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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “When it comes to Brother Jed, ignoring is bliss”

    “”Homos, sluts, and masturbators!”” have taken over the UA campus, or so one might think after spending a lovely afternoon out on the Mall. Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the righteous and motley crew of campus preachers descends upon the mall to save us from sin, eternal damnation, or worse, fun.

    In the past, there have been questions about the first amendment, and how much protection it affords for those advocating discrimination and prejudice. As with past analyses, the protection given to Brother Jed does not come with qualifications or exceptions. His right to spread such filth is as secure as the right of any other radical to spew forth hate. The disturbing circumstance is precisely that students consciously choose to expose themselves to his “”preaching”” for the purpose of disagreement. Instead of working to spread awareness about this specific type of hatred, the daily crowd of students only provides more incentive for Jed and his brethren to return year in and year out.

    However, the exchanges between various “”preachers”” and students represent more than just a defense of commonly held beliefs in equality. While entertaining, the spectacle that is Brother Jed has become the apex of bigotry on campus and countless students have shown a desire to refute such ideas. While this may be a benevolent act, refuting the ideas of Brother Jed is like arguing with Tom Cruise about the benefits of psychiatry. The “”morals”” or personal beliefs shown by Brother Jed and UA students are so polarized that there can never be a constructive dialogue.

    Identifiable from the top floor of the library, the giant circle of students that engulf Brother Jed is filled with multiple personalities, from the mature to the childish. While it may be difficult to believe, the crowd is filled with more smartasses and show offs than social advocates. Before this assessment is taken as an insult, the readers must ask themselves what they heard or saw the last time they took a minute to listen to Brother Rush – I mean, Brother Jed.

    A few examples include Brother Jed becoming the center of a date dash freak fest. Several guys in boxers surrounded Jed and began dancing around like sorority girls after a box of wine. Undeterred by his cries of “”Homos,”” the gentleman continued until they had milked all the hilarity out of the gag. Less rambunctious pranksters have taken stealth approaches to frustrate and demean Brother Jed. A bored student used a CD to blind Jed with the reflection of the sun. Entertaining to some, such an act screams of adolescence.

    These two examples, on their faces, are just instances of benign immaturity and arguably well-deserved. “”He’s just crazy,”” is the typical response from students who wonder why Jed and other preachers continue to make these pilgrimages. While my personal beliefs remove the majority of my sympathetic capacity, I still question the motivation and goals of those who perpetrate such childish acts.

    One simple answer is that certain individuals need the attention afforded by such large crowds. About half of them show up to do something funny, and the other half show up to watch something funny. Due to the creativity and sense of humor of Wildcats, the demand for hilarity is always matched by the supply.

    As an institution of higher learning, the UA must be an environment that fosters constructive facilitation of philosophical differences. While individuals may reside on separate ends of political or moral spectrums, the divisions between groups should not be accompanied by inherent contempt. Personal beliefs undoubtedly shape the opinions that individuals have and the way they react to others, but one should never be viewed as less for maintaining different views.

    There are many who would view these two notions as one in the same. However, the difference lies in motivation or reason behind one’s personal opinion. Brother Jed is not a worse person just because he has controversial views or draconian beliefs. He may be a worse person because his views specifically call for social inequality, reinstitution of female subservience and application of millennia-old religious beliefs for a modern, secular society.

    However, how Brother Jed’s “”teachings”” mesh with one’s own personal opinion is a private matter, and some people might not want to admit any similarities they hold. For those who want to adamantly refute the bigotry and prejudice being peddled by Brother Jed, just walk away. Let’s turn Brother Jed into another random nut by the bus stop, plug in your headphones and just ignore him.

    -ÿDaniel Sotelo is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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