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Thursday, November 20, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

Tract Marks

sent in by ~Fox Mackenzie

This was a piece I wrote for my college (Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ) newspaper - bet it won't get printed. ;)

I do my best to be open-minded about paper advertisements on campus. I put up with over-photocopied work-from-home flyers tacked on top of important things like internship information. I turn a blind eye to the glossy droves of club-whoring postcards littering the common areas of the campus, mostly on the floors and sidewalks. I even help out from time to time by taking down papers from our crowded bulletin boards for events that have already happened. I even put up posters for my club when I get the chance. We're a public campus, and I respect that. Everyone should have a say, because everyone pays tuition, right?

There is, however, one thing that irks me. It's no great secret to anyone who knows me that I am a practicing pagan, and have been for a number of years now. It is by no means an easy thing to be, even in today's supposedly enlightened environment. I, and my people, come under constant fire, and always have, for the misrepresentation of my beliefs that the church, and the general ignorance of the public seem to take delight in propagating.

That being said, I take offense to the distribution of 'tracts' on a supposedly non-religiously-affiliated campus. Tracts are small booklets, usually taking a rather extreme pro-church stance (For example, the classic Jack Chick tracts, found on distributed en masse to the public in hopes that they will convert. By themselves, they are only paper - in the hands of some zealots, however, they can become a real annoyance.

This semester alone, I have had to deal with them in my bathroom stall at least five times, a pile of Chick Tracts on top of the tissue dispenser in every stall. While reading tarot cards for a fundraiser, and very clearly in the middle of a reading, a woman very rudely walked up, started talking without so much as a 'hello', and dropped tracts directly on top of my card arrangement, informing me that bad things were in store for me unless I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I calmly handed the tracts back to her, informed her I was a pagan and not interested in converting, and she gave me a patronizing smile and told me that it was alright, that I could still be saved if I started right now. Elated at finding a decent parking spot in front of Larrison last week, I headed to class, only to return three hours later and find my left windshield wiper three inches from the glass due to a king james version and a handful of tracts shoved under it. No other car in the entire lot was so adorned - I myself had been singled out for my pagan-themed, and liberal bumper stickers, among them "Freedom of religion means any religion." and "Religious groups should stay out of politics, or be taxed.".

Listen. I don't go shoving Scott Cunningham works under your wipers for having rosaries dangling from your rearview windows. If you follow god, that's fine with me. I don't. I am not evil, wicked, or in need of saving. I do not own black cats, kill babies/goats/chickens, ride a broomstick, or wear a pointy hat - no witches or pagans do. We're just people, and we have a right to go about our daily lives without being bombarded by Christian propaganda when we use the facilities, park our car, or raise money for non-profit organizations.

This is a place of learning, not a place of worship. To all you zealots: stop distributing tracts, stop telling me I'm going to hell in the lunch line like it's some kind of polite subject of conversation, and start trying to understand before you condemn.

And for whatever god's sake - stop bending my damn windshield wipers.