Georgia State University Church of Christ under scrutiny
What many students see as harassment by church members calls group into question
Signal, The Student Newspaper of Georgia State University, October 13, 1998
By Tonya Shoemaker
Last year’s mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate religious group still has people talking about the differences between “cults” and “churches”. Recent complaints about one church group on campus has some students asking the same questions here.
The [International] Church of Christ [led by Kip McKean] is a religious organization that offers regular bible studies to GSU students. Many students have been registering complaints with the Dean of Students office about the group.
One GSU student who attends a different Church of Christ organization called into question some group’s practice of requiring members to write down their sins.
Hillarie Marty attends a [mainstream] Church of Christ which has no affiliation with the one at school.
“If it’s the member’s choice to write them down that’s okay,” Marty said, “but if it’s because someone is forcing them to it’s wrong.”
Students have also reported feeling “harassed” by group members on campus.
Complaints of overzealous members being too direct and forceful have been filed.
Brad Pilcher is one student who feels the complaints are valid.
“The most offensive thing about them is their intrusiveness. I had just met them and they wanted my schedule and home phone number,” Pilcher said.
“Is there that much difference in a CA asking a student to attend a floor meeting on alcohol three times and a student asking someone to go to church with them three times?” said Dean of Students Dr. Kurt Keppler.
The [International] Church of Christ has been operating on a temporary charter because their proposal has been tabled at recent SGA meetings.
“Alpha and Omega’s (the [International] Church of Christ) charter has been tabled because there has been some confusion about their members and obviously the student’s concern on the harassment issue plays a part in that decision. We just want to make sure all the facts are straight before we make a decision,” said Keppler.