Letter to the editor: Church image holy misrepresented

Letter to the editor: Church image holy misrepresented

The Northeastern News (Northeastern University), February 10 1999

I am writing in response to the article published in last week’s Northeastern News by Christine Walsh ( “Banned group recruiting at NU”). After reading the article, I was disturbed by the misrepresentations and libelous statements asserted in Walsh’s portrayal of the Boston Church of Christ. As a member of the Boston Church of Christ and as a student at Northeastern University, I feel obligated to address the allegations made in last week’s article.

My initial dissatisfaction with Walsh’s piece stems from her declaration that the Boston Church of Christ targets students, “usually college students who are new to the area” for membership. As a member of the Boston Church of Christ, I have invited all types of students from all kinds of backgrounds to our church services.

Walsh’s article also wrongly asseverates that the Boston Church of Christ has been banned from Northeastern’s campus. North-eastern has not imposed any official ban on the Boston Church of Christ. In fact, banning students from expressing their religious beliefs is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech and religious freedom. In this light, Walsh’s painting of the Boston Church of Christ as a “banned group” merely becomes a sensationalist, unresearched report.

Other parts of the article falsely describe and overstate past occurrences involving the Boston Church of Christ. For instance, Walsh’s interview with Sister Rosemary Mulvihill, director of the Spiritual Life Office spawned a series of unsubstantiated half-truths while the “Boston Church of Christ was not available for comment” (The Northeastern News attempted to contact a Boston Church of Christ member a few hours before the article was published).

Furthermore, Walsh and Mulvihill’s assertion that the Boston Church of Christ “often targets students who are lonely and vulnerable, those who are looking for God but don’t know where to start, and those who have reached a low point in their lives” is both fabricated and insulting. As a member of the Boston Church of Christ and a law student at NU’s School of Law, I am offended that Walsh and Mulvihill essentially state that I was lonely and vulnerable when I joined the church. When I joined the Boston Church of Christ, I had just graduated from a prestigious, top-tier liberal arts college, and I was beginning my first year of law school.

Overall, my experience with the Boston Church of Christ has been extremely positive and because my experience with the church has been fulfilling and rewarding, I invite other students to our services.

In addition to Northeastern students, there are hundreds of students in the Boston area who are part of the Boston Church of Christ. Many students in the church attend the best schools in the country, including Harvard, MIT, Tufts and Boston University.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Boston Church of Christ at its Web site, www.bostoncoc.org. Members may be able to answer questions more objectively and truthfully than last week’s article. As I have attempted to demonstrate in this letter, Walsh’s article was unwarranted, unresearched, and thus, an unacceptable piece of journalism.

Michael Xavier
graduate student
Law School


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