Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Simply UnAshamed, or positively shameless?

As I was stepping into my car several days ago, I noticed a colorful piece of paper stuck under my windshield wiper. Perturbed, I reached down to remove the leaflet when, much to my annoyance, I discovered that the glossy paper had become one with my beautiful Honda Accord, fused to the windshield by rain and subsequent heat. Out of options, I took a look at the flyer and discovered that it had been placed in the name God. It was an invitation to UnAshamed, a non-denominational Christian fellowship held on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. at Daystar Family Church.

Next to this newest layer of papery residue left on my car, are the two previous residue squares left by the two previous UnAshamed leaflets that were brutishly shoved under my wiper. I guess you thought that the third time would prove to be the charm, and in a sense it is, because instead of you blasting me with unwarranted advertising, you now get to hear from me.

People of UnAshamed, I regret to inform you that I will never attend one of your programs. My decision was sealed by the fact that you are not a legitimate religious organization. Stay with me, non-believers, and accept for a moment that there are certain religious organizations that are more legitimate than others.

An authentic religion grasps the difference between witnessing and propagandizing, something your group fails to understand. An authentic act of witnessing should consist of human interaction. It is a deep, heartfelt discussion of varying spiritual viewpoints. Your propaganda bombings of campus parking lots should be condemned as acts of mass vandalism.

Was this what Jesus of Nazareth meant when he uttered the Great Commission? When he commanded the disciples to “be My witnesses?” I hardly think that these imperatives justify sneaking into parking lots and dormitories and, rather than actually justifying yourself to other humans, posting flyers everywhere (which done without permission in residence halls, mind you, is a violation of housing policy, and resident advisors everywhere would prefer you to cease and desist) and then bolting.

But then again, I wouldn’t expect your group to understand that either because authentic religion is literate, and you are not. No, upon visiting your website (, I was met by a video featuring actors performing a disturbingly violent drama. Action-packed depictions of Christ, replete with simulated beatings and crucifixions all taking place on a central stage, with melodramatic orchestral music rising in the background.

Then the scene changes and the stage is still lit, but it now features a group of African-American performers pumping up the mostly white crowd with a bit of Christian rap. This is quite a tonic, I’m sure. Not only do you get to lose yourself in a hysterical crowd, but you also get to feel cool, edgy and exotic while doing it. Hands raised while jumping up and down, with faces contorted into expressions of intense emotion, your congregation is whipped into a frenzy. The music reaches its crescendo, and the video, titled “Intro/Crunk 2011,” ends.

Unlike literate religion, yours is a cult of spectacle. You are not inspired to higher thinking by ancient texts, but are compelled to tribalism by images and noise.

Authentic religion is thoughtful and reflective. I don’t need to attend one of your pep-rallies to be quite sure that there is nothing thoughtful or reflective about what you do. How could there be? In the next video, featuring a concert, the lights are dimmed, the music is blaring and the crowd is chanting in unison: “Sold out! Sold out! Sold out!”

Which, it turns out, is fitting, because in addition to offering your weekly therapy sessions, you also offer an array of officially licensed products that are peddled by your umbrella ministry: The Basement, based out of Birmingham. One is free to choose from a wide array of cheap necklaces, dog tags and t-shirts. It was Jesus himself who flipped tables in the temple when he saw that a house of worship had become a market. Also, saying that a certain percentage of the proceeds go to missionaries is no different than selling an animal for sacrifice as was done in those days – they both try to pass off a moneyed exchange as genuine giving.

You should, frankly, be ashamed. Desperate for membership, you plant yourself in a location where you know you will be able to find hoards of young, malleable adults outside of their comfort zone and in search of meaning: a college campus. You thrust your advertising material on them. When they attend, you ensnare them with wild antics and trendy merchandise. Free from adhering to standards laid out by authentic religion, your hip, free-floating religious organization is a trap for young people.

If you must continue to exist, however, please consider this advice: First, I believe that you should change the name of your cult from “UnAshamed” to “Shameless.” It just seems fitting. Second, please stay away from my car.


Evan Ward is a senior majoring in history. His column runs on Wednesday.





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