Not Every Pitt Student

Campus Crusade for Christ does this sort of thing a lot. They start a meme, tell their affiliates to spread it, and next thing you know, it’s all over campus.

It always seems to be a trojan horse. CCC knows if they used their group’s name or the name of Jesus, people will be turned off. So they trick you into learning about them.

Peoples’ shirts might read “I Agree with Jared” and when you find out who Jared is, it turns out (shocker!) he’s a guy who wants to tell you all about Jesus.

In this particular case, the website “EveryPittStudent.com” was plastered everywhere at the University of Pittsburgh.

What does every Pitt student have in common? you wonder…

Then you find out: they all want to learn about Jesus.

(Should’ve seen that one coming, really.)

Pitt student Becca found this insulting:

[EveryPittStudent.com] would have us believe that we cannot be happy, moral, or fulfilled in life without a personal relationship with Jesus. Contrary to their assertion, many of us Pitt students have, in fact, found ourselves happy, moral, and fulfilled without following the website’s guidelines. Heck, some of us even feel like our lives have purpose without the aid of Jesus. Those of us who are not Christian were insulted, and Christians without the arrogance of those who sponsor this site are ashamed.

Becca and her boyfriend are responding in their own way. They started a Facebook group and corresponding website called Not Every Pitt Student:

[Not Every Pitt Student is a] group for acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of ideas and beliefs held by Pitt students. Beyond having different beliefs, we all have reasons to hold them and any attempt to say that every Pitt student should believe something is insulting and demeaning.

Leave it to atheists to be the voice of reason.

They’re hoping to start a student group for non-religious students at Pitt, too. If you’re interested in joining, just let them know on the Facebook group.

(Thanks to Becca for the link!)

  • http://bruinskeptics.org Roy Natian

    There’s the same thing at UCLA.
    I think CCC has an “every” site for many schools. For UCLA it’s:
    http://everybruin.com/main.php

    It’s quite annoying.

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    Purdue has the same clone. I remember a while back facebook kept advertising it to me: http://www.everyboiler.com/main.php

  • http://brokenocean.wordpress.com Nick

    Is this what people do nowadays, start groups in defiance of others?

    “Oh yeah, we’ll show you! Check out Facebook! NOT Every Pitt Student! Take that, CCC!”

    I hear about this more often than I’d like. Whenever some organization – doesn’t matter what it is – puts forth an idea some people don’t like, the “loyal opposition” can’t simply express their distaste. Oh no, they have to start a group in defiance.

    Seems so juvenile. I do appreciate the sentiment – don’t let these believers get away with their deception – but the “counter-group” idea is getting a little old.

    Or maybe I need more sleep.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    And what a bunch of utterly lame reasons for God, and “Jesus” specifically.

  • http://themousesnest.blogspot.com Mouse

    Anyone check out their “Is there a God? Six straight-forward reasons why it’s reasonable to conclude that God exists.” article? Anyone else creeped out by this God and Jesus who are pursuing us? Where can I get a restraining order?

  • Erp

    Oppositions loyal or otherwise tend to work best when they link together.

    http://everystudent.com seems to be the parent.

    SSA had an article on this back in 2007
    http://www.secularstudents.org/node/1763

    Also http://whatchutzpa.com aimed at Jewish students

  • Marlon

    It sounds similar to the “I Am Second” billboards here in Texas. The billboards typically have a picture of someone relatively famous and the web site address. Once you go to the web site, you learn how these people would have eventually killed themselves had they not found out about jesus. Very lame.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Ugh, that’s similar shit to what we had at Memphis a couple of years ago:
    http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/02/24/im-sorry-ask-me-why/

    It’s great to see that they started a counter-website and that their FB group has so many supporters. Our FB counter-group had just two of us atheists and a few CCCers.

    FWIW, if one loves Jesus so much, he/she shouldn’t be so deceptive about it. That way, I won’t have to waste any time before getting to the debate — I’ll know right away that they have imaginary friends.

    —–

    Nick, you need more sleep.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    BTW, I guess the UMemphis CCC Xians either aren’t “sorry” anymore or don’t want people asking them “why”, since their old site is gone (and unregistered).

  • Brian C Posey

    Am I the only one who doesn’t think this is a big deal.

    I don’t think the site name (everypittstudent.com) is meant to suggest that all University of Pittsburg students are christians. It is meant to capture their curiosity and get them to check out the website — targeted marketing.

    The shirts use curiosity to get people who would otherwise ignore the “advertisement” to check it out. I may not agree with the “product” but I can appreciate the marketing ingenuity.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Am I the only one who thinks that “marketing ingenuity” is a polite euphemism for “outright lies”?

    It seems reasonable to conclude that Jesus would probably not be a fan of such tactics.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @Teleprompter,
    You are not the only one. I say if someone wants to tell me about what their imaginary friend can do for me, then they should get it out there explicitly, right from the start. At the very least, I can get my lulz on quicker.

  • laterose

    Wow, I didn’t know the bright yellow shirts were a reoccurring theme either. In my high school it was a bunch of kids whose shirts agreed with Justin (it’s at the bottom of the page, sadly the dispatch article seems to have been taken down). As I recall it was all rather pointless grandstanding on the part of the youth group. The only people supporting it were already believers, everyone else was put on the defensive. That’s not a good way to gain converts.

  • Epistaxis

    They tried this at Minnesota several years ago, but refused to put the CCC name anywhere, even on the website. However, a quick cross-reference of the site and time of the meeting invitation with room reservations showed who it was. Since it’s against the rules for student groups to publicize without including their name, the poor Crusaders had to go out and erase every single chalk mark.

  • http://www.DangerousTalk.net Staks Rosch

    A number of years ago, CCC ran a program at my school called, “Do you agree with Tom: Ho I got over alcoholism.” The posters didn’t mention religion at all. I actually became friends with Tom after my friends put me up to starting a program of my own called, “Do you agree with Staks: How I got over God.” It was a pretty fun program. Tom & I still remain good friends.
    -Staks

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    A megachurch near my home puts up lawn signs all over the place each summer with some intriguing URL. A year or two ago, it was EVERYTHINGSCHANGING.COM.

  • JimboB

    Erp got it right.

    Everystudent.com is the main site… There are spawns/clones of it on many universities. I think they might be linked to the Campus Crusade for Christ group but I’m not positive.

    Here’s some more info:

    http://whois.domaintools.com/everystudent.com

  • Patti

    This reminds me of a campaign run by churches around the country during the 70s, when I was a kid. They plastered billboards, bumper stickers, subways, etc., with signs that said, “I Found It!”

    Then the local churches set up phone banks and used scripted ‘surveys’ asking if the people had heard of the campaign, knew what it meant,etc. The scripts were very detailed, right down to leading the respondents in the ‘Sinners Prayer.’

    Marketing Jesus the Modern Way.

  • http://rubyleigh.blogspot.com Ruby Leigh

    I was involved in a CCC group during my years in college, and we ran this campaign… being that I come from the inside, I imagine you will probably assume that I will be writting in it’s defense. However this is not the case.

    As an insider, my angst is a little diffrent, The problem I have with this campaign is simple. If the “message of Christ” is such a great one, why are we always trying to dupe people into believing it. While I still think the “I agree with so-n-so” is one of the most deceptive of it’s kind, it was not the only one. The whole CCC ministry is built on “leading Lost people to Christ.” That is not a secret, it is simply stated on many of their promotional materials. Unfortunately this often meant, at any cost.

    So in conclusion, I don’t have a problem with “sharing my faith”. I like to talk about it in fact because it is important to me. However, I don’t feel the need to promote it like a shady salesman. I hope that others would share their faith with me, even if it is different, or it is non-existent. You see, I became a Christian, because I thought long and hard about it, not because someone duped me into belief in a 1, 2 maneuver.

  • http://www.everystudent.com marilyn

    Funny how a teaser campaign for anything else is considered just advertising. Even if it’s just advertising a URL. But if it’s a Website about God, suddenly advertising a URL is “deceptive”?

    The site gives “about this site” and gives a person a chance to send in an email. And the navigation is all clear and upfront. And there is nothing that asks a person to register.

    If you don’t like the site’s message, fine. But there is nothing deceptive about it.

  • http://www.everystudent.com marilyn

    BTW – everystudent.com is meant to serve students who have questions about life or questions about God, giving reasons to believe in God.

    As director of the site, I was once an atheist, and from that, I continue to deeply respect people’s perspectives, questions and thoughts.

    I believe, especially in our culture, everyone is wanting to be genuine. All people are simply trying to give it their best shot. So I tend to trust people’s motives.

    On everystudent.com we try to give reasons to believe in God, and find out how to know him. Our welcome statement right at the top of the home pg says, “Welcome to EveryStudent.com — a safe place to explore issues about college, life, and what it might be like to know God.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Am I the only one who thinks that “marketing ingenuity” is a polite euphemism for “outright lies”?

    Mo, you’re not. But I prefer to phrase it as “bearing false witness.”

  • Siamang

    I don’t have a problem with the campaign, and I’m an atheist. You’ve got to get people to start having the conversation. Marketing and building curiosity are legitimate ways to start a conversation.

    Though I get what Ruby’s saying, from her point of view it reflects negatively on the message.

    As someone who doesn’t hold to Christianity, I don’t have that perspective.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @marylin,
    It’s deceptive just like any other marketing campaign that’s meant to lure people in with something appearing completely unrelated. I’m not a fan of any marketing tactic designed around ambiguity, religious or not. If you are truly proud of your god/service/product, then don’t be ashamed to put it right there in the URL.

    Here are two clearer examples for your case:
    EveryStudentThatWantsToServeGod.com
    or
    EveryStudentThatIsInterestedInHearingMoreAboutGod.com

  • http://www.everystudent.com marilyn

    @bønez_brigade,

    I’m impressed that you could type those URLs without typos – I don’t think I could! ha ha ha My advertising background makes me a proponent of “less is more.”

    How about, WhatIfGodIsTheMostIntellectuallyCompellingAndFulfillingRelationshipAPersonCouldHave.com

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @marylin,
    If we’re talking less, WeBelieveInGod.com is surely open, to the point, and memorable (though maybe not available). As is GodBelievers.com, which even has the same number of characters as everystudent.com. My point is that those are unambiguous and cut to the chase — that being, you guys believe in God and are looking for others who want to do the same. No confusion; no tricks involved.

    Anywho, in the same vein of “less is more”, GodIsImaginary.com works just fine for me.

    BTW, you left off my «stripes». ;]

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Also, FWIW, notice that the atheist bus ads (et al) of late have been rather up front about their message.

    e.g.,
    “Don’t believe in god? You’re not alone.”
    or
    “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
    or
    “Why believe in god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”
    etc…

  • http://frozensummers.com Frozen Summers

    Well…. I worked with Crusade from 2004-2006, and yeah, that is exactly what they’re doing. Using subtle messages, burying the lead, trying to not be direct.

    Campaigns like “I agree with”, “everystudent”, “something for nothing” are all about arousing general curiosity to suck people in so that a conversation can be started. The old stuff doesn’t work anymore because people mostly treat obvious preaching like they do telemarketing. This stuff doesn’t work that much better, but at least a “seed” can be planted. At which point the Holy Spirit is supposed to work on their heart and all that bollocks.

    At the end of the day it is still just the same 4 spiritual laws tracts.

  • http://newlibertycreation.com Matt

    Oh for crying out loud.

    According to you, Google.com is deceptive. It should be BestDamnSearchEngineOnThePlanet.com to avoid hurting people’s feelings.

    Get over your obvious bias and quit grasping for straws.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    @Matt,
    I take it that was directed at me, so…

    My feelings aren’t hurt the slightest bit by CCC’s marketing tactics, so don’t assume they are. I actually think of the whole scheme as being rather humorous, seeing a group of pious Xians too ashamed to just say up front what it is that they love so much.

    Your false analogy appears to be the only thing grasping for straws, though. Google was launched as a search engine, with the purpose of returning info on the particular subject matter about which people are inquiring. It isn’t trying to give me something I don’t expect (though that can occur on occasion) — it attempts to return info related to the exact word/phrase in which it is fed. So, no, Google is not being deceptive in any way. [However, calling it bestdamnedsearchengineontheplanet is a matter of debate.]


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