Yesterday was one of the more eventful days here in the DePauw bubble. As DePauw students, we don’t generally pay attention to a lot of what doesn’t directly concern us. Yesterday, we had a few protestors who presented themselves as “Christians” coming to “help students to repent from their sins,” which really translated to harassment of passersby on the intersection of Hanna and Locust around noon yesterday.
I first became aware of the situation when I had finished my lunch at the hub and had gone down to check my mail. One of my friends told me not to go outside because there were people who were harassing female students, calling them “whores” and telling them to “grab a spatula and go back to the kitchen.” Naturally, this made me want to see what these people had to say.
I am a leader for Young Life, a regular attendant of Coffee and Christ with Bagos, and most definitively I am a Christian. I introduced myself to one of the protestors as such and began to talk with him. I first asked him if he was a Christian, and when he told me that he is (or at least thinks he is) I started to talk with him. I told him that the basis of our faith is to love others regardless of their wrongs, and that yelling at students and by insulting them will do the exact opposite of what he allegedly wanted to accomplish. This man then proceeded to tell me that God does not love everyone, and that if you truly believe in Jesus then you will start to live as He did and you will become perfect. It was at that point in the conversation that I realized that this man’s basic understanding of Christianity was just blatantly wrong. There could be nothing that I could say to this man to get him to understand just how sadly wrong he was. At that moment, all I could do was pray for him and the rest of his group. As I walked away the man yelled that I was a “lazy Christian” and a “wimp.” This may have upset me a few months ago when I faced a similar situation, but the way I see it now is that I cannot get angry with a child who shouts insults at those with whom he is upset.
I want to write to the students at DePauw, especially those of whom do not find their faith in Christianity. The first thing I want to do is to apologize. I want to apologize on the behalf of those who spread the name of our faith in a negative light, not just here at DePauw, but all throughout the world. Radical Christians slander the reputation of their faith just as radical Muslim terrorists slander the name of Islam throughout the world.
My second point of writing this is to make it clear that these protestors not only do not accurately represent the view of Christianity, but actually do a great job of showing exactly what we do not want to be. The entirety of our faith is based on loving those around us, and I just hope that people in our community do not think that the demonstration today was anywhere near an accurate demonstration of what we stand for.
While what was said today at the protests was mainly to infuriate listeners, we must stay calm. I am extremely proud of the student body of DePauw for coming forward and standing up for the rights of all, but we must not let anger take over who we are as we do so. Yes, the protestors are wrong in every sense of the word, but treat them as you would a small child because they honestly just do not know any better.
To conclude, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read this article. Thank you for hearing out both sides of the group that the demonstrators claimed to represent, and I would only ask for one thing: If you pray, please pray for this campus, for unity, for peace, but also pray for the demonstrators because they need God's help more than any of us. Thank you again.
A Christian Student