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photo by Mico Mazza

The problem with pasta and religion

LAST WEEK. MY home was invaded. Nothing was broken, nothing was taken, but it was invaded. I live in residence at 90 University, and last week a group called Campus for Christ held a spaghetti dinner in the meeting room on the ground level. Sounds innocent, right? Sure, the pasta was warm and it was free for the taking—that is, if you’d agree to be blessed.

As it was laundry day, I found myself forced to pass the room more than usual that evening. Each time I walked by, I was assaulted by the group’s efforts to entice me.

“Come have some pasta! It’s really good, and all we want to do is bless you!” they shouted.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, eventually they started coming into the laundry room with sweets telling everyone to “Come say a prayer and have some pasta.”

I’m Jewish and, although I rarely attend synagogue, I am a Jew nonetheless and I am proud of that. In the end, in order to stave off the campus Christians, I was forced to dig out my only kippah and wear it while I walked past them. That time they didn’t ask me if I was hungry.

There are approximately 1,400 people who live in 90U, Marchand, and Stanton, and many of them are away from home for the first time and extremely vulnerable. I look around sometimes and I can see the strain of university and the longing for home weighing down on them. They’re stressed out, they’re hungry for a good meal, and what does Campus for Christ do? Exploits that.

What gets me riled up is that this religious group would attempt to lure young people when they are at their most vulnerable. It is despicable. We don’t need to be lectured about the word of the lord while attempting to do our laundry for the first time; we need to do our laundry, read a book, and get a good night’s rest.

To trick students with “free” pasta and then shove a pamphlet in their faces claiming the only way to salvation—and more food for the ever-starving student—is through the good word of Jesus is immoral and just plain wrong.

As students, we shouldn’t have religion shoved in front of our faces during our first weeks in a new town. We should be meeting new people, adjusting to our surroundings, and not joining a new religion based solely on the fact that they have good food.

—Andrew Ikeman