Students complain that religious groups on campus are being pushy


Petitioners often stand outside on the main walkway asking students for signatures or donations. Graphic by Anne To.

Campaigner, inquirer, seeker, solicitor. These are synonyms to describe a petitioner.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have religious groups which are like petitioners in a sense that they go around to different neighborhoods and establishments to preach about their God.

There are a wide variety of religious groups that do this, like the Advent Christian Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church and American Baptist Association. There are petitions that are often circulating to help support ballot measures, such as whether or not art and music programs should be cut from K-12 schools or the legalization of online and mobile sports betting in California.

Complaints of petitioners occur almost ever semester, as the UT previously reported. Some students said petitioners and religious groups are acting out in an aggressive manner towards students on campus while getting their job done or to spread the “word” to people.

A petitioner’s job is to gather enough signatures and other personal information from people in support of a certain cause or issue. On the other hand, religious groups go around wherever people will listen and spread the message of God.

Ruby Hernandez, who is in her first year as a psychology major, says that she has talked with petitioners. But, she hasn’t encountered any of them being rude towards her.

What if the people they approach don’t want to listen? After all, some would say it is their right to choose not to listen or talk to these people.

If they choose not to listen, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t believe in God. It could mean that they have their own set of beliefs.

This was the case for Emily Rodriguez and Marisol Prietto.

Both are art majors in their second semester at Cal State LA. Both of them recalled two separate incidents of unwanted approaches this semester as they both sat outside the music building.

They said that someone from a religious group came up to them and started talking with them and then brought out a Bible. They say that they felt like they had no choice but to listen to this person, because they didn’t want to be rude. They didn’t get the name of the group, however, they said that they were a Christianity-based faith.

That person brought out a Bible, and proceeded to talk about their religion. Prietto and Rodriguez felt as though this person was “pushy,” and forcing their religion on them, when they have their own beliefs.

They brought up another incident in which a member of the religious group told them, “You guys could be saved if you walk with Jesus Christ.”

Some people view their faith as something personal. Some students say they keep to themselves while they are on campus, and don’t have the time to sit as they are either studying or rushing to get to their next class.