October 1998
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Jesus Loves Everyone*

*Except homosexuals

By Jessica Brandt

First off, don't be offended by the title of this article. That is definitely not my opinion, rather it's a observation of a school of thought I witnessed today.

I go to a liberal arts college. This means that at any given time, in any give place on campus, there is usually some sort of protest or civil disagreement going on. Everyone at my school has a view, and practically no one will admit they're wrong. Every so often, someone not affiliated with the school will come a'preachin' Fire and Brimstone, right there in the Student Center Plaza, right in the center of campus.

Usually, I don't stop to watch these people. I'm either on my way to class, or on my way to McDonald's, and given the choices, I'd rather not waste my time on a nut-case preacher. Yesterday, however, I decided to see what this guy had to say. He was a young man, between 25 and 35, neatly dressed in a white shirt, black pants, and a tie. We'll call him Chuck (because that is his name). His black hair was neatly cropped and slicked back, and his smile shone in the mid afternoon sun.

I joined his sermon after he had been preaching for an hour or so, and I gathered he had been speaking about the evils of pre-marital sex and "living in sin." He told of how he was a heroin addict and was living (and sleeping) with a woman to whom he was not married. One day his "Christian friend" told him how he was going to Hell and he immediately got off the smack, kicked the woman out of his bed, and accepted Jesus as his Savior.

So far so good, right? His story was your run-of-the-mill saving, same old same old. Then, he began telling a story about how the dogs in his childhood neighborhood would react when the resident female dog (or "bitch" as he proudly called her) was in heat. "The male dogs would dig their way to her, any way they could, have sex, and then come away staisfied. But they are beasts! You are not a beast!" He went on for a bit about the dangers of STDs and stuff like that...like I said, normal Christian rhetoric.

Out of nowhere, a student stepped out of the crowd, picked up a foamboard sign of Chuck's and broke it in two across his knee. The poster was a large picture of a supposed aborted fetus. Pretty sickening. Chuck, who had continued talking as the young man cracked his sign, suddenly lept off the chair he was preaching from, and grabbed the student by the neck. The student broke free and kicked the sign, which was now folded up on the ground. Chuck grabbed him again. The student shook him off and calmly walked into the library. Chuck's "accomplice," who had apparently been videotaping the whole event, got some close-ups of the student. Chuck yelled for "Some Christian" to call the police. Other students stepped up and defended both Chuck and the now-missing student. The cops came over. It was all very, very entertaining. Eventually, the crowd let up some, and he got back to his preaching.

But then came The Sign.

"The wrAth of sIn is Death" RomanS.....it said. In one corner was a picture of a bible, and in the other corner was the word FAG, crossed out like a no-smoking sign.

Another thing you must know about my school, is that there is a very strong support of the homosexual population, and most of the kids there are very open about sexuality and tend not to be homophobic. There's a group called LGBU, which, I believe, stands for "Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay Unity," who are well known throughout the campus. I recognized some of the onlookers as members of this group (who were also usually members of Anti-Racist Action, CARE, and various other liberal, tree hugging groups.)

The crowd gasped.

A bigot!! A bigot here in our Student Center Plaza! People began yelling at him and he began yelling back. The tempermental Chuck called the hecklers "queer-lovers" and said that AIDS was a disease God sent "to destroy all fags." A chant went up (as students at my school are very good at chants) "Go home Charlie," "F*ck you Chuck," "BI-GOT!," and "Go home homophobe," were ones I heard. A girl got in his face and screamed about how she was terribly offended and this was the last straw. Some guy picked her up so she could be at his level. "I forgive her," said Chuck to the crowd, "She has PMS. She doesn't know what she's talking about." More gasps. "I don't have to listen to you," he continued, "You're not my wife, you're not MY woman."

Oh, it gets worse.

While Chuck was talking to the cops, who apparently had apprehended the sign-breaker, a couple of students spat upon his "AIDS" sign. Chuck was once again infuriated and warned people not to get too close, because they might get AIDS from this spit. Another student, whom I recognized as being part of the school's Pagan Cohilition, stood up and told the story of her dad's best friend who had a lovely wife and family, had gall bladder surgery, and came out of the hospital with HIV from blood transfusions. His church in Texas immeadiately turned on him, saying he must be a closet homosexual and he got HIV from having sex with men. "He got that blood from gays," said Chuck. "Before there was testing, all the fags gave tainted blood because they're evil."

Woah.

Now, this whole thing went on for an hour and a half. Maybe two and a half hours, I'm not sure. I was captivated, however. One girl started crying "Preach the Word of our Lord, brother!" and I wanted to ask her if she agreed with this nutcase. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and hoped she just wanted to hear more of the GOOD Word...

Other students began fighting between themselves, one conversation I overheard was between a kid who believed strictly in the King James version of the Bible and a girl who could read Greek and was sure it was all lies. Other students fought about the rights of both Chuck and the students, and who should walk away. It was terriffic, yet sad. It was good to see people standing up for what they believe, but the whole thing was so confusing. I half agreed with everyone, which basically means I believe in everything-- or nothing.

I could go on forever with this, but you really had to be there to get the whole gist of it. What concerned me most is the battle between "Born Again Christians" and "Old School Christians." Seems to me that these "Born Agains" tend to do most of this preaching, and give us "Old Schoolers" a bad name. I consider myself Christian. I am baptised, I try to limit my sinning, love Jesus, love God, love my neighbor, etc. Now, I have been doing this 100% of my life. Chuck, on the other hand, "sinned" more in the years he was not a Christian than I have in my whole life (I think heroin use and promiscuity count as pretty hefty sins next to my foul mouth and smoking habit.) But, he was saved and that makes him better than me. Uh, I don't think so, Chuck.

I tend to believe that even if a true Christian finds homosexuality to be "gross" or "unnatural," they don't wish them to be treated as "Sticks, for burning" (As Chuck so cleverly put it). Preaching to a bunch of wide-eyed college students, many of whom are probably struggling with their sexuality, that they will burn in Hell if they sleep with a member of the same sex, is not good. This is why there is a high suicide rate with teenage homosexuality. These kids are afraid to be gay, because people like Chuck say its wrong. Then, other people (their peers) don't oppose his view, and the kid feels like there is no one on his or her side.

I'm actually pretty proud of all the kids who dared to at least try to put Chuck in his place. I think our generation has a pretty good handle on things when it comes to this issue of homosexuality. It just bothers me that this guy is calling himself a messenger of God, and he wants to kill kill kill all the "fags." This sort of thing turns me off to Christianity. I also don't believe in Pro-Life (another thing he preached), but does that mean I'm not a Christian? Should I be weary of sharing the fact that I believe in Jesus, so that I am not labeled a hate-monger? I wanted to knock Chuck off that chair, and tell everyone how it REALLY is, what I think being a Christian is all about. But then I'd be just like him, pushing my views on everyone there. So instead I stood quietly by, occasionally chiming in with "Jesus wore a dress" and "Love your brother," but nothing too spectacular.

I don't know what to think. I do think, however, that I will try to catch Chuck's sermon tomorrow, just to see how far my peers will push him this time. I want to see him TRY to "burn a fag" (not smoke a cigarette, for our English friends. "Fag" here means "homosexual") and see what kind of lesson he gets. I want to see him haul off and hit a student and then try to preach his words in jail to a man who hasn't had hetero sex in 5 years. I want to see more of his circus.

I think God wants to see what happens, too.

One thought on the matter

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