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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“I’m going to hell, and you probably are, too”

Apparently I’m going to hell, at least according to many of the religious fanatics on campus. This comes as no surprise as I frequently skip church, am pro-choice, have premarital sex and drink to my heart’s content. Indeed, many students have had run-ins with the presumptuous windbags who preach and screech on our fair campus daily. Often the message is simple; all of you are going to hell unless you (insert fear-instilling rhetoric here).  

Most often, these nuts draw large crowds of curious students not because they agree with what the preachers are saying, but because the extremeness of their views is comically unrivaled. But, while their exhibitions of free speech are at some points unnerving, they essentially prove harmless.

As obnoxious as these in-your-face speakers may be, they are not the people you should be most uneasy about. There is another breed of fanatics who are much more subtle and much more dangerous. You won’t see any of these preachers shouting on the mall, but rather lurking behind buildings or sitting on benches. Don’t be fooled; these seemingly innocuous specimens pack a proverbial punch, yet have a knack for appearing kindly and welcoming.

“”Hey man, can I get your quick opinion on something?””

These were the fatal words uttered to me while I strolled past the Nugent building one afternoon. Feeling particularly cordial at that moment, I obliged … mistake! What was about to transpire was neither quick nor had anything to do with my opinion. In fact, it was more like an inquisition, which led to my questioner’s eventual conclusion that I was going to hell unless I attended his Bible study class. He even had the nerve to ask for my phone number, saying he would call me on Saturday to make sure I was going to attend on Sunday. This ordeal took about 15 minutes, time I will never have back.

The worst part is that once you get sucked into these conversations, it’s hard to back out. Trust me on this: If these religious nuts ever approach you, run — don’t walk — away. They will waste your precious time and make you feel small and evil for your lifestyle and beliefs.

So how do you identify these people? They are usually found lurking around the sides of buildings, often in pairs, carefully surveying passersby and waiting for a metaphorically wounded student to be left behind by the pack. They’re often just off-the-beaten campus paths, as it is easier to snare victims who are not walking in large groups or with friends.

To be safe, make sure you always have a campus buddy/roommate so you can easily brush the religious hawks away. If alone, always have prepared a few escape techniques or phrases such as, “”I’m late for class, sorry!”” or for ladies, “”Oh dear, my water just broke!”” or my personal favorite, “”I’m Jewish.””  It’s important to remember that it is always better to brave the initial onslaught from these pompous, self-righteous lunatics and quickly tell them off, than to face a daunting 15 minutes of awkward banter, most certainly culminating in your sentencing to hell.

UA students, myself included, are not particularly pleased at being told we’re going to join the devil, and who has the right to tell us that? I do acknowledge and support all the proponents of the First Amendment, which indeed allows the most raving lunatic his due in public places. As a journalist, how can I not? However, I came to this university to get an education, not to be “”saved”” and to be taught, not bullied or indoctrinated.

So next time you’re approached by these fanatics, since you apparently are already fire-and-brimstone-bound, tell them as politely as possible: “”No sir, you go to hell.””

— Brett Haupt is a journalism junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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