Guest Column: Faith Christian Church's issues cannot be ignored
In response to “Campus ministry group criticized for manipulation of members” (by Greg Gonzales, Oct. 10):
My name is Cody Ortmann, former ASUA Senator 2004-2005. I attended Faith Christian Church (FCC) while I was an undergraduate.
Personally, I entered FCC as an extremely quiet, introverted young man, who was afraid of other men. I was afraid of other men due to bullying that I had experienced in high school. FCC saw this, and I was taught several things. I was taught to always subjugate myself to other men. I was never to be their equal, and would always be less than them. I was taught not to defend myself and my rights as a human being. I was taught that if I went beyond this scope, I would lose friends, not be welcomed and maybe be kicked out of the church.
Instead of helping me become the man that I believe God had designed for me, FCC’s actions led me to become a shell of a man. Someone, something, which I now look back on with complete embarrassment.
Something I continue to strive to overcome, and be at peace with to this day.
After graduating, I had decided to spend my gap year volunteering in Morocco. This organization wasn’t through FCC, but it lined up with their tenets of faith. The second that I stood up and said I wanted to go to Morocco and not become a campus minister, was the second I now believe, I was kicked out.
At the end of my term in Morocco, I called FCC and spoke about possible help I might get as I made the move back to the U.S. and FCC. In nearly word for word, I was told I was no longer welcomed at FCC or Tucson, that I was not a member and never was. I never was a member because I didn’t do enough, while at FCC. I wasn’t a good enough member, and therefore, I was left on my own. In that instant, I not only became churchless, I also became homeless.
My experience and that of my friends and FCC widely vary. Some, to say the least, most likely experienced abuse. I’ve witnessed friends and families torn apart. I know of sons who no longer talk to their parents because they chose to leave FCC. I have lost approximately two dozen friends who no longer agree with “my lifestyle,” or the way that “I chose to leave” FCC. I know of people who no longer attend church due to FCC.
No matter what you want to call FCC, at the end of the day, it is what the people speak of it as. I would ask that you not demean my, or others’ experiences by calling FCC anything other than what it is.
I, alongside many others, have offered numerous times to sit down and meet with the staff and leadership at their time and choosing. All requests have been denied.
As to the Dean of Students Office and other administration officials who haven’t had any official complaints …
While the details and severity of our experiences may not be as grave as that at Penn State, the questions that arose there are the same. What is it that you choose to be your legacy? What is our legacy as the wider Wildcat community going to be now that we know more about FCC? How much has to continue to go on before something is done?
If there is anything I can do, I am here.
Bear down Arizona, bear down.
—Cody Ortmann is a UA alumnus and a former ASUA senator from 2004-2005. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .