Religious Group on UVa Grounds Fosters Discussion, Song

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

April 9, 2014

A religious group was caused a stir on UVa grounds Wednesday.

Members of a North Carolina-based religious group gathered at the amphitheater in the afternoon, holding signs, urging people to repent, and drawing a crowd.

Students joined together and sang to show they disagreed with the group.

Ted Fergusson, a computer science major and member of the UVa InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, came after class to the amphitheatre. He heard that students had formed a ring around the protestors and sang UVa's The Good Ole Song, a song that students, faculty, and fans sing after UVa scores a touchdown at football games.

"The response from UVa was, I thought, a very good, very loving response," said Fergusson. "That, in my opinion, is about love and the foundational virtues of this state and this university. And that, I think, spreading those sorts of things, is much better than spreading hatred."

Police were called in and watched to make sure things didn't get out of hand.

Many students, including UVa second year and InterVarsity fellowship member Anne Moenning, spoke with members of the group.

"We were agreeing on some things but then on some things we just weren't seeing eye to eye. A lot of the things she was saying I don't believe lined up scripturally," said Moenning. "As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and I think what they were doing was kind of picking and choosing some verses to kind of prop up their beliefs, which I don't believe in."

Moenning said she spoke with another member of the group about sin and the meaning of repenting.

"He was just being very judgmental. It was frustrating and a little hurtful because I love the same god that he claims to love."

The group moved on around 5 p.m.

Moenning said her fellowship's weekly meeting was Wednesday night and she was hopeful the extremist group's messages would lead to questions and discussion.

"I'm kind of hopeful that a lot of people will actually go and be intrigued about it, just, you know, from everyone gathering here and then people just breaking off in little groups and saying, 'is this what the Bible actually says?' and, 'what actually is Christianity?' So, there's definitely huge potential to have a lot of good come out of this, even though it was an offputting, slightly offensive, unique situation."

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