COMMENTARY: Yesterday’s picketers by no means represent Christianity

As a first-year student who enjoys hours of watching political videos happening on college campuses all across the United States, I admit I could not wait to see what Rutgers would have to offer in terms of political activism on campus. With the hotly contested midterm elections coming soon, I thought I may see Republicans and Democrats walking with their usual signs wanting to convince me to vote for one or the other, and I awaited the day I could have a good debate with both sides.

Little did I realize the worst possible form of activism would be the first thing I saw.

On Tuesday, a group from Key of David headed by self-proclaimed Pastor Aden Rusfeldt descended on a peaceful Livingston Student Center to display their signs and give their disgraceful “sermons,” including Westboro Baptist-like punchlines such as “Homos Go To Hell” and “Obey Jesus or Hellfire.” The most disturbing part, though, is the man’s insistence that he represents Christianity and comes to spread love.

As a Christian at Rutgers, I cannot stress enough that this man does not represent the thousands of Christian students here.

His perverse ideology, which has no backing in Biblical scripture, not only demonizes Christianity as a whole but is a contributing factor to why good-minded Christians are afraid to speak to people about their faith. When I pulled him aside to speak to him, he claimed to be a man without sin. A simple look at the Bible shows what everybody knows — nobody is perfect. Not only is this man not perfect, he is an ignorant individual who indoctrinates children and treats women like they are objects, subservient to him. Nothing is farther from Christianity than a man who lives his life like he does.

The Bible has hundreds of verses that could easily refute everything his incendiary “sermon” had to include. There could be a bulleted list of everything he said and a verse to disprove what he said. But, of everything he angrily spit out, to be called a “fake Christian” by him, while he uses a young boy to stand on a pedestal to use disgusting language directed at the students in front of him was what struck me the hardest. His wife’s language toward female students standing next to me was just as bad. Seeing her standing there with her umbrella and her mouth uttering the most disturbing language I have heard directed at someone in person caused me to walk away in disbelief.

Matthew 23:13 said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” These people have the goal of leading students with genuine questions about Christianity away and creating a false impression of Christians.

I implore all who are reading this, Christians and not, to disregard these people, who are few and far between, as nothing more than hateful people with nothing better to do. The less you do to provoke them, the more likely they will give up what they are doing. By standing up for your fellow students, we can create a more peaceful and quiet society — the way any civilized society should be. I can say with confidence there are hundreds of students eager to discuss their faith with you if, and only if, that is something you would like to do yourself.

Thank you to the Rutgers University Police Department for all of its support today, because without them, things could have gotten a lot messier. The department's protection of students is greatly appreciated and not stated enough.

Harry Whitehead is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year planning on majoring in computer science or economics. 


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