On-campus preaching gets loud

by Declan Desmond

Paige Nelson, Photo Editor

A bustling campus of approximately 30,000 students, San Diego State is far from being a quiet place, but this semester, off-campus Christian groups continue to add to the commotion with fervent and often confrontational demonstrations.

Some come armed with signs, crosses and pamphlets, which warn of damnation. Others stand in busy areas between buildings, shouting the gospel at anyone willing to listen. Their argumentative style draws strong reactions from students.

Anthony English, a member of New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa, preached last Tuesday on campus and said there is a good reason groups like his are perceived by students to be shouting rather than presenting their message.

“We’re not yelling because we’re upset or angry,” English said. “We’re lifting up our voice because we don’t have amplification.”

“For the most part, I’d say it’s pretty awkward and annoying,” marketing junior Joey Zarate said about one of the preachers’ abra- sive approach.

Groups seeking to hold on-campus events involving amplification or equipment such as tables and canopies must first gain permission from SDSU’s Student Life & Leadership. Religious organizations are free to preach on university grounds without permits as long as these rules are not violated.

According to the SDSU Police Department, the preachers are also within their First Amendment rights to hold events anywhere on campus, as long as they do not impede the academic process.

English acknowledged his group’s message may be offensive to some people. “When you go out there to share the Gospel, there’s going to be some kind of confrontation,” English said.

SDSU InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff member Jackie Andrade said she noticed an in- crease in Christian demonstrators since she joined InterVarsity earlier this year.

Each Tuesday, InterVarsity sets up a tent near Hepner Hall to speak with students and share information about its ministry. The off-campus preachers often appear at the same time.

“We’re not affiliated with each other,” Andrade said, also expressing concern regarding such groups giving people the wrong idea about Christians.

“They just push … one side of what Christianity is, and it’s the scary side,” she said.