My God is your God or you’re going to hell
The Gazette, September 18 2003
By Dan Perry
Ryerson University’s run-ins with the International Church of Christ have been well-documented in the past few years and this year is proving no exception.
Ann Whiteside, Ryerson’s officer of discrimination and harassment prevention, told The Gazette that religious groups are banned from actively recruiting members on campus due to their aggressive tactics.
Whiteside pointed out concerns that groups like the ICOC may prey on students who are vulnerable and not so well-versed in religion.
“They’ll focus on students looking for connections – international students might be a little more vulnerable to the advances of any kind of cult group,” Whiteside stated.
Ron Petter, minister of the Hamilton Church of Christ, said the confrontation at Ryerson may be a little overblown.
“A lot of [journalists] read things and they need stories – and they don’t check their sources,” he said, adding the situation at Ryerson was possibly the result of an overreaction.
“Some people [from ICOC] stepped over their boundaries, so Ryerson brought in a lawyer and slapped them down,” Petter explained.
Petter is responsible for campus ministries at McMaster University and the University of Waterloo and stated he has not seen such problems on those campuses under his jurisdiction.
While Petter said he could only speak for his charge, he confirmed ICOC adherents are encouraged to share their faith, but contrary to many journalists’ perceptions there is no organized recruitment program.
Here at Western, there are many religiously-oriented clubs, most of which have booths encouraging members to come out during Clubs Week. There are no additional restrictions regarding religiously-centred clubs on campus, according to University Students’ Council VP-finance Rohan Belliappa.
“Religious clubs are clubs under the clubs act and are subject to the same reviews and disciplinary procedures that any other club on campus would be subject to,” Belliappa said.