So a month ago (probably longer now) a hate preacher appeared on the campus of Morehead State University.
I planned on writing the responses of the crowd, went around and talked to an upwards of 50 people- Including a LOT of Christians, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and some undisclosed- professors, police officers, and of course students. However, after the event I made the decision not to make the post because I figured it did not need any more attention drawn to it.
I now see my mistake. These kinds of events NEED attention drawn to them(especially after the fact, less so during).
During this hate preachers spiel he covered everything from homosexuality being a sin, to slavery (and how white people were the reason it ended)- The most appalling thing he said was that its not rape if she doesn’t yell out or fight. That comment sent many people in to tears.
He made a blog post about his experience(the hate preacher) and explained how the crowd spent a large amount of the more than four hours he was there cussing at him, meanwhile he happened to neglect the fact that he spent the time calling the crowd “sluts” and “whores”.
So here were the responses of the crowd:
Only ONE person said they agreed with what he was preaching, but disagreed with how he was going about it.
Only one person opted to not share their opinion with me.
Some of the atheists I asked said that this is what made people anti-theist, others said that they were simply disgusted with the display.
The majority of the responses I got said that it was wrong and shouldn’t be allowed on campus.
Of every Christian I asked I got the same responses- “I believe in god, but not that god”- “He’s not reading my bible” – “God is all loving, this man is just hateful” – “That’s not Christianity as I know it”
Regardless of belief everyone had two common statements that they all agreed upon- This is NOT the way to share your beliefs, and no one should be giving it attention.
That second one really struck me… Nearly everyone agreed that no one should give him attention(including me) and yet we were all there standing, watching, interacting with him, talking about him. Why, if we all agreed that he shouldn’t be given attention were we all there?
Some of us felt defensive and felt the need to stand up for their own beliefs, or for their rights as people. Some were there for entertainment- this was especially evident in those who were playing bingo with everything he said…
In the beginning it was simply scary, the things he was willing to say and preach, the fact that he was belligerently ignoring counter points.
Near the end it was just the crowd heckling him.
But all the while he smiled. Whether we were fighting him or belittling him he continued to smile…
And he’s coming back.
I wish I could just ask people not to go and they would. But, seeing how it went last time I doubt that will happen.