed that this event sparked the interest of many students, and provoked campus unity. As President Soltz expressed in his email to every student, “let us encourage the free exchange of ideas and use others’ opinions as a starting point for examining our own and an opportunity for civil discourse.”
For more information on this issue, visit www.repentamerica.com