I started my Wednesday morning earlier than usual, because I wanted to get to the library and check my e-mail, Facebook, and get a cup of peppermint tea. Once Main Hall came into view I saw a solitary man with two small children with a propped sign counseling me to “Turn to God” and reminding me, “There is no place for the Devil.”Since this is my fourth year, I’ve become acclimated to the semester gathering of the militant anti-abortionists. But, seeing only one man there preaching, I grew optimistic adn thought “maybe their numbers had dwindled so much, that maybe this man was their only voice.”
That optimism was quickly quelled.
By two o’ clock, they had a megaphone, about a dozen followers in the quad and something that was new: their members had expanded their signs, and their messages all across campus. There were sign holders in front of Sykes; they were camped out under the trees outside of Old Library, and across the street from the Breaks truck. So, to put it simply, I was wrong. Not only had their numbers seemed to grow, so had their fervor for being Pro-Life and against homosexuals.
Like the past years, they had those gruesome and gory posters and signs with mangled fetuses, and the one that always caught my attention: the head of the baby in tongs missing a jaw.
I did however, find the gore in those posters to be somewhat appropriate and gave the quad what it was lacking: the Spirit of Halloween!
After all, when this is printed it will be All Hallow’s Eve and for the past two weeks basic cable networks have been showing horror films incessantly to get us in the mood for trick-or-treating. The fundamentalist “Christians” unintentionally aided in my holiday cheer. I asked one of them, “Say, did you get those pictures from the set of Saw III?”
All joking aside, they do bring something to the campus. I’ve never seen so many different groups unite like when they’re on campus. I don’t see the LGBTQA as strong as when “Homosexuality is Sin” is on a banner in the academic quad. More importantly, I don’t see so many people exercise their free speech as when those antagonists arm themselves with Bibles on our campus. And for me personally, they inspired this article.
The dialogue from each group was interesting. You’ve got the LGBTQA chanting, giving this 1960s feel, an atmosphere that is very foreign to us. You have the traditionalists warning of fire and brimstone, recommending we “Fear God” a “rhetoric from the First Great Awakening of colonial America.”
While each side grew more perturbed, and I talked amongst my fellow students, it seemed that in this ruckus, something precious was forgotten. That each side can picket, can gather, can cause ruckus and can entice people to skip class to watch what it really was: an exercise in democracy. Here, We the People had a very informal, highly polarized debate on ethics and morals. And that was refreshing to me. There were people on our campus that oppressed their ideologies and morals, and a good number of us fought back. That’s incredible.
There were some telling anecdotes that both sides were getting under one another’s skins. Their ringleader, the gentleman in a black hoodie with his chin covered in fur was called out on the Bible’s stance on women (which, for those of you who don’t know, regards women like I do toilet paper) which he retorted, “No, no. My wife is more virtuous than me, she’s stronger than me, and more intelligent than me,” and then he added this, which negated all of the acclaim he had just given his wife, “but I am more Christian than her.” So, he shot himself in the foot, his main priority in life is to be the best Christian he knows, so that surely gives him his peace of mind, and in his mind, superiority over his wife.
But I’d much rather be virtuous than Christian.
On the other side, a collegiate clad in blue jeans and a WCU hoodie said, “Hey, if he’s so faithful, let’s crucify him!” Then spat on the ground and told their leader, “That was for you.” I’m shaking my head, the student sounded exactly like a Pharisee; he was fighting the ignorance with anger.
Both are far too volatile.
Adam Franz is a student at West Chester University.