On Sept. 13, 2013, an unknown group of students formed a response to a racial slur that was posted on campus. These students posted signs on every inch of campus, saying things like “Witt is Home,” “You are loved,” “Always look on the bright side of life,” and “Aren’t we all on the same team? I’m on your team!” These anonymous, colorful, and well-placed signs promoted a sense of community, bonding, and equality through campus that went as far as to have several professors send campus-wide emails thanking whoever posted them.
Over the past week, signs have begun popping up on campus that are inspirational in nature, similar to the posters at the beginning of the year. These signs, though, are particularly religious. Quoting Bible verses out of their context, giving hope through the idea of praying, and even in one case, just commanding “Pray.”
I’m a proud, practicing Catholic. If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that I don’t hide my faith. I occasionally attend Mass, I take my sacraments, and maintain a faith in God. These signs, that I see the most on Hollenbeck Hall, make me incredibly uncomfortable.
A rumor on campus has been that these were recruiting posters for Campus Crusade for Christ, or CRU. What doesn’t make sense is that nowhere on any of the posters did CRU identify themselves. If you’re a campus group that wants to recruit new members, please, make yourself known.
While a campus of faith, there are a sizable group of Jewish, Muslim, and agnostic/atheist students, as well as students who are not “in-your-face” with their faith, or who struggle with their identity and relationship to God. Maria Symons, a Wittenberg freshman, says that she struggles to find an identity for her faith, and is uncomfortable seeing the posters every day because she wants to find her faith privately and personally, not publicly with the input of others.
I agree with Maria. While I’m not afraid to say I’m a Catholic, I don’t pray in public, and I don’t preach to others. Faith is a private matter for almost everyone. The Chapel doesn’t force students to attend chapel hour, they don’t often preach on campus. If the CRU wants to spread their ideology that everyone should know about Christ, they should be much more sensitive to students who do not believe the same things that they do, or want to believe the way they do.
We can support each other as a diverse, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious campus without bringing religion into the mix.