VOL. LIII, NO. 110
California State University, Long Beach April 29, 2003
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. News  
 

Religious groups face negative views


By Franklin A. Holman

On-line Forty-Niner

Nathan InanChristian groups at Cal State Long Beach face anger and resentment as they invite students to attend Bible study sessions and other religious functions.
 
Many students do not like being bombarded by solicitation when they are on their way to class.
 
“It’s annoying and they are ruthless with their attacks.” Chris Herbert, art major said, “It’s not the [Christian] group; it’s just their persistence.”
 
“They came up to me and when I said I don’t want to go to Bible study, she said you’ll be damned to go to hell,” said communicative disorders major, Maureen Teng.
 
Other students see an invitation to Bible study as an opportunity to learn.
 
“Since I’m religious, I don’t mind listening to them because I could learn something spiritually,” Elsa Cobian, social work major said.
 
Members of Christian groups also think that students do not have anything against them personally, only against religious solicitation on campus.
 
“We hope that there is no resentment out there against our organization or against Christianity,” Nathan Inan, University Bible Fellowship member said. “We still will encourage students to study the Bible and invite them to attend our meetings if they like.”
 
University Bible Fellowship is one of the Christian groups that has come across losses for their efforts to bring students to Bible study. They have had two banners and several lawn placards stolen this semester.
 
“I would assume the theft involves anti-Christian sentiments because other organizations don’t have this problem,” Bible fellowship member Jason Koch said.
 
Dr. Stuart Farber, assistant dean of students said it could be anybody from the community that removed the banners. CSULB is an open campus, and banners that remain overnight are subject to being taken down by anybody, he said.
 
There are posting and solicitation rules, but any group is allowed to ask people to attend their events. Banners that market events from any organization are welcome to be displayed as long as they follow the posting guidelines, which deal with the size, amount, and the time period that the banners are posted.
 
“We tell solicitors not to touch students, don’t block them, stop them from going where they are going, don’t shout at them and don’t badger them,” Farber said. “That goes for all solicitors on campus.”
 
Students still get angry about religious solicitation on campus. Nathan Inan of University Bible Fellowship said that after a friend of his invited a student to come to Bible study, the student got angry and kicked over one of the political candidates lawn placards in a fit of rage.
 
Kengo Oshiro, engineering major said he does not like when people invite him to a religious function because he feels that the religious group is pressing their beliefs on him.
 
There have not been any official complaints about solicitation on campus this semester, but some students think that a solicitation is a problem that needs to be resolved.
 
“There should be a no solicitation rule on campus because it takes away from the academic focus,” Hebert said.
 
Despite the fact that some students want a no solicitation policy on campus, and religious groups have experienced negative reactions from students, members of religious groups say they will continue to invite students to their functions.


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