Yelling zealots have same rights as students


Every so often, the Green is littered with religious zealots who loudly proclaim their teachings – specifically what becomes of heretics, whoever they might be.

These preachers can be seen in straw hats, holding eye-catching signs visible from great distances.

And they are never far away from the hoards of students who surround them and urge them to go home and never return.

What is most fascinating about this scene, surprisingly, is not the manner in which the preachers convey their messages but the reaction of their opposition.

Similar to a crowd of children, students hoot and holler about the fanatics’ belief-systems containing very often insulting ideas, all the while forgetting the cardinal amendment of the Constitution: freedom of speech.

It is unlikely the same crowd, whose frustration with these preachers runs deep, would not allow another human being ­– a fellow American – his or her First Amendment rights.

In fact, the same liberties allowed to the preachers yelling apply to the retaliatory students. In angering the masses, these zealots exercises their rights just as the students – in demanding his departure – exercise theirs.

Yet there is still a problem with the concept of forcing another person to leave UNF’s campus based on his or her religious belief.

There is no law against name-calling or belly-aching within the forum of national conversation, which is why there is a guaranteed right to do so in the Constitution.

Though one party of the zealot/student debate might seem much more intolerant than the other, one begins to wonder which side that might be.

Regardless of whether students agree with the preachers’ teachings – or even if they’ve called them hell-bound personally, one should admire a person with enough conviction to stand in front of crowds of people who frantically deny their ideas.

E-mail Fatima Hussein at [email protected].