College students easy targets for faith-based groups

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Religious organizations pop-up at Valley College, handing out pamphelts and paraphernalia to college students.

By Sarah Best, Staff Writer

Freedom of religion is ever-present in our country and progressively becoming more apparent in public schools, despite a lack of religious affiliation from college students. 

Religious organizations are taking advantage of the fact that young, naive college students could potentially be questioning their faith and/or looking for a new one. In the last 30 years, college freshmen have been increasingly identifying as having no religious affiliation, according to the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey. 

Multiple studies from the Pew Research Center showcase that those who have no religious affiliation, commonly referred to as “nones,” know far more about religious practices than those belonging to a designated faith. Meaning, that they are more inclined to stray away from organized religion and less prone to stop and question campus divinities. 

Small religious booths like that of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) along with a few of their representatives can be found frequently in front of the Campus Center. They sit under shady trees with seemingly welcoming faces, banking on one curious person to inquire about their community.

Colorful brochures are painted with loaded questions like “Would You Like to Know The Truth?” in addition to preaching gospels of “family” and “community.” Selling righteous claims like these could provoke some degree of intrigue in just about anyone. 

The misleading aspect, that is not to be fooled by, is the fact that they aren’t necessarily forcing their religion down your throat, but waiting for you to approach them. There are no laws preventing denominations of any kind from proselytizing on a college campus and it’s fully within their right to peacefully assemble and freely exercise their faith under the First Amendment. 

Other churches have reportedly been seen selling their faith on campus, yet JW’s seem to be the most prevalent. A reason for their pervasive omnipresence? Recruiting more devoted followers and lowering the number of “nones” in collegiate institutions, as with any congregation. 

Valley being an open campus means that essentially anyone can come on campus to do or preach what they please, so long as they are not harming anyone. An open campus is an open door for a variety of denominations to incite the superiority of their practice and, in turn, wring the purity of today’s youth.

Religious infiltration of any kind in public schools is giving way to a doctrinal plethora of brainwashed followers and a depreciation in a student’s ability to freely think. 

There are more options present to students who are in search of a new faith, not just the ones that are seen on campus. A deluge of denominations are readily available, despite the select few that are making a perpetual appearance on Valley grounds.

This is not to be misconstrued as an anti-religion message, but more so a reality to be aware of. Everyone should be able to practice or not practice what they please without other divine interference, especially in school. 

All things considered, religious impositions on students and staff alike are posing a detriment to the First Amendment’s prohibition of religious activity in public schools, and is in turn hindering the freedom of religious thought in the Valley community.