Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Less Hostile Springtime for OU

To my fellow University of Oklahoma students, we all know when springtime comes to our gorgeous campus. The South Oval is covered with blossoming trees and optimistic peers. We find ourselves delighted to be walking to class in glorious weather after we have braved the windy, freezing, and unexpected weather of Oklahoma in wintertime. Now we are rewarded with the sun beaming on our faces, until it sheds light on the reoccurring horror that plagues our campus every spring semester: the loud evangelical religious beliefs that are smacked in our faces. I understand the first amendment and free speech rights, but when it is blatantly upsetting or cruel to the students is where I feel the University should draw the line.

One aspect of religion being presented in a harsh way is when the horrific abortion billboards are put up directly south of the library. These banners and billboards are massive depictions of the trauma that goes with abortion. Yes, this is a controversial topic that attracts many advocates but someone who has dealt with the pain of abortion may not react well to these posters. These pro-life advocates have a message of love, but proclaim it with such hatred and judgment that it is difficult to understand their hypocritical message. One who has been through a traumatizing experience such as this does not need to be reminded of what they've been through. They also don't need to see blown up pictures depicting their decisions. This type of message tells they them they are horrible people, which is information no one wants pushed in their face. Imagine you are walking to class and you see these representations. It would be like someone hit you across the head with a massive depiction of a traumatic and devastating personal experience. You would become upset, right? We must work together to remove such explicit and overwhelming material not only for our peers who have lived through that horror, but to make our campus a more pleasant one.

Besides being bombarded with images, we students are forced to listen to the over-zealous preachers rant as they spew out an opinion on their soap box. This action usually draws a huge crowd of onlookers in between classes. Being in a sorority, I walk down the South Oval often wearing a shirt from the Chi Omega house. I wear these shirts to support my sorority, but the evangelical preachers calling out girls in Greek Life deters me from wearing those shirts. I recall once hearing a preacher yelling at sorority girls, regarding them as "sluts" and other obscene and hurtful words. One preacher even went so far as to suggest that all of us engage in sexually explicit acts, then went into detail and described them. Who would want to listen to this? Because I am in a sorority I can guarantee that this is not how all sorority girls act. Most of us are respectable, classy women who want to make a difference in the University of Oklahoma community. These preachers only reiterate a bad reputation based upon stereotypes. They claim to be knowledgeable about issues, but if they took the time to understand that condemnation is not always appropriate, but rather is judgmental and often false, maybe they could practice the love and acceptance they apparently preach.

These two bombarding examples make me want to roll my eyes and shake my head disapprovingly for all of the negative energy they disperse on our campus. To remove them, we must take the action to voice our opinion to administrators and anyone else that has a higher say in this matter. Do you want to walk down the Oval and revel in the magnificent campus, only to see once again that a display of hatred clouds out your joy? Never again should we be forced to listen to why young adults are the downfall of morals and goodness. We are good, caring people that are just trying to live our lives and have the best college career possible. To my OU peers, let's start a petition to sponge away these brutal and harsh messages from our campus. And in the mean time, religious zealots, try not to waste your time screaming at us.

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