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The balance of freedom of speech

11/15/2013
The Penn Staff

The early November snow surprisingly wasn’t the largest campus topic Tuesday. A group of traveling evangelists endured the cold weather to preach (or shout) about sinful student behavior, not refraining from actually pointing and singling out stu­dents.

Their confrontational preaching style called out students for being of a different race, religion or sexual orientation.

Crowds of up to 50 people gathered in spurts throughout the day. Many stu­dents, including students involved with Indiana University of Pennsylvania Christian ministry groups, spoke out against the confrontation and directed damnation of their fellow students.

However, despite university regulations for noncommercial solicitation space request requirements, the evangelist group was exercising its First Amendment rights.

Despite the fact that the traveling group offended any human that wasn’t within their narrow-minded vision of what’s “okay,” they were protected by our Constitution.

And despite the hurt and anger that was shouted and expressed Tuesday, it is still important to step back and question what’s more damaging: to be offended by speech or to have our speech suppressed.

The Penn isn’t backing up any of the activity that took place Tuesday.

However, take a moment and consider the valuable words that were spoken amongst IUP students because of the potentially damaging speech of the evangelists.

Their speech led to important conversations. And while the evangelist group had the power of their words, IUP students had the power of their words too.

Tuesday was like a free speech battle.

So next time you have something important to voice, think about what’s worse: being suppressed or offended.

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