Like most student newspapers, the one at the university where I’m pursuing my Master’s degree in is pretty lousy, but this editorial to kick off the start of the semester was a new low in pathetic quotient.
Ever since I can remember (at least back to the mid-1980s), several times a year a number of gentlemen show up on campus and station themselves at heavily trafficked points on campus. They then hand out a small New Testament. Typically as you approach them, they’ll try to hand you the book.
A bit annoying, especially if you’re walking across campus and you get propositioned repeatedly, but the sort of thing that’s fairly common on a college campus (along with people handing out flyers for their bands, etc.)
If you believe the student newspaper, however, these men handing out half a Bible were disrupting the entire campus,
Many students encountered problems this week when non-students were handing out bibles or other literature in an aggressive manner. These people might in fact belong to an RSO, but their motives do not seem to be in the best interest of the student body.
When I walked into the student center and man offered me a New Testament, that was nowhere near aggressive. Everywhere I walked on campus, the Bible people were very polite and as unobtrusive as one can be when attempting to hand out unsolicited materials.
And the Western Herald putting itself in the position of judging which RSOs have the proper motives is downright absurd — I don’t remember anyone electing that rag as the diviner of proper motivation for student groups (if I missed it and someone did do so, perhaps the newspaper could publish a list of all of the student groups with a 1 to 5 ranking on the purity of each group’s
Some people hand out flyers without approval, such as the solicitors for credit cards and fast food chains. Of course, they are not adhering to the guidelines set forth by the SALP and the university, but those who do have approval from the university should be held to stricter guidelines.
God forbid any spontaneous acts of speech ever occur on campus.
And then the Western Herald goes from stupidity straight into insanity (emphasis added),
Freedom of speech is important, and should not be hindered, but freedoms should be restricted when they interfere with the rights of others. These solicitors are blurring the lines of free speech and posing potential harm to students.
Students walking from class to class often have very little time to spare. The last thing on their minds should be politics, religious beliefs, or whatever else these groups are trying to sell. In some cases, these people have been so aggressive that they have put bibles in people’s hands without permission, or even put them into backpacks.
Let the Christians hand out the New Testament on street corners and outside building entrances, and the next thing you know they’ll be doing drivebys and beating down students for their iPods.
Come on. The big question is how the moron who wrote the two paragraphs above was ever accepted into a university. Someone fell asleep when handling that application.
In January 2005, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released a survey on the First Amendment views of more than 100,000 high school students, nearly 8,000 teachers and more than 500 administrators. Disturbingly, more than 1/3rd of the students thought that the First Amendment goes too far in protecting free speech.
Apparently such attitudes become hardened and are carried with students to college, where even college newspapers tell the First Amendment to go to hell.
Editorial: On Campus Solicitors. Western Herald, September 7, 2006.