Christian Student Association Has Cult TiesI am writing in response to the success of the Christian Student Association's raffle for an MIT sweatshirt at the Activities Midway on Tuesday evening. The raffle was a great way for the group to gather names, but students should understand exactly what they have gotten themselves into.
Freshman, first year graduate students, and international students be aware. If you put your name in the raffle box, you will most likely be contacted by the Boston Church of Christ's student organization. The Christian Student Association is affiliated with the International Church of Christ, formerly called the Boston Church of Christ. They have received a notorious reputation at MIT as well as on campuses across the United States as an extremely aggressive sect, and have been banned at Boston University as well as Northeastern University.
Why is the Boston/International Church of Christ recognized as a sect amongst other religious groups?
1. Most of the authority in the denomination is with the head of the Boston/International Church of Christ, Kip McKean.
2. The discipleship program is rather structured and authoritarian. The leader has been known to decide members' dating lives, where they will live after graduation, and may gain access to members' personal information for their use.
3. The BCC claims to be the only true church.
The group will invite you to a Bible study or other social event. My concern is in what follows the invitations. I have counseled students who have found it very difficult to say "no" to the Boston Church of Christ even when they wanted to.
A few suggestions for students invited to any religious activity:
1. What is the purpose of the activity?
2. Who is sponsoring the activity? If it is not clear, ask questions.
3. Beware of groups who are overzealous in recruiting you.
4. Be cautious to any group who plays on your loneliness in these early days away from home. Visit several groups to find the place that meets your needs.
Please do not be afraid to say, "No, thank you." You need only say it one time. MIT policy then considers any further recruitment to be harassment. Put your hands on the religious harassment brochure. There will be copies at the information booth in the Student Center as well as at the Chaplaincy and Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs. If you feel challenged or harassed by the BCC's Christian Student Association or any other group, please contact Counseling Services, the Dean's Office, and ask to speak with [Associate Dean for Student Assistance Services] Robert M. Randolph, or, contact any of the chaplains on campus.
Betsy L. Draper Baptist Chaplain