Christian Band Causes Stir on Campus at UTM

Our college campuses have become so infiltrated with God-haters that even the smallest hint of Christianity will be protested.

The past few weeks have seen controversy erupt over UTM’s booking of the band Sonicflood, which played last night in the Student Life Center.

The band played songs from their new CD, This Generation, which their Web site says is a “call to this generation … to be what we’re made to be: worshippers of God.”

The controversy started when Adam Francis, a senior philosophy major, started the Facebook group: “Why is UTM using my money to book a Christian band?”

Francis said he did not get interested in the concert until he noticed that the Student Activities Council was sponsoring the event.

“I got onto their (Sonicflood’s) Web site and found that one of their beliefs is that ‘Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for salvation and all people without personal faith in him are lost and will spend eternity in hell.’ That’s not the kind of thing I want my student activities fee being spent on,” Francis said.

Francis went on to question the constitutionality of the move to sponsor the event. SAC, which collects a mandatory per semester fee from all students, spent $10,000 to bring Sonicflood to UTM.

The leadership of SAC defended their decision to have the group play citing that they have brought in groups, musical acts and other forms of entertainment without preference to religious preference or ideology.

Original Link

18 Responses to “Christian Band Causes Stir on Campus at UTM”

  1. Steve says:

    And when the Gay Alliance was sponsored, did the Christians protest it and ask for their fees back? Nope.

  2. Beth says:

    Of course not! Steve, you know that would be discrimination.

  3. Bill says:

    What is wrong with the truth? If you’re not Born Again, you are going to Hell!

  4. Beth says:

    Hey, Bill, you are so right. I was being sarcastic with Steve. It is laughable (and very sad) how society caters to the ungodly, but tries to crucify those who worship God. Our college campuses have become so liberal that anyone who mentions the name of God is persecuted. It is sad that we have come to this, but the Bible told us it would happen. Thanks for stopping by!!!

  5. Steve says:

    Hi Bill,
    Glad to have your comment. I totally agree. The truth is the truth, no matter how people gloss it over.

    B.T.W.
    As co-editor of the blog and a dear sister in Christ, Beth is truly a joy to work with. We often use good natured sarcasm and “ribbing” behind the scenes as we disscuss the blog’s content.

    I find that the use of sarcasm is quite useful in helping people to see just how strange their take on an issue may be.

  6. Adam Francis says:

    I don’t hate God. I just objected to a clear breach of the First Amendment. The presence of a Christian band on campus wasn’t an issue for me at all, until I found out that SAC used its budget — collected from a mandatory Student Activities Fee charged by the University — to secure free tickets for all UTM students. SAC uses student funds, which are taken from the University, which receives money from the government. Thus, both UTM and SAC have to play by the same no-endorsement-of-a-religion rule as the government.

    Regarding Steve’s comment about the gay alliance, I’ll point out that ALLIES has never received any money from SAC, nor has any other student organization. It’s not SAC’s business to sponsor the activities of any particular organization; the purpose of SAC is to provide entertainment for UTM students.

    Regards,

    Adam Francis
    Tennessee-Martin, 2007
    President, Association of World Faiths

    P.S. Is there a reason you’ve highlighted the fact that I’m a philosophy major? 🙂

  7. Steve says:

    Adam,
    Thanks for the comment. It’s good to get information straight from the source.

    Here is what the First Amendment says:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Exactly where did the breach of the First Amendment occur? I don’t see where using student fees, equally “without preference to religious preference or ideology” is a breach.

    Actually, refusing the group access would have violated the First Amendment “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, by treating a group different because of it’s religious content or affiliation.

    I’m surprised you don’t know what the First Amendment actually says and what the Founding Father’s actual intent was when they wrote it. Please read my article “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?” as this might help you understand better.

    As for the bolding of your field of study, you’ll have to ask Beth. I suspect her point was that philosophy majors tend to be very liberal and as a collective group doubt or minimize the existence of God. I am an electronics engineer and as such tend to see things in binary (black and white, on-off, true-false, zero or one). For me, God is as real as it gets.

  8. Beth says:

    Hey Adam, Steve has pretty much said it all in regards to your comment. No one made you attend this concert and I am sure that no one else was forced to be there against their will. In the real world (outside the realm of the university setting), many times our tax dollars are spent for programs or other purposes that I we may not necessarily agree with, but is it a violation of my rights? No, it just annoys me.
    You said that it is the purpose of SAC “to provide entertainment for UTM students”. Dont you think that some of the students at UTM consider Christian music entertainment? I also need to point out that many of the songs performed by Sonicflood are as much uplifting incontent than “Christian”. But, hey, if you are looking for something to complain about you will usually find several things.
    I think you understand my reasons for highlighting your major. I graduated from college ten years ago, so I am not that far out of the loop when it comes to campus life. I know from experience that philisophy majors tend to be liberal in their ideology and argumentative by nature. I took several philosophy courses during my six years in college and I never met a philosophy professor or major that did not like a good debate (and most of the time the shots were fired at me because of my realtionship with the Lord).
    One thing we all need to remember is that in life there are going to be many things we think are unfair or unjustifiable, but when you die all that will matter is what you did for God and how you sought a relationship with Him. This concert, your First Amendment rights, and all the other things you see as injustice – they dont matter. All that matters is God – let Him be the judge of what is right and wrong.
    Just curious, why did you major in philosophy?

  9. Adam Francis says:

    Steve and Beth,

    If the Baptist Collegiate Ministries booked the Sonicflood concert on campus, there would be no issue. As a student organization, they have the same rights to access and use of campus building as, say, ALLIES or the Recycling Group. The concert only became an issue when the SAC spent $10,000 of its budget — which comes directly from a mandatory fee for all UTM students — to secure free seats for anyone presenting a UTM I.D. at the door. At that point, SAC signed on as a co-sponsor with the BCM, and the concert gained UTM’s seal of approval.

    No, I was not coerced to attend the concert. I was, however, coerced into paying for a ticket, as was every single UTM student. Simply put, the University charged me money, without my consent, to bring to campus a Christian worship band, as well as representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Missions Board.

    This isn’t a matter of taste. The SAC has booked many acts that I couldn’t stand. These other groups, however, did not endorse a religious viewpoint. Their purpose was secular entertainment.

    The argument that Sonicflood is just entertainment fails when one looks at Sonicflood’s lyrics. For example, “Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that You’re my God.” Or, “We worship Jesus. We love You, Father.” Or, “This generation worships You… This is a call to worship… This is a call to bow down on our knees before the risen King.” Or, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” (Yes, that’s a direct quote.) I’m fully aware that there are some “Christian bands,” whose music does have a secular, uplifting purpose. I’ve heard plenty of P.O.D. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Killswitch Engage. (“As we drink of life, absolve me through Your suffering,” etc.) Sonicflood, however, is a Christian WORSHIP band, whose stated purpose is to bring its audience closer to Christ. In fact, their website bio describes their latest album, “This Generation” (also the name and theme of their current tour), as “a call… to be what we’re made to be: worshippers of God.” I don’t see how this is “just entertainment.”

    Regarding your generalizations about philosophy majors, I must point out how poorly UTM fits that stereotype. We have three philosophy professors here. One is a liberal atheist, and the other two are quite devout, conservative Christians. One is even a scholar of St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval Catholic theologian. The other recently told his students, in our Principles of Bioethics course, that “It’s never too late to get to know the Bible. Well, almost never.” Furthermore, several of my fellow philosophy majors and minors — including those who have supported me most during this whole controversy — are devout Christians.

    When I came to UTM, I was a computer science major / philosophy minor. After taking a few comp-sci classes, I decided it just wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. (Also, I wasn’t a big fan of some of the comp-sci faculty.) After taking my first two philosophy classes, I decided to change my major, and pick up a minor in German. For a while, I saw myself going to grad school and getting a Ph.D. in philosophy. When I decided being a professor would probably get boring after a few years, I decided to go to law school (which is where I’m headed next fall).

    I guess the more direct answer to your question, though, would be that I enjoy philosophy because it gives me the tools I need to make better judgments about the nature of the world around me. I’ve most enjoyed my courses in logic and applied ethics, since I think those are the most practically applicable areas of philosophy. We all need to be able to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and make the right moral choices in our lives. Philosophy, even academic philosophy, isn’t something removed from the real world; in my opinion, it is the foundation for any study which directly engages the real world.

    Regards,

    Adam Francis
    Tennessee-Martin, 2007
    President, Association of World Faiths

  10. Kevin Bay says:

    I’m not going to read all of the lengthy comments above, but I will try to set some of the record straight since I am mentioned in the article as well.

    Two things should be cleared up right off the bat:

    1. No one requested to have their fees refunded. That is pure invention, and has no basis in fact.

    2. This group of “God-haters and liberals” was composed primarily of five people, three of which are religious and two of which are professed Christians. I am one of the non-religious members, and yet I am a member of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and help them with their mission work.

    Feel free to question me about my beliefs regarding Sonicflood coming to campus or why I’m an atheist, but only if you legitimately want to learn. If your only interest is to stereotype or balk because you don’t understand what’s going on, then I have better things to do.

  11. Steve says:

    Good discussion. Glad to have everyone willing to pose their points of view.

    Adam, you didn’t answer my question.
    Exactly how did a breach of the First Amendment occur?
    It seems from reading your last comment that the issue you take umbrage with is having your student funds used in a manner you find offensive.
    This is not a First Amendment issue, this is a college fee usage policy issue.

    Now what I’d like to know is, has the SAC “secure free seats for anyone presenting a UTM I.D. at the door” for any other groups brought to the campus to perform?

    As I wait for your answer, I’ll go ahead and make a presumption that they have.

    You say “This isn’t a matter of taste. The SAC has booked many acts that I couldn’t stand. These other groups, however, did not endorse a religious viewpoint. Their purpose was secular entertainment.”

    But the SAC has treated all groups equally by paying for them to?

    Here’s a question for you:
    When did UTM receive the right to make laws, through which they could then establish a national religion?
    I always thought that passing laws was the job of the national legislature and president. If a national religion was to be established, wouldn’t it have to come through the legislature and president, instead of UTM?
    Read what this says:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
    How is having your student funds help fund a concert an establishment of a nation religion?

    You are working on the false pretense that has been rampant in our education system for years; the so-called “separation of church and state”. Let me reiterate: It doesn’t exist.
    The so-called “wall”, was to protect religion from government, not the other way around. Up until 1949, it was always understood that way. In 1949, an activist supreme court flip-flopped the definition around, in complete contrast to what the founding fathers intended.

    Adam, at best, what you are advocating is religious discrimination; a direct violation of “prohibiting the free exercise (of religion) thereof”.

    Kevin:
    I’m not really interested in why you are an atheist, but if you want to tell us why you didn’t want Sonicflood to perform, go ahead.

  12. Kevin Bay says:

    Steve, you seem to have a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution. You do realize that one of the provisions in the Constitution is that it should be a living document which can constantly be updated through not only the amendment process but through the interpretation of the courts?

    What I mean is, when the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and we all know that, but it doesn’t stop there. The Fourteenth Amendment makes that applicable to all the state governments, rather than just to the federal government. Substantial amounts of subsequent case law (I would suggest consulting the Anti-Defamation League’s website for a decently comprehensive list) have subsequently been used to shape our interpretation of the so-called separation of church and state.

    “When did UTM receive the right to make laws, through which they could then establish a national religion?” is a ridiculous question. You do not have to be a legislative body to act on behalf of the federal government using their funds. If this were the case, then the government could start building churches. Churches aren’t lawmaking bodies, so how can anything they do with federal funding establish a law that endorses a national religion, right?

    What you call an activist Supreme Court decision did not at all “flip-flop” the definition of separation of church and state. You might be interested to know, as I alluded to earlier, that the Anti-Defamation League (an organization devoted to the civil rights of the Jewish) is a primary proponent of the separation of church and state. The only reason that you perceive this as an infringement rather than a protection of religion is because you’re not a member of one of the churches that need protection. You’re a member of what most often poses a threat of becoming a national religion – Christianity.

    Santa Fe Independent School District vs Doe (2000) is the most recent case law on this subject. It was decided that even private citizens could not be protected in terms of the First Amendment (free speech, in this case) when they were endorsing religious values seemingly on behalf of the government. “Seemingly on behalf of the government” is extensively defined in previous court decisions through both the Lemon test and what a hypothetical objective observer, well informed of the background of the situation, might perceive. You can learn a lot about this by researching cases that have to do with teaching Intelligent Design in public school science classrooms.

    The simple fact of the matter is that if the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (an official registered student organization with an overtly religious purpose) had paid for Sonicflood to come to UTM, then more power to them. I would fight just as vehemently for their right to bring Sonicflood to Martin against opponents, on the basis of their free exercise of religion. What happened here, though, is totally different. The BCM didn’t have enough money to bring them, so they approached the president of the SGA — a Baptist minister — who used his influence to coerce SAC into bringing an unreviewed Christian performance. SAC goes every year and reviews people who they will potentially bring to campus, deciding whether or not they like them. This seemingly ludicrous decision was made simply at the whim of the SGA president. The problem, again, is that SAC has the use of public university (ergo state government) money, and appears to be endorsing this band, which isn’t a band at all but a roving band of musicians on a mission to win converts for Christ.

  13. Beth says:

    Like you, Kevin, I am only willing to talk to you if you legitimately want to learn. Yes, I am curious as to why you are an atheist (if Adam is an atheist, I am curious as to why he made that decision as well. I will be honest, I have not taken the time to read the long comments made by either of you – I plan on doing that later tonight when I have more time to process them. What I would like to ask is this: If SAC booked and paid for a concert by someone like Alannis Morrissette, AC/DC, or Marilyn Manson (is that how you spell his name?) would you be so vehemently opposed to it? Something tells me you wouldnt. Their lyrics are contrary to everything a Chrisitan believes in (ir. premarital sex, drugs, and even Stanism in the case of Manson). How is this different from the booking of Sonicflood? I think it would be difficult to find a band that would not play music contrary to the beliefs of at least one person on campus. It just so happens that you guys are opposed to Christianity, so you make waves about Sonicflood, but I daresay that if it were any other popular music band, you would not be so quick to judge.
    You can justify your actions any way you wish. Call it First Amendment rights (which have not been violated, by the way – see above) or claim it unfair to use student money for a “Christian” concert, but let’s just call it what it really is, shall we? You guys are against anything having to do with God and you will balk every chance you get when it comes to making your atheist position known. You have that right. You have the right to be atheists, you have the right to dislike the things/people of God, and you have the right to voice your opinions. Just remember that as Christians, even though you probably think we are ignorant and blind, we have the right to believe and to have our voices heard as well. And more importantly, in the end, none of our voices will matter – only God’s voice will be heard (believe it or not – that is your right as well).
    I never want to sound arrogant or hypocritical, but I truly would like to hear why you guys have chosen not to believe in God? I hope you understand that my comments are given in the spirit of productive discusson – I am not your judge -God is, so please do not feel that I am being antagonistic. Have a great night.

  14. Kevin Bay says:

    Here is a fact:

    You don’t know anything about me other than what I have told you.

    Here are some assertions that you have made about me:

    I am opposed to Christianity.
    I actively and deliberately employ a double standard, to the end of harming Christians.
    I am “quick to judge” anything Christian.
    I am simply rationalizing an emotive response.
    I am lying about my motivations and intentions.
    I am “against anything having to do with God.”
    I will “balk very chance [I] get when it comes to making my atheist position known.”
    I think Christians are ignorant and blind.
    I think Christians have less rights than other human beings.

    That’s nine things that you apparently know about me without so much as reading my position on the matter, and nine serious accusations at that (these are not innocent facts you are reporting). And yet you don’t think you sound arrogant? hypocritical? judgmental?

    Give me a break. You skipped right over my arguments and went straight to attacking me personally and you don’t even know who I am. And you expect me to believe you aren’t being antagonistic? That you want to have a productive discussion? That’s like punching me in the face while telling me you’re not a violent person.

    I don’t hate Christians. A huge majority of my friends and BEST friends are Christians. I don’t agree with them, but that’s not tantamount to being a “God-hating liberal” as I’m so often classified by ignorant people writing foolish things.

    Do you ever wonder why atheists are so easily irritated by Christians? Really, do you? Because you have no idea how many times I’ve had this same experience in my life: some Christian that thinks they know everything there is to know talks down to me, insults me, and calls me a blithering idiot, and then concludes with some nonsense about how they aren’t judgmental and it’s a good thing they love me like Jesus would love me if he were here.

    You’re not acting anything like I expect a Christian should, and I don’t think you want to learn anything about me at all.

  15. Beth says:

    Well, Kevin, I dont believe that I ever called you a blithering idiot. Since I have never met you, I cannot make that assertion. However, there ARE some assertions I can make from your previous comments.
    1) someone who is so adamantly against a simple campus concert because of the content of the music being Christian in nature pretty much tells me that person is opposed to Christianity – have you opposed any other concerts sponsored by SAC?
    2)There is a definite double standard when Christians are singled out and not other bands conveying messages contrary to Christian beliefs
    3)I would call it pretty quick to judge when all this has occurred in the past “few weeks”
    4)There is always much emotion brewing when someone causes a stir over what they feel is an injustice
    5)Assuming your previous comments portray your true feelings, then they speak volumes as to your attitude toward Christianity. If you are such good friends with so many Christians, why try to deny them enjoying music that edifies their God?
    6)If you are in favor of “things having to do with God”, then why are you making such a fuss over one little concert?
    7)Um, well, no one made you comment here or protest the concert -it was pretty much of your own free will, so I would deduct you enjoy debating your lack of faith in God
    8)I never said you think Christians are ignorant and blind – I said you probably think that (just drawing from my past experience with non-believers – I have no way of divining your intentions)
    9)Your position on the concert proves you believe that Christians have less rights than others because if you believe in equal rights, then Christians should be allowed to enjoy concerts on campus just as those who do not believe and enjoy secular music.

    Let’s see, I think I have addressed all your points. Now, with all that said, I am sorry that you feel I am not acting the way a Christian should, but what you need to realize is that Christians are to act like Christ. Christ always pointed out sin and rebuked it. I am sorry, but your idea of infringement of First Amendment rights is preposterous and you guys were wrong to make such a big deal out of a concert. You have your opinion and I have mine, but at the end of the day when all is said and done – it was just a concert – no one was hurt – I am sure that many people were excited to attend it – are there not more important issues to protest – priorities need to be adjusted sometimes

  16. Kevin Bay says:

    Wow. I point out nine specific ways in which you have been rude to me, and you point out that you didn’t say something that I didn’t attribute to you? Unbelievable.

    I am a philosophy major. I am interested in debate, and logic. When someone says, “Hey, Kevin, did you know there’s an issue here on campus so controversial that similar issues have made it to the Supreme Court? We’re having a debate on it tonight,” then yes, I’m going to be there.

    That you can even sit there and say that you know what you are talking about, or that you know anything about me or my town or my argument is ridiculous. You’ve already come to a conclusion that I’m a God-hating liberal opposed to everything that looks remotely religious because I’m spreading the values of godlessness, and you haven’t taken one iota of care to see what I’m really about or what I really think.

    I have a very good idea that Christians are supposed to act like Christ, and that’s exactly who I meant you were NOT acting like when I said what I did earlier. The Christ I’ve always heard about dined with tax collectors and healed people. I don’t remember him ever sitting in one place pointing to perceived sinners and telling everyone how much better he was than “their kind.” To me, that sounds like something more like a Pharisee or Sadducee.

  17. Beth says:

    Kevin, you are obviously tenacious when it comes to debate. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I am sorry you take offense to my opinions, but I just call ’em like I see ’em. I am also sorry that you see me as thinking I am better than you (I definitely do not think that at all). Sometimes it is difficult to express our true emotions and feelings in type. You have taken my comments in a totally opposite way than they were meant – and for that I am truly sorry. What I am not sorry for,however, is speaking the truth and standing up for what I believe.

    I think we could discuss this until the cows come home and we would never see eye to eye. I dont understand your point of view because I look at things according to God’s word. You dont understand my point of view, because you do not believe in God. Everyone is not always going to agree with either of us.

    I will be praying that God uses this “quandry” to show Himself to you. I know you do not believe in God, but He is real and He wants to have a relationship with you, which may sound strange, but once you meet the Savior it will all make perfect sense. I thank you for your comments and your discussion, please feel free to stop by this blog anytime! Have an awesome day!

    Beth

  18. Steve says:

    Kevin Bay Said:
    “Steve, you seem to have a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution. You do realize that one of the provisions in the Constitution is that it should be a living document which can constantly be updated through not only the amendment process but through the interpretation of the courts?”

    WRONG!!

    There is only one legitimate method for changing the United States Constitution. It is called the “Amendment”. It requires:

    Both houses of Congress, to approve by two-thirds votes, a resolution calling for the amendment. The resolution does not require the president’s signature. To become effective, the proposed amendment must then be “ratified” or approved by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

    Or

    The legislatures of two-thirds of the states vote to call for a convention at which constitutional amendments can be proposed. Amendments proposed by the convention would again require ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

    All other “methods” are Judicial Activism, allowing one branch (the judiciary) more power then the other two (legislative and executive), thus negating the separation of power our Constitutional framers intended to balance our government.

    I’m surprised you didn’t know this. But be proud. You are most certainly a product of our liberal education system; the very poster child for their liberal agenda of illogical emotional thought processes and false information.