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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Religious diversity explored at forum

Religion is a sensitive topic, but one that must be brought up for discussion in order to get past negative feelings and move Texas A&M forward, Amethyst Black said.
“Many times when people converge on the topic of religion there is disagreement, which often leads to anger,” said Black, a sophomore communication major and director of the community building initiative for the Student Government Association diversity team. “I think it’s important to take away the anger and just allow people to converge on the topic and provoke productive thought.”
Students gathered at a round table discussion Thursday night in Rudder Tower to explore issues surrounding religious diversity in society. Black, who coordinated the discussion, said A&M has a different culture, which can make it difficult for some students to embrace others’ differences.
“I think it’s hard for certain members of our community to be accepting of other ideas because of the way they have been socialized,” Black said. “We need to open people’s eyes, minds and hearts to be more accepting and understanding of other religions.”
Religious diversity is as important as diversity in areas such as race, thought, sexual orientation and gender, said Patrick Luckingbeal, a senior environmental studies major and SGA student advocate for diversity.
“I think diversity is encompassing of everything that makes up a person,” Lukingbeal said. “I think if people have the idea that diversity is just race, then the idea of diversity is lost.”
Lukingbeal said he feels there is diversity on the A&M campus and that it is everyone’s responsibility to reach out and learn about different people.
“I hope people gain the understanding that it doesn’t hurt to go outside of their comfort zone and learn about others,” Lukingbeal said.
The media plays a large role in influencing people’s views about various religions, said Jenn Faulkner, a senior English major.
“I think the big problem right now is that people take what they hear in the media rather than seeking out the truth,” Faulkner said. “We should encourage people to take the initiative to explore different religions for themselves.”
People should be more accepting of the wide range of ideas throughout the world, said Patrick Paschal, a junior political science major. He said that, although he is a practicing Christian, he believes there are good people from every religion and that these people should be equally respected.
“I think that everyone has a right to their beliefs,” Paschal said. “I think that is the essence of diversity, and I think that’s what makes this world so great.”

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