Petition begins to end Consuming Fire Fellowship

The Lion’s Roar / William Schmidt
Students gather together to sign a petition trying to ban Consuming Fire Ministries from being allowed to come to campus on the grounds that they may come in the name of religion are nothing more than a hate group. The petition has also gained online signatures as well. 

Recently, students began a petition on campus that is also available online through Google Documents in order to remove and ban the Consuming Fire Ministries group as well as similar organizations from the university. 

Non-campus organizations and groups register through the university in order to exercise their constitutional rights, such as publicly speaking near the Student Union. This allows access to the campus in a manner in which university officials have the ability to set the time and place of such activities.. 

According to the petition, Consuming Fire Ministries justify “themselves with ‘freedom of speech,’ this group parades itself as a righteous cause in the name of religion; however, based on both their words and actions they have proven themselves [innumerable times] to be nothing more than a hate group.”

One point that is mentioned in the petition is that Consuming Fire Ministries, who proclaim that they are a Christian group, is borderline harassing individuals and groups of students for a variety of reasons. Some Christians who signed the petition agree with this statement. 

“I signed the petition because I believe even though I am a Christian, I believe that you shouldn’t harass people and it is in the Bible that you shouldn’t judge people,” said sophomore pre-engineering major Matthew Dyson.

Other people who signed the petition believe that it is wrong to preach hate to crowds of students.

“Their God doesn’t respect other gods,” said freshman communication sciences and disorders major Peyton Reycraft. “They don’t respect other people by telling someone they are going to hell. My God is not a hateful God. I feel like the signs are too much, that they have written Muslims, homosexuals are half the population. I feel that they need to take those signs down. It just sends people away. I am a lesbian-Christian and I can’t advocate for that at all.”

Along with some believing that Consuming Fire Ministries is preaching hate, others believe that their message is not only sending the wrong message, but it may have detrimental after-effects to those who hear what is being preached. 

“You never know how someone is feeling,” said Dyson. “For them to just approach a random person and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to hell.’ What if they are already hopeless? Like I said, I am a Christian and I believe that God makes the final decision and if you are telling someone, that you don’t even know, that they are going to a place full of all kinds of evil, you never know what that person might be going through. They might go back home and commit suicide. I think there is a better way to communicate things; there’s a better way to get the message across.”

According to the petition, “This is a student body petition created in efforts of banning the Consuming Fire Ministries from this college campus, on the grounds of being a public nuisance and using assaultive/hateful speech. If a permanent ban is not possible, this petition also serves as a request to have the group relocated to a different area of campus, away from the high volume area of the Student Union.”

Some students were in agreement that the group should be moved to a different location. 

“I would have them not form a barrier between the Union and where we have to get to our next classes because people don’t have an alternative to get to their classes on time,” said Reycraft.

Though the petition is to stop the Christian organization of Consuming Fire Ministries from coming to campus, students signing the petition are still okay with other Christian groups coming to campus and preaching in public.

“These guys I don’t like,” said Dyson. “The other guys that just stand on the podium and teach from the Bible, they are cool with me cause they just preach. They don’t go around saying you’re going to hell. They’ll talk to you if you want to find out more about their religion.”

With Consuming Fire Ministries following their constitutional rights and other students signing the petition in order to ban this specific group if at all possible, some hope that the university is able to see how much some of the student body hates the situation and hopes for a resolution. 

“I want the university to know that we dislike it,” said Reycraft. “We have snaps of how much we dislike it and how they stand out here and harass people and that they rant at people and ranting isn’t conversation.”