A religious group exercised its freedom of speech Jan. 24 with a demonstration in front of MacAlister Hall that led to verbal confrontations with dozens of students.
The demonstrators, who identified themselves only as “Bible believers,” have a church in North Philadelphia. They declined to give The Triangle the name or give the location of their church for safety reasons.
For the entirety of the demonstration, members of the church spoke into a megaphone. Topics included Islam, Christianity, homosexuality, feminism and the millennial generation.
“With a Muslim, if you don’t believe [in Islam], they’re going to kill you. Off with your head, that’s their motto,” protestor R.D. spoke into the megaphone. “And the MSA — the Muslim Student Association — which is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an associate of [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] and Hamas, these terrorist organizations are at this university. MSA, the Muslim Student Association is a terrorist organization that is … working to infiltrate the university, and to ultimately bring Shariah Law.”
The demonstrators had informed the Philadelphia Police Department that they would begin their sermon at noon and it in turn alerted Drexel Public Safety. Both were present at the event in case of serious escalation or confrontation.
While police kept the event from escalating to physical confrontation, there were many verbal exchanges between demonstrators and students.
“A girl came up and basically said ‘you guys are messed up’, and they called [out] her leggings and said that she was a slut … and that ‘you’re so self-conscious that you have to wear this type of clothing,’” Billy McCullough, an environmental science major, recalled. “And then she cried and walked away.”
Members of the group say that they expect people to respond with unkind words, vulgar gestures and even physical violence when they protest.
“We get punched; we get hit; we get spit on; we get drinks thrown on us; we went through it all. But you know what, the disciples of Jesus and Jesus himself went through way more than we did. You know, [a] part of being a [follower of Christ] is persecution,” Sister Mary, a member of the church, said.
She also said that Philadelphia needs to repent and that the church’s goal is to warn people about their sins and the impending day of judgement.
“It’s about souls. Yes, I do hope that someone can surrender and repent, or we can help strengthen a Christian who was, maybe, wavering between falling off and just getting stronger for Christ. We help lots of people,” she said.
Drexel students responded to the demonstration by making signs, chanting and passing Drexel hats throughout the crowd. One student even pulled out a tablet so that people could make donations to Planned Parenthood in defiance of the group.
“That is not somebody who should be representative and telling women that we should sew, that we should be quiet, that we should stop crying and complaining about things that are not just. This is absolutely not just right now,” Anna Bostwick, a chemistry major, said referring to the demonstrators.
However, the demonstrators continued to spread their message on a variety of topics.
“Just because you go to church does not mean you’ll get into heaven. Most people that go to church are going to hell. You know why? Do you know why? Because they go to church and they’re hypocrites … they say they’re Christian and then they get drunk at the sorority parties; they get drunk at the fraternity parties,” R.D. said.
“The only thing you people deserve is hell. You deserve to go to Hell for lying. You deserve to go to hell for stealing. You deserve to go to hell for cheating on your boyfriend. You deserve to go to hell for cheating on your girlfriend. You deserve hell. That’s the only thing you deserve.”
The demonstration ended shortly after 2 p.m. and the demonstrators left.