The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 22, 1998, Page 5, Image 5

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TODD MUNSON is a senior broad
casting major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist
There was a day last week where I felt victim
to a campus under siege.
You, too, may have been a victim, not to some
radical hippie group or environmental terrorists,
but the scourge of all scourges: die militant Bible
thumper and not just one - mind you - but an
entire legion. According to my friend Andy,
who’s a religion scholar at Stanford, these people
were die reason God invented guns.
It was such a horrific sight They were posted
at every key intersection on campus. The nicer
ones offer complimentary Bibles while the
extremists warn! their banners and condemned
total strangers straight to hell.
Don’t these people know that the key to suc
cessful recruitment isn’t coercion and scare tactics
but free stuff and a pleasant smile? Just last week,
I signed up for a dozen credit cards and three cel
lular phones just for die complimentary schwag.
On a more serious note, the actions of these
biblical radicals were disturbing for several rea
rirst on, tney are cowards. On the surtace
they may seem to be the most courageous
Christians on the planet After all, it does take a
tremendous amount of spirit to chastise total
strangers, right?
Think about it. They weren’t preaching to the
general public but to the most apathetic college
students in the world. Keep in mind that these
were apathetic students on their way to class.
If these Christian soldiers were truly brave,
they would venture onward from the friendly
confines of an apathetic university that has its
own police force and into the real world.
The intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and
Jefferson Avenue in South Central Los Angeles
would be a good start.
Picture this. Our militant group posts up on
the comer, and moments later, a fellow wearing a
pair of rather baggy pants strolls past The bibli
cal radicals see this and begin the cat calls. “God
doesn’t tolerate clothes like that young man. Join
us or suffer the wrath of hell.” Needless to say,
“Loc-Eazy-Biz-Dogg” would have his deuce
deuce out popping caps faster than Quick Draw
McGraw. I know this is a pretty rude scenario,
but it’s just an example of how the rest of the
world is a little less tolerant to social morons than
we fair Nebraskans. Besides, if God exists, their
lives could be miraculously spared.
About tolerance, it was terrible to witness one
particular fellow labeling women as sluts based
on their wardrobe. Since when did Jesus become
a yuppie? I’ll eat my words if someone can show
me a rendering of Jesus without long hair, a
scruny oeara, sandals and a robe. It anything, he
looks a lot like a Phish-head.
Sally Struthers will be proud of my final
complaint Did anyone see anything wrong with
being condemned by children? I thought only the
Nazis tried to control the minds of children, but I
learned different on my way to physics. I was
stopped by a junior Bible beater who was offer
ing pamphlets.
“Read this, it’s important,” he said with imp
ish glee.
“What’s it say?” I asked.
“It says what you need to do to get into heav
en,” he replied.
“Could you read it to me?”
“Um, I don’t know how to read yet,” he
It is exactly this kind of brainwashing that has
me a bit fearful of organized religion.
Like a lot of people, I started attending
church as a child, not because I wanted to, but r
because I had to. At age 17,1 became a con
firmed Catholic, because I was told it was the
right thing to do. In the future it may prove to be *
the right thing, but not long after confirma- *
tion, I realized that making a lifelong spiritu
al commitment at an age when I only started
to question the world around me wasn’t L*
exactly a wise choice. |lZ|
I remember die first Mass I attended as a wi
card-carrying Catholic. The sermon focused Km
on how important it was to give money to Jim
God, because only the generous get into heav- ‘ Tj
en. Since when did God start charging admis- /
sion? 4
Ironically, it was about the same time the
church was being remodeled.
Since that day, I haven’t been back too much.
However, that sermon inspired me to explore
other outlets of religion, something the nuns
Search for faith
leaves no room
for fanaticism
would never allow. Having an 8-year-old give a
presentation on adultery? Yes. Mentioning anoth
er religion? Harder than trying to milk a duck.
Anyway, not long after that fateful sermon,
my friend Andy from above invited me to his
church youth group. The next week I went back,
not because he twiked my arm, but because I
wanted to. I liked it so much that I started even
started attending their services. Although it was £
Presbyterian church, the message was the same.
And, unlike going to the Catholic church, these
parishioners seemed like they actually wanted to
be there. Heck, I even played left field on his
church’s softball team.
It was probably out in left field that I realize<
chosen religion didn’t matter as much as it
seemed. Everyone on the team or in his group
knew I wasn’t member of his church, but that
didn’t matter. Not once was I given the ultima
tum of being told to convert by the third inning
or face sitting the bench. All that mattered was
that I was there.
Attending a different church really sparked
my curiosity about other religions. On my book
shelf is a Bible, a Book of Mormon and one on
Buddhism. All three were gifts from members of
these faiths, and the manner in how they were
given was interesting. The nun shoved die Bible
in my face like I was being served at a soup
kitchen, the Mormon left a message on my
answering machine five minutes later, and the
Buddhist said when the time is right I would opei
the book.
Someday, I hope to finish those three books
and some more after that. Like the Buddhist said.
I will do so when the time is right.
Choosing a religion is a deeply
personal experience and one
that shouldn’t be made on
the spot simply because
someone has threatened
you with eternal
Someday, I’ll
find religion when
the time is right
But until then, I
plan on follow
ing the Ten
as best as possible
while trying not to
stir up bad karma,
as I walk on under
the Star of David
through Mecca, on
my way to see if per
haps the Tao could
lead to Nirvana.
In the event of
a catastrophe, it
helps to have
your bases
, uL_
ADAM KLINKER is a sophomore
English and history major and a
1 Daily Nebraskan columnist
When the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
became transformed into the Church of Religious
Fanatics on Wednesday, one couldn’t help but
hear the subtle voice of pulpit reason calling also.
What was heard? One of two things - and
maybe you heard both. Either you’re going to hell
or Jesus does, indeed, love you.
Christians have a directive in life and a very
difficult and profound one at that.
They are, as the New Testament says, to make
fishers of men. The world is the mission field.
It was displayed at an extreme last week.
Enough that Seinfeld might say, “Who are these
For Christians on campus, seeing obnoxious,
fundamentalist groups like this can only signal a
testament to the many things wrong with the
social aspects of extremist Christianity.
One can be an extremist Christian and pro
fess thus, but when others spout off about die ills
of society and the impending doom of the world,
1 it distorts the meaning of being an extremist
All those involved in religion should be
extremists if their creed is what they truly
Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists,
Christians and all the faiths of the world should
be extremists on their Celestial Being’s behalf.
There is no problem there. In fact, that’s
the highest good for all.
But to go to the extent these
“Christians” did last Wednesday is
While they think they may be
doing a service for their religion,
they are doing a great disservice to
their God.
Excuse biblical tongue, but
does not the Bible teach
“Judge not, lest ye be
It wasn’t particularly
heartening to walk
f out the west doors of
, Andrews Hall and be
enveloped by
the brazen,
ugly shouts of
“You’re all destined
for hell!” from adults
and small chil
dren alike.
God is great,
but zealots are
a challenge
goodness for the Gideons a few steps away who
handed out green-covered New Testaments and
reassured everyone that “Jesus saves.”
They were able to maintain a guise of sanctity
and, in turn, did credit to Christianity. That’s an
honorable mission.
The rest of the production on Wednesday
made case for modem translators of the Ten
Commandments to add an eleventh: Thou shalt
not make an ignoramus of thyself in the name of
the Lord thy God.
There should be specific dogmatic laws
against people like that in any religion.
No fanatics. No televangelists. No coalitions.
No impromptu preachers in the streets.
They may be protected by the U.S.
Constitution, but if the Christian Church or one
of its sects created a code against their behavior,
we’d be sure to have some turnaround.
It’s just not, to steal the godly rhetoric, a
Christian thing to do.
It’s not any religion’s thing to do, and face it,
no other religions are of the extreme fanaticism
that some Christian sects proudly claim.
Look at other extremists. Look at the much
scrutinized Rescue the Heartland, under fire this
week in a Lincoln City Council decision to ban
their anti-abdftion picketing;
The ordinance was overturned with alhayoral
veto. The reality is that under the Constitution, —
that type of bill should never have been intro
duced in a legislative body.
It would have done more good in a religious
governing committee, but think about the diehard
zealots who probably would run that council.
Religion is for these extremists, but
Christianity isn’t
ivcugiuu gives uiem au iriey neea 10 nave
structure in their lives and, therefore, an excuse to
ignore the real message of Jesus Christ - faith,
compassion, love and forgiveness.
Most of the people here last Wednesday
would rather have given you the who, what,
^when, where, why and how than explain to you
the real meaning of Christianity.
They’re mostly concerned with the literal
things, die religious aspects.
There is no personal level for them in
Christianity but a thin facade, easily picked apart
by even the casual observer, who might even
mock or ridicule the ranting speakers.
In truth, “Jesus” and their big, black Bibles
are mere tokens of their true faith - man-made,
flawed religion.
It gives diem a reason to yell and scare peo
ple. It gives them a power that they’ve never had
for the loftiest purpose.
Christianity is a simple religion based on
innocent faith - made complex and bela
bored by people such as those at UNL on
It’s great to have an intelligent, theo
logical discourse about the salvation and
grace given to man by God.
But within the extreme environ
ment, as seal Wednesday, more peo
ple are turned off by this unappealing
drivel than are brought in by it
Let’s quit listening to these peo
ple. They may be comical and
sometimes insulting to our intelli
gence, but they are who they are -
they’re fanatics.
Most people could do without
another day like we had Wednesday.
Whatever your creed may be, there’s
lore to Christianity than what was demon
ated here Wednesday. It should be oioiigh
nake more Christians sick and ashamed
Vhile the world remains a mission field, it
utmost importance to realize that as a
r doctrine of the world, Christianity must
uioui a better showing.
Christians should be ever vigilant against
impostors of their faith who choose to soil its
founder’s name and the ideals He created for
the world.