Opinion: Reactions to Sanford preacher set poor example

Opinion: Reactions to Sanford preacher set poor example

Cory Spiers

Appalachian State University is a campus based on equality and acceptance.

We have LGBT support, religious tolerance and a mutual understanding that everyone is different in his or her own ideas.

But sometimes it isn’t about how we treat people who think openly like us, it’s about how we treat those who don’t.

There was a man standing on the corner of Sanford Mall for most of the day Thursday holding up a large sign asserting that God condemned sin and that the only way into heaven was by accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.

I was raised in an Episcopal church, and I was always taught that God’s love wasn’t exclusive. I always believed that you didn’t need to have faith in God to get into heaven; you just needed to live a good life.
But this man stood out there and said that a good majority of the world was going to Hell because of their religion, sexual orientation or even their manner of dress.

Now, I found it to be hilariously entertaining. The heckling crowd made it all the more enjoyable.
However, the heckling soon became harsher. People were holding up dissuading signs and yelling obscenities toward the preacher.

According to videos and articles found in previous issues of The Appalachian, preachers have been coming to this school talking about “saving” the student population for years.

But why do they keep coming back if, as far as I can tell, a majority of the students don’t really want them here?

The preacher is afforded the right to say what he wants without being silenced as long as it does not interfere with another person’s rights. And in that same respect, we can say what we want back to him in response to what he says.

The behavior of some students didn’t show that we were educated adults. I know that when faced with opposition to our beliefs, we will want to fight back and prove the other wrong.

But we have to go about that the right way.

Did anyone ever think to just ignore the preacher, that maybe it’d be better to just not pay attention to him, and then when he realizes nobody cares he’d give up?

It’s easy to forget that just because being loud and obnoxious can seem like an effective deterrent, that doesn’t mean it should be our default treatment for people we don’t agree with.

Sometimes, we need to do what’s hardest, and just let it go.

Opinion: ELIZABETH MCMICHAEL, Opinion writer