Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

One of my first few months here at WCU, I distinctly remember walking to a class I had in Main Hall and seeing children holding signs filled with pictures of what looked like aborted fetuses. I was offended, horrified, and most of all, I felt physically ill. Now to clarify, I did not feel sick about the images or what they were preaching, but instead, I felt sick about what means this organization was taking to present their information.
They were using children, no more than age 10, to display their revolting message. I am never going to forget that day, as it was the first day that introduced me to the extreme methods that some groups will use to convey their message. Besides the occasional preacher that would stand in front of Main Hall and spew some passages from the Bible, I did not have to deal with these images again, until this past Friday.
The banners were set up in front of Main Hall, displaying the horrifying images again, just like three years ago. The word spread quickly, whether it was word-of-mouth or via Facebook, the support was amazing. There is no way to adequately describe how proud I was of my school to see the counter-protest that students engaged in, and the support for that counter-protest. Repent America is the name of the organization that was here on Friday. Their mission, according to their website: “We must go out to where the sinners are. We must go to those who would never come into our churches – to the atheists, to the religious, to the self-righteous, to the God-hating and win their souls to Christ.”
Our college is not filled with God-hating sinners. Our campus does not breed hate or evil. We are a body of people that serves 400,000+ service hours in a year, we are a school that produces multitudes of student leaders throughout all facets of campus life, and most importantly, we are a community that comes together and tears down bigotry and sexism when it tries to come to our campus.
Repent America preached on Friday that all sinners will find their hell; all people that betray God will eventually meet their lake of fire. But I ask, what will happen to them? They are preaching hate; is that not going against God’s word? But that is their choice. They make the decision to go location to location, projecting their terrible views. They make those decisions, and I make my own.
I choose what I want to believe. I believe that women should decide what they want to do with their own bodies. I believe that while I may consider myself to be pro-choice, it is not entirely up to me, as I will never be bearing a child. There was one woman that I saw on Repent America’s side on Friday, and she was the only one. It was apparent that most of the protesters were men. This makes no sense to me. I do not see men having to deal with the side-effects of being pregnant, side effects that last for nine months. And I believe that if they did have to deal with those side-effects, then “abortions would be easier than getting food poisoning from Taco Bell,” (to quote one of my favorite signs from the counter protesters). There is nothing wrong with being pro-choice. Contrary to popular belief, pro-choice does not mean anti-baby. I do not understand this argument, I do not know who started this argument, but once again, it is asinine. Everybody is pro-baby. Babies are adorable and wonderful and they do gross things too, but it’s okay because they are babies and they look cute, even when doing gross things. But I digress.
There is one more thing I remember about Friday, that despite all of what was going on in the quad, there were still tours being given. Tours being given to impressionable high school students that are interested in West Chester University. This is what makes me so proud, because they were able to see our counter-protest. I am glad that these students could see that we are passionate about women’s rights and the freedom for one to do what they want with their own body. I hope they will remember WCU as a school filled with educated, critically conscious individuals.
However, if those high school students saw us as a bunch of radical, God-hating feminazis, then I believe that they have no place on this campus. And that is my own decision to make.
Joseph Deegan is a fouth-year student majoring in English Education. He can be reached at 

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