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We Should Not be Giving Sister Cindy’s Preachings a Platform

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Evangelist preacher Cindy Smock preached shocking messages at UC Irvine on April 25, slut shaming and using Gen Z language like the lyrics of “WAP” to spread hateful conservative messages. Commonly known online as “Sister Cindy,” the preacher has become an internet sensation as Gen Z students ironically listen to her messages to be entertained by her dramatic teachings. 

Last year, Cindy amassed a huge crowd of students at the flagpoles by Langson Library. While this year’s crowd was much smaller, the onlookers were as enthusiastic as ever about her visit. 

UC Irvine has always established that the freedom of speech is a core right for everyone to have on campus. Therefore, Cindy has every right to practice that freedom at UC Irvine, even if her preachings are problematic. The problem, however, lies in the attention that UCI and other college students give her. 

Everything about Cindy can be traced to deeper issues in Christianity today. Religious zealots like her skew the idea of what being a Christian actually means. Their harsh judgment towards both Christians and non-Christians goes against what the Bible says about talking to others about Christ. The kind of preaching Cindy does is a crystal clear example of Christian nationalism. 

Christian nationalism is the belief that Christianity is the only acceptable religion in America. This extremist ideology is an attempt to collide the church and the state. Christian nationalists discriminate against religious minorities and the nonreligious people, which is often what Cindy’s preachings do. If students continue to spotlight her, Christian nationalism and the discrimination it encourages will continue to permeate. 

Students may find that Cindy’s preaches include comically recognizable Gen Z phrases, such as whore, WAP, homo and hoe. However, this doesn’t change the fact that students are actively choosing to support misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist rhetoric by attending her rallies. 

Cindy herself is a part of an organization called The Campus Ministry USA. It was founded by her late husband, “Brother Jed,” who often preached alongside her. The focus of the ministry is to share their critical and traditional preaching at universities and colleges. They believe that college students are an ideal audience because they have young impressionable minds. The shock value of their preaching style captures the student’s attention, and then they stay to listen to their real message. 

Cindy’s work goes beyond their preachings on university campuses. On the Campus Ministry website, the couple support other horrific beliefs that aren’t sugar coated with Gen Z satire. The website contains racist, Islamophobic and zenophobic language on a page where Jed had written that the American Christian failure to condemn Muslims led to the 9/11 terrorist attack. The ministry also perpetuates misogyny and transphobia which is evident in a blog called “‘Unsex Me Here’ — Lady Macbeth.” In this case, unsexing refers to the action of not fully conforming to the gender attributes of their assigned sex. Jed explained that women who dress like men will transform into hags and witches. 

The website also details accounts of “converting” queer people to not be queer anymore. One blog that Jed wrote is about an ex-Muslim queer person experiencing hesitancy before fully committing to be Christian and straight. 

The LGBTQ+ slander continues on the campuses when Cindy preaches. While students have protested against her discriminating sermons, the entertaining preacher has often won the crowd over the protesters. When Cindy went to Purdue University in 2021, LGBTQ+ protesters waved flags and signs that read “personally, I don’t find homophobia entertaining.” These protestors fought against her words, and fellow students yelled at them to let Cindy speak. Giving Cindy and the Campus Ministry a platform will always result in the silencing of other voices — ones that are especially more important than the Ministry’s. 

Sister Cindy is never going to stop coming to campuses to spread Christian nationalism rhetoric. While she has every right to do so, it’s our responsibility to look away and not give a platform to bigotry. Christian nationalism will only meet its end when we stop sensationalizing Sister Cindy and instead support the communities who have been deeply discriminated against by her preachings. 

Skylar Paxton is an Opinion Staff Writer. She can be reached at paxtons@uci.edu.