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Students debate religion and sexuality with activist in Student Center Plaza

A historical look at one of the most well known landmarks in Cleveland

November 10, 2011

By Ashley Ammond

Religion has been a hot topic for centuries, but on Cleveland State’s campus on Nov. 2, everyone seemed to come together.

What looked to be another on-campus protest was Keith Darrell from Whitefield Fellowship, in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking over the Student Center plaza.

Wednesday afternoon Darrell took to the plaza to preach his beliefs to those on campus. Many students passing through the plaza found his views on non-Christian faiths and same sex relationships offensive.

“F*ck this guy, I’m going to hell,” read one sign, made by a student from a pizza box.
Some students defended their religion and others argued with him about other issues.
“Do you even know what you’re talking about?” shouted one student from the back.
Doctoral student Ed Magiste argued with the man for what he said to be at least a half hour, defending the religion of Judaism, in which he was raised.

“His preach is denigrating,” Magiste said. “Jesus came to fulfill the law. The Jewish Torah’s biggest law is justice, which one shall pursue.”

Darrell was on campus the day before, preaching on the same topic, but was asked to leave by campus police, saying he didn’t have a permit and was legally not allowed on campus. However, when he returned the following day, offended students called campus police to have him removed, but the permit had been granted.

Though the First Amendment gives everyone the right to air their views as long as they are not fighting words, some students were asking, is it OK to have non-CSU students on the property offending students of Muslim and Jewish backgrounds, as well as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual backgrounds? Students didn’t think so.

Originally students thought he was an actor, or graduate student working on a thesis, but when he began offending people, it didn’t matter much to them.

“I don’t mind if he’s here,” one student said, “but I do mind ifhe’s offensive.”