Confrontational evangelists abuse free speech rights

In a college campus of 23,000 students, at some point you’ll meet somebody whose ideas and values clash with your own. Then there are some people who just aren’t worth responding to.

Perhaps falling into the latter category more so than anything else, a group of self-described “confrontational evangelists” from Cry to God Ministries paid a surprise visit to De Anza College several weeks ago, storming the patio in an attempt to spread the word about the teachings of Christ.

Students were stunned as a man wearing a shirt emblazened with the words “TRUST JESUS” took the stage.

“You’re going to hell! You’re all going to hell!” shouted a man known only as Nathean.

Nathean greeted students as they walked by, his open-air sermon containing messages proclaimed to be delivered from God himself. The mish-mash of vocal harassment and gospel has already graced the presence of De Anza College’s campus several times in the past. Each visit by Cry to God Ministries has been met with the same lack of enthusiasm from students.

It was a highly ineffective way to spread a message

— Sharang Dhodapkar

“It was a highly ineffective way to spread a message,” said Sharang Dhodapkar, 19, mechanical engineer major, “but a highly effective way to get hated and have your message ridiculed.”

The group pushes the boundaries of how much freedom of speech is allowed when one encounters situations like this more and more in everyday life. It could be said that the same protection offered to great speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr. is ultimately the same guiding principle that allows this organization to speak in such a manner. However, it is hard to sympathize with a  man who shouts of being sent to hell, cameltoes, and everything in between.

The bottom line is that people should be allowed to say what they believe. But there is a line between saying what you believe and verbally abusing others for the explicit purpose of attracting attention.

“It’s great that the guy has the guts to stand up against obvious opposers,” said Geraldine Genetiano, 21, neuroscience major, “but it really makes me question if whether his objective was to really convince people his side of [the] view.”