They’re armed with megaphones, 10-foot-tall signs and a Bible, and they’re ready to damn you all to hell. Of course I’m talking about the library lawn screechers – er, preachers. Just like the majority of public college campuses across the country, Florida Gulf Coast University is graced with the pleasure of having preachers visit our campus regularly. These preachers have been the source of a lot of controversy due to their Westboro Baptist Churchstyle protests and “sermons” that include damning students to hell and signs saying something along the lines of “Jesus hates sinners. You’re going to hell.” Usually, these signs and comments spark arguments, aggression and backlash from the students, eventually leading to the requirement of a UPD officer to be present during these “sermons.” These preachers are in fact trolls.
These trolls aren’t the creepy little dolls from the 1960s that we most likely identify with the movie “Toy Story.” I’m talking about the trolls that are mostly seen on the Internet and identified with the trollface meme. A troll is someone who deliberately expresses a provocative message with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. The preachers do just that.
These preachers want your attention, and they want your backlash. Whether it’s for the sake of just getting a rise out of someone or for the possibility of a lawsuit, the entire goal is to catch your attention. FGCU, they’re hungry for your attention. Don’t feed the trolls.
Imagine how frustrated Justin Beiber would get if he walked into a room full of 13-yearold girls and not a single one of them paid any attention to him. Now imagine if not a single person even acknowledged any of the preachers.
This country was founded on the idea of freedom of religion and expression. While I by no means believe anything they say is right, they have every right to believe what they choose and freely express it. So if you don’t agree, just ignore it.
Even if these preachers really aren’t trolling and actually do believe the nonsense they are preaching, who cares? If the majority of college students have the “whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn’t affect me” philosophy, then why bother to engage with these people? These people are set in their ways. If they do truly believe these things, no kind of reasoning, logic proof, or Jesus Christ himself, is going to change their beliefs, especially a college student stopping on the way to class to argue.