Not everything has to be protested
Keeping the Faith - Faith Elder
In polarized issues of belief, respect for other's opinions is more vital than ever.
Last Tuesday, evangelical speaker Ron Cardiel came to campus with the goal of saving students' souls, attempting to do so by loudly preaching a sermon. Cardiel's message was not one of hate, simply calling people to follow Christian teachings.
Along with this sermon, there were also voices of dis- sent. A small group of students gathered to protest Cardiel's presence on campus, saying this message and method disrupted students' learning by pushing religious beliefs.
When boiled down to its bones, this incident is about how we share our beliefs on campus and how to appropri- ately respond.
College campuses have al- ways been frequented by reli- gious groups and protest move- ments. College and university students are typically young and susceptible to new ideas, be- coming a target audience for groups looking to change peo- ple's views. For some, the ex- posure to different world views is considered part of the public college experience.
Speeches by religious groups on campus are protected under the First Amendment, unless the speech is found to be an incitement for immediate vio- lence. Groups are also typical- ly required to have permission from the office of Public Safety.
On the other hand, the group protesting Cardiel's speech was not violating school policy ei ther. These students were not found to be causing a major dis- ruption, and their right to pro- test is also protected under the First Amendment.
While they did nothing ille- gal, both parties involved made poor decisions, with the critical error coming from the imper- sonal communication between the groups. While his message was not inciting, Cardiel's tone and overall demeanor made him appear hostile to those who didn't share his beliefs. But rath- er than people approaching, ask- ing that Cardiel change his ap- proach of reaching students, and then carrying on with their day, this became a shouting match.
In a time where society is so divided, knowing how to dis- cuss differences without some- one yelling is a skill. However, we live in a diverse world where we need to know how to dis- agree respectfully, and then move on with our lives. While protest is an important tool, it is not necessary in every situation where someone shares a differ- ing opinion.
Rather than starting fights over another's belief, have an understanding and respect for those around you, as well as a respect for your own beliefs. Acknowledge that everyone has the right to share their ideals and be respectful towards the people who are brave enough to share. Be polite in your dis- agreements, talking about other ideas in the way you want yours to be discussed.
Over the years, Highline has seen many people like Cardiel. While this incident is not the worst Highine has seen, remem- ber these events because this is how the community currently handles differing opinions. We need to look for ways to do better.
Faith Elder is the Thunder- word Opinions editor.