- Posted April 9, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Introduce CNN Student News
Spread the Good Word
The preacher was carrying a sign that read "You Deserve Hellfire, But Jesus Saves from Sin and Death" and condemning all bisexuals, homosexuals and transgenders as sinners who are going to hell, abbyleeir says.
"No one agreed with this guy; the students hated it, the police and campus officials were frustrated, but there was nothing we could do," she said. "Mostly I think people were upset because they wanted him to leave, but we couldn’t make him leave."
abbyleeir said that students started yelling back at the preacher out of frustration because they had no choice but to endure his "hate speech." Students were told by campus police officers that they should just ignore the preacher since they didn't have the power to remove him, she says.
"Why do I have to ignore something? Why can’t I fight back in a positive manner?" asked abbyleeir
- Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer
An unnamed evangelist visited the University of North Alabama campus on Tuesday, April 8. The man held a large sign with the words "you deserve hellfire" written on it, while two cameramen wearing hats that said, "OBEY GOD" filmed the entire event.
The preacher, who would not give his name or the name of the church he belongs to, began shouting at students, loudly exclaiming that "college students" are "lost and condemned", and that many would be "going to hell". The man made his way across the bridge leading to the university's ampitheatre and continued to engage students as they passed by.
Many students congregated around the man as they walked to and from class, shouting back at him. Several students seemed to be upset about the preacher's hateful words and lack of respect for ongoing classes.
Richard Crowder, member of the UNA band and a student on campus, said he believes "the best way to prove religion" is legitimate is not to "shove it in anyone's face." Crowder said he believed the preacher was going about preaching in the least effective way.
Many other students stopped by to yell hateful comments at the preacher as he was screaming at students.
"This isn't the way to witness!" one young woman said.
When the preacher condemned all bisexuals, transgenders, and homosexuals as sinners and stated they are going to hell, one student asked why God had made her that way if she was only going to be condemned to hell.
"God didn't make you homosexual, God made you a baby", the preacher replied.
Several times, the man refused to read requested Bible verses from the copy of the Bible he carried with him.
A police officer in attendance told students the man could not be asked to leave unless he began insulting
After the man had been at the amiptheatre for more than an hour, two students ran circles around the area waving gay-pride flags. Many students cheered and broke into applause. One male student joined the preacher on the stage and began yelling back at him.
Around 1 p.m., students began to take hands and create a circle around the ampitheater. I led the prayer for the man, asking that love and acceptance might help the preacher open his eyes and begin having a positive effect on campus. The preacher shouted at the students the entire time we prayed.
The preacher stayed for several hours on UNA's campus, with officials having no authority to make him leave.
Cards reading "Who Will Jesus Destroy" were handed out on campus, although it is unclear if the preacher was giving them out, or if they were distributed by the film crew or a student.
Other students were handing out flyers for the Secular Student Association.