An advertisement for a Kent State University event asked if the phrase "You Need Jesus" is a form of "hate speech" or "free speech" — and a Christian student leader wants an apology.
The Twitter announcement for last week's forum sponsored by the Ohio school's Center for Student Involvement included an image of figures holding various signs: Three read “No More Gays,” “Women Need To Serve Their Man” and “Build a Wall" — the fourth read "You Need Jesus."
— CSI (@CSIKent) October 18, 2017
Student Jared Small, president of Kent State's chapter of Campus Ministry International, told the College Fix that Christianity was unfairly singled out on the advertisement.
“The university should apologize because it appears to be targeted toward one political and religious side,” Small told the outlet in an email. "They could have included hate speech against [P]resident Trump or hate speech against Christians as examples. In my opinion, free speech protects hate speech to an extent. However, the university appears to show a bias against Christians and conservatives."
Amy Reynolds, dean of Kent State’s College of Communication and Information, moderated the "Free Speech or Hate Speech?" forum and told the College Fix she had nothing to do with creating the advertisement. She added that the Center for Student Involvement “created all of the promotional materials … I’m not sure what the process is/was," the outlet said.
Officials from the Center for Student Involvement and the school's media relations department didn't reply to the College Fix's inquiries about the ad.
This writer's perspective
Digs against Christianity have been part of the human experience since the faith was born, so this latest jab is nothing particularly earth shattering.
One wonders, however, what might have transpired on campus if the advertisement read "You need Allah." It doesn't seem realistic that reaction would have ended merely with a demand for an apology.
Christianity has been repeatedly singled out because Christians generally are a fairly easy target for this type of slight — and believers should expect such rhetoric (and worse) to only increase and intensify.