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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Giving Sister Cindy an audience is harmful

Sister+cindy+illustration
Sister cindy illustration

For decades, Brother Jed and Sister Cindy have toured colleges across the nation, with Texas State being a frequent destination for their travels. Brother Jed died last year, but students can expect to see Sister Cindy on campus next semester spouting inflammatory, hateful, fundamentalist rhetoric, which is considered extreme even by other Christians.
Her sermons tend to include “slut-shaming,” homophobia, invasive personal questions regarding the sex lives of people in her audience and threats of fire and brimstone that seem more at home with Westboro Baptist Church than a college campus.
The complicating factor in this is Sister Cindy’s meteoric rise to social media stardom. Clips of her speeches, shared on platforms like TikTok by amused and bewildered students, have led to enormous crowds at every campus she ends up at. She has become an online celebrity, and few students at Texas State haven’t heard of her by this point.
Sister Cindy directly materially benefits from the crowds that she draws. On the official website of their organization, The Campus Ministry USA, she sells merchandise like t-shirts and coffee mugs. She receives donations from like-minded people based on the perceived success of her work. It is all supported indirectly by millions of views worth of free advertising provided by credulous college students who fall for her act.
It is important to distinguish between those who go to Sister Cindy’s events to protest versus those who go for entertainment purposes. Students choosing to post clips of her online are at least partially complicit in funding her moneymaking machine, even if they are personally opposed to her words.
Jamie Bouzard, an LGBTQ+ affirming local pastor affiliated with Christ Chapel campus ministry who has counter-protested Sister Cindy and Brother Jed for 15 years, points out that simply going to film Sister Cindy does nothing but help her.
“Uncritically filming her offers no judgment on the content of her words and might even lend an aura of authority to her words,” Bouzard said. “Instead, we have a responsibility to protect students from the abuse which she seeks to heap on them.”
For students who are only there because they find it personally entertaining, it is important to remember the all-too-real history of hatred toward women and the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S.
Our state government pushes to roll back rights for those same groups while advocating for an ahistorical, hateful and government-mandated interpretation of the Christian faith which violates the separation of church and state. Students can’t afford to treat Cindy as a joke when extremists just like her are attempting to pass laws that affect Texans directly.
Cindy’s risible, hateful beliefs aside, her right to voice those beliefs is inalienable. Moreover, banning her from campus does nothing to prevent her online reach from growing. But she does not have the right to receive free advertising from students or to be listened to when she comes to campus.
Alyssa Shierry, a psychology senior, argued that when Sister Cindy rolls back into town, the most effective response from the students of Texas State is not crowds of people filming her and posting her online but indifference.
“I think the same should go to any other figure on campus that spreads messages that are harmful or based in hate,” Shierry said. “People feed off of attention and get their power from it, but by refusing to give these kinds of speakers platforms, we can take that power away.”
After all, Sister Cindy’s popularity is thanks to the internet; if the internet has a golden rule, it’s “don’t feed the trolls.” Do not provide her with free advertising by posting clips of her online. If you need to participate in the circus surrounding her, join those who are counter-protesting her hate.
 Andrew Hodge is an English and communications senior
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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