A protest involving students and three evangelical Christian activists was held on the steps of Paley Library by the Bell Tower yesterday, Sept. 13.
The demonstration began when freshman roommates, Jessica Brower and Sarah Donahue spotted the activists with anti-abortion placards and signs displaying evangelical Christian messages. They later returned with contradicting signs of their own. This group of five grew to a mob of students on the south side of the Bell Tower.
The students crowded around the activists in mass numbers shouting phrases such as “My body, My choice.” as well as pro LGBT messages. Their faces were reddened with frustration while they held their own signs made of old cardboard boxes into the air.
Two of the Christian activists are from the Cross Country Evangelism traveling ministry and the third was a local man who joined in the cause. Each man held a different sign, but the most dramatic was the sign of a bloodied fetus carried by 2001 alumnus Michael Marcavage. The men rotated turns with the microphone expressing their messages to the crowd.
“I have a sign in my hands that shows the reality of abortion in our nation where over four thousand babies are torn limb from limb from their mothers’ womb in the name of choice so this sign is simply a representation as to how wicked our nation has become,” Marcavage, the founder of Repent America, said. “Our goal is to engage people in discussion, they are free to express their views and we are here to listen.”
The men said their main message relies not only on anti-abortion practices, but warning others against all practices that they said are against Christian belief.
“We are out here today [because] we care about our fellow man, we don’t want to see people die in their sins so we are telling them the truth.” Michael Stockwell, activist and head of the traveling ministry, said.
Students by the Bell Tower disagreed with this and called the men at the head of the demonstration ignorant.
“It’s 2012, you can be religious without being an ignorant person,” Brower, an advertising major, said. “If he’s going to say that he’s Christian, he should be loving thy brother.”
Donahue, a biology major, agreed, adding that with the elections coming up this year, the abortion issue is still prominent.
The two girls placed themselves right next to the men and continued to lead as they riled the crowd. As the demonstration pushed on, other students began to jump in to share their own views, all contesting that of the men.
The loudest protest of all came after a young lesbian couple when they shared a kiss in front of the crowd. The cheers were deafening and the displeasure on the men at the head of the demonstration’s faces showed.
Gabriel Gonzalez, a freshman strategic communications major, took offense when one of the men told him that he was an abomination for being a member of the LGBT community.
“I don’t take that stuff lightly I am a homosexual gay man and I am proud of it,” Gonzalez said.
Marcus Grant, a sophomore music performance major, disagreed with how both sides handled the situation.
“Each of their beliefs aren’t violent so there is no need to go against each other people just didn’t want to hear what anybody wanted say,” Grant said.
Kate Kelly and Cindy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.