“Excuse me, [sir or ma’am], are you familiar with the female image of God?”
Anyone who ever walks down the Mall or has attended Pierce College for any span of time has probably heard this engaging segue into religious harassment.
I am, of course, referencing the several packs of evangelists that approach Pierce students with one goal in mind: to encourage everyone to worship both a male and female image of God.
They like to organize themselves in front of the library every day with business casual attire and bibles in-hand, which draws a nice dichotomy with the damnation they claim for those who don’t follow along.
In my experience with these men and women (oddly, they tend to be men), they will always open with a vague verse from scripture that may as well imply Mother Nature, and I will sarcastically respond, “Oh, how very interesting and worthy of devoting one’s life to. Have a nice day.”
After it occurs to them that I am like many people who aren’t waiting for some belief system to be sprung upon them, it then makes more sense in their minds to try to trap me into validating their beliefs.
“If you’re so smart, where is it that you think you come from?” they ask condescendingly. Knowing that any validation could mean an unwanted theological debate, I respond, “Ok, if you want to play this game, I can trace myself as far back as my dad’s balls. Yes, that’s right, a man.”
In light of this, I still consider myself fairly open-minded towards people’s religious views. I mean, I’m a catechism dropout turned agnostic; I almost have to be. What I don’t care for, however, is having religion forced upon me.
These people are essentially fundamentalist Christians with a giant asterisk thrown in. If God is “all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-loving” as at least Catholics are satisfied believing, then he/she probably isn’t even bound by understandable genders, and would probably still love us even if we didn’t perceive him/her as a mighty hermaphrodite.
As critical as I may be of them for forcing their beliefs on otherwise happy students, the validity of my “God the Mother problem” on campus stems from the way they go about solicitation.
Pierce College has designated a “free speech zone” in front of the Country Café that is meant to be a forum for evangelists, people with free tickets to terrible movies, and any other annoying solicitors you can think of.
Not only does this area designate its users as solicitors, but it also grants students an opportunity to avoid being harassed.
In addition to being misplaced, this group also passes out pamphlets and flyers on the Mall, which is a right reserved for clubs endorsed by the ASO. In fact, I’ve yet to meet any of them that were even students here.
I have little intention of discrediting people’s beliefs, but I do feel safe saying that religion should be something that people come to appreciate on their own, not something that is pitched to them on the way to a midterm.
So what I propose to these preachers is this: Consider that if you’re zealous enough about your religion to hassle people on a college campus, then other people are probably passionate enough about their own views to be offended by it.