Here’s a quote from a University of Vermont student:
He has a right to be here, but I think it is a very limited First Amendment right.
Unbeknownst to me, the First Amendment contains a clause that limits the rights of those engaging in “diatribe,” subject to the opinion of the aforementioned college student, of course. I doubt this clause applies to the endless diatribe he encounters on campus aimed at the right.
Now, the back story.
The alternate title of this post was: Evangelism 101: How NOT to Share the Gospel.
This morning, The Burlington Free Press had a story about two evangelists from New Orleans who are traveling around to colleges calling for people to repent and be saved. The problem, in my opinion, is that they carry signs that read:
“Repent Sinner. Surrender all to Jesus.” On the flip side was written a laundry list of people to watch out for. Among them, “Jesus mockers, homos and lesbos, pornofreaks, drunkards and Muslims.”
Now I know that there are lots of different ways to share the Good News and that there are a multitude of interpretations of what not to do. I seriously do not think that I know everything, or even anything, for that matter, about the best way to do it. But, I think it goes without saying that the in your face tactics tend not to work.
Exhibit A: “We had one salvation in California,” Breaud said. (Okay, so they work a tiny fraction of the time.)
Worse yet, such tactics kind of hurt the efforts of the rest of us to share our faith, or even just to live with out being hated and harassed.
I’m just sayin’.
Back to the students. I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as limited First Amendment rights, as it applies to voicing a point of view. According to the article, the student in question “said he is all for free speech, but he draws the line at ‘bigoted nonsense’”
Um, with all due respect kiddo, free speech applies to bigoted nonsense, too. How else would the brilliant folks in the comments of the online article be able to compare peaceful evangelism with suicide bombing jihadists. Bigoted nonsense abounds in public discourse these days. There’s enough to go around. If we limit free speech on anyone, we limit it on everyone. This is so basic and fundamental, I feel like it needs no further elaboration.
What on earth are colleges teaching these kids?
That was rhetorical. I went to UVM. I know what they are teaching. The real question is, why are parents still paying for it?