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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Christianity shouldn’t be defined by hateful example we see in media

“You deserve rape!” Most students on this campus know exactly who those words came from and what his motives are. For those who don’t, Brother Dean is an extremist preacher that stands near the Student Union Memorial Center and “preaches” what he believes to be true of Christianity. He is most well-known for telling women that they deserve rape as they pass by.

Recently the Ku Klux Klan, the white-supremacist group who claims to be a “Christian organization,” made headlines when it held a rally against “illegal immigration and Muslims.” The Anaheim, California, rally ended with three protestors stabbed and 13 people — both protestors and Klansmen — arrested.

The Christian faith is presented with an overall negative bias by the media in our day-to-day lives. News stories about extremist organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church dominate our input of what faith in any religion represents. These representations stigmatize Christianity and create a larger population of atheist or agnostic young adults.

I’m sure every reader is tired of hearing about the antics of Brother Dean or the Westboro Baptist Church, but we need to address how these issues are changing the way Christianity is viewed by young adults. Church attendance is dropping, and if this trend continues soon church attendance could be at an all-time low.

In a Christianity Today study on why young adults are dropping out of church, 41 percent of respondents said they dropped out because of the unfriendly or judgmental views of their fellow church-goers. This statistic represents young adults that attended a church in high school, but decided to stop after graduation. Given the extreme nature of views on Christianity present in media and the disapproval from peers, it’s not surprising that many don’t continue attending, or that many never start.

Why would a student want to label themselves a Christian only to then be stereotyped by others as hateful, bigoted or racist?

A lack of understanding of Christianity is also leading to church decline. While Catholicism is a much more conservative branch of the Christian faith, the blanket criticism that all Christians are pro-life and oppose same-sex marriage is applied to every denomination. These beliefs often do not align with the Liberal views of many young adults. This turns them away from faith for fear of judgement, but just like across political parties, beliefs are far more complicated than these blanket statements, and are taken to different extremes by each group or individual.

Here on campus, there are several opportunities to meet peers of your individual faith with campus ministries. There you can experience a form of Christianity that does not involve extreme ideas shouted at you while you walk to class.

It’s disheartening to have witnessed the decline in church attendance since I began college. If a young adult decides he or she believes in a different faith or does not believe in any organized religion, that should be of their own volition, not because of negative associations to hateful groups and individuals who do not truly represent Christianity. 

Follow Nicole Rochon on Twitter

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