Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
If you ever have had a class in Wells Hall, chances are you’ve seen them. And if you were fortunate enough not to have seen them, then you had to have at least suffered the misfortune of hearing them.
The “Wells Hall preachers” — or so I’m told that’s what they’re called — frequently settle outside Wells Hall to inform students and faculty of the details about their religion, and they do so in an extremely annoying fashion.
The group usually consists of three to four members.
There is one person who holds a giant sign attached to a wooden rod that displays a message telling the general public that we are all sinners in some way. There also usually are one or two people who fade off into the background and just stand there, nodding their heads at whatever the lead preacher is yelling about. Last but not least, the lead preacher is the member of the group who seems to be the most obnoxious. He is the one who screams and rambles on and on to students and staff about the group’s views on religion.
The lead preacher always seems to be wearing a hat and a trench coat. I’d imagine that both the hat and trench coat would get awfully sweaty after all of the yelling and pacing around that the lead preacher does — the outfit might not be the smartest choice for your line of work, buddy.
Recently, I have noticed that the group styles new T-shirts that say, “You Deserve Hell.” I never actually have spoken to one of the members; therefore, I’m really curious to know why it is that I, along with any other person on campus, deserves Hell when it’s probable that none of the preachers even know our names.
It also has come to my attention that there have been a few new additions to the group since last year. It seems as if they have done a swell job recruiting! My guess is that they reeled in the new members with the supercool, new T-shirts.
What it is that the preachers are arguing about isn’t what necessarily bothers me the most — it’s how they present their opinions.
People don’t like to be yelled at. One of the preachers could scream at me saying, “You’re the coolest kid in the world!,” and I still wouldn’t enjoy the gesture because I don’t find it polite when people scream at me.
Thus, if I’m not fond of people shouting compliments at me, I’m definitely not going to find it amusing when someone shrieks nonsense to me, claiming that the way I’m living is evil.
These preachers are a disruption to those who are trying to have a decent conversation with their friends and to the student who is quizzing him or herself on an upcoming exam, as well as to the boy and girl who are trying to flirt with one another — in which case the preachers are killing the mood.
One thing that I must respect about the preachers is their commitment to not backing down. I know that people yell some very nasty things at them — not saying that they don’t deserve it — and they still don’t budge! Now that is what I call determination.
Aside from those who try to fight fire with fire and yell back at the preachers, there also are others who attempt to argue with them in a calmer manner. I’ve eavesdropped on a few of these debates and will say that the people who argue with them bring up many great points.
And although I truly admire all of you wonderful souls who have done your best to try and shut these people down, I don’t think it’s really working. No matter what is said to the preachers, they will refuse to believe that anything but their own opinions are true.
So maybe, instead of arguing with or yelling at the preachers, we should just completely ignore them and pretend as if they don’t even exist. Through this method, it is possible that the preachers will realize no one is challenging their beliefs; therefore, they might think that we all have surrendered and accepted their views. Because of this, they could be under the impression that their work is done, and best-case scenario, they leave!
I don’t ever plan on engaging in a conversation with these people, so if anyone would like to relay a message to them for me, tell them this: the unnecessary yelling, the overwhelming signs and the offensive T-shirts all need to stop.
Do a favor for me, as well as for yourselves: just relax.
Ron Kim is a guest columnist at The State News and an English junior. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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