Editors at Boise State University’s student-run newspaper claim that students at the school were harassed by Living Waters ministry volunteers passing out free DVDs of the pro-life documentary “180” two weeks ago.
Boise State was one of more than 100 universities throughout the U.S., Canada and New Zealand where teams of pro-life advocates distributed about 200,000 copies of the film on Oct. 25. The DVDs were handed out one-by-one usually in areas already designated for the exchange of information such as campus quads, walkways, and in some cases, on the campus perimeter.
Produced by Living Waters ministry and its founder Ray Comfort, the dramatic 33-minute film released one month ago has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times at 180Movie.com and YouTube.
The editors of school’s paper, called "The Arbiter," published an editorial online on Monday, with the headline: “We will not tolerate harassment.”
After stating its support for the First Amendment, the college paper claimed that although students normally view information “thrust in students’ faces” on campus as just an “annoyance,” students “who pay to grace this campus with our genius should not have to tolerate harassment.”
The editorial continued, “The cover of the DVD had nothing on it but testimonies of its greatness and a 180 logo. But students who watched the 33-minute film were exposed to horrific images of aborted fetuses and naked corpses piled on top of each other as aftermath of the Holocaust.
“The message (unsuccessfully) linked the Holocaust to abortion in an attempt to deliver a pro-life message. It is clearly propaganda.”
Comfort told The Christian Post that after reading the paper’s editorial he was the first one to respond in the comments section.
Comfort wrote, “I noticed that you don't have much support here, so I thought I would leave a comment so that you don't feel alone. We have had a wonderful response to ‘180’ with 1.4 million views on 180movie.com.
“Please watch it again, and you will see that there are no ‘horrific images of aborted fetuses.’ You also said there were ‘naked corpses piled on top of each other.’ We blurred those images so that people wouldn't be offended. I apologize if those who gave away the free DVD's were pushy.”
In the video, Comfort captures the responses of young adults to a series of questions from him, who begins by asking whether they know who Adolf Hitler is and the fact that he sanctioned the killing of 11 million people.
While talking to several people who have a pro-abortion stance, Comfort then transitions from talk about lives lost in the Holocaust to lives lost as the result of abortions in the United States. In the video, it is quite apparent those interviewed change their opinion on abortion.
There is a warning label on the film's website and DVD case that states, "Public Advisory – Graphic Content."
“It’s not propaganda. It is simple and logical ‘reason’ about the most important issues in life – legalized killing of the unborn and God’s offer of eternal salvation,” Comfort said.
The editorial staff also argued in the piece that it didn’t matter “whether a student is pro-life or pro-choice.”
“What matters is that students who watched the movie were upset about the way the message was shoved down their throats. Several students have complained to The Arbiter that they felt the people handing out the DVDs were too pushy, even at times following the student for a few feet or referring to the YouTube website after the student already refused it.”
The editorial concludes by stating that the school paper’s editors feel “the situation with the ‘180’ documentary” was one of harassment and that students “deserve more respect than that.”
Ministry leader Shawn Holes, who led the distribution at the campus, said that the team's main goal was to inform people of what is happening to babies every day.
"We were respectful, Christ-like, and well within the boundaries in regards to any laws," Holes said.
When asked about the negative reaction from students who felt they were misled into believing the film was entirely about the Holocaust and not abortion, Comfort said, “I suspect that the irritation felt by people who are pro-abortion is in truth, the stirring of a tormented conscience.”
The Arbiter's student editor could not be reached for comment at time of publication.