The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday September 29th

Pit slapped: Pit preachers' comments often offensive but students should refrain from retaliation

Somebody finally did what a lot of us have thought about doing for a long time: making the Pit preacher turn the other cheek — by slapping him.

 But resorting to violence is not an effective way to retaliate against any offensive comments.

Pit preachers are legendary on campus. Several of them espouse offensive beliefs to which students strongly object.

But a fundamental right in our country is the ability to speak freely in a public forum.  This right should not come under attack.

As long as they don't threaten our personal safety or encourage us to break laws they have the right to say just about whatever they want.

What Pit preachers want to say of course includes incendiary comments we are all used to hearing from them.

Preachers should expect strong reactions to these comments. But they should not expect to be physically attacked.

Many students stay and listen to Pit preachers' evangelism. Some may agree with the preacher while many do not.

A few argue as forcefully as the preachers themselves.

And they have the right to do all of these things.

Hitting the preacher however is not a right. It is assault.

Also it does nothing to silence the preacher. In fact it makes his voice more powerful.

Tuesday Brother Micah's crowd grew larger after he was slapped. The altercation only increased his ability to reach students because more started paying attention to him.

A more powerful right we have is to ignore Pit preachers.

If our campus truly wanted to silence the Pit preachers it would stop listening to what they have to say.

Unless the student body completely ignores the presence of Pit preachers they will probably never stop coming to speak.

 And that's fine with us. It doesn't matter to us what the preachers have to say; they have the right to say it.

So ignore them if you choose. Yell back if you absolutely must. But don't hit them.

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