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Religious activist’s message sparks controversy

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Dozens of students sit anxiously, almost on the edge of their seat. Some stand, ready to protest whenever the speaker pauses. Some seem bored, some annoyed, some proud and some furious.

People pull out their phones and videotape the religious man who loudly protests sin in the amphitheatre. Two NKU police officers stand at the scene.

Kevin Schultz

Students tweet direct quotes and reactions. Some yell back at him, directly contradicting all of his arguments.

But missionary Jesse Morrell said that’s exactly what he’s looking for.

Morrell has been traveling around nationally since 2005, and speaking at college campuses full time through his journey to spread the word of Christianity.

“That’s my target audience, those who disagree, that’s why I am here. To reason and persuade those who have different opinions,” Morrell said. “If everyone agreed with me I’d have to pack up and go somewhere else.”

Morrell carries on his shoulders a sign that says “WARNING! Fornicators, Drunkards, Sodomites, Pot Smokers, Gangster Rappers, Immodest Women, Darwinists, Gamblers, Feminists, Socialists, Abortionists, Pornographers, Homosexuals, Jihadists, Dirty Dancers, Hypocrites. JUDGEMENT* IS COMING.”

Several students yell out, trying to question his convictions.

“I am part of the LGBT community on campus,” Avery Clark, senior sociology major, said. “I identify with several of the things on his sign. It’s offensive.”

Other students like Julia Medrzycki agreed, saying that Morrell was ignorant.

“We are in a society where everyone is equal and it doesn’t really matter who you are,” Medrzycki, freshman, said.

Senior Robert Macke said he genuinely hopes no one took Morrell’s arguments seriously or tried to actually learn something from him. Macke thinks that arguing with Morrell is pointless because people are just “arguing against a wall of mental denial and his confirmation bias.”

However, Morrell said he is here solely to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A student, Margaux Collins and member of the Baptist Campus Ministry, laughs in the crowd. “Can you believe this guy?” she said.

“I think he gives a bad name to Christians,” Collins said. “And I, as a Christian, do not condone anything he’s saying.”

Josh Tandy, a local pastor for Movement Church came up to the ampitheatre because he heard about the religious activist on campus. He said that he is tired of churches being known for what they are against.

“I look at this board and I fall into some of those categories, definitely a hypocrite…,” Tandy said. “I look at that and think, he’s got good intentions but there’s something broken in him that’s manifesting in a very public way. But there’s something broken in all of us.”

Another student was in the crowd to support what she said “is the good side of christianity.” Sophomore Chase Mullen said that it was insulting and depressing to watch Morrell speak his version of the gospel.

“Some of those things he is saying…How homosexuality is wrong, how dirty dancing is wrong… And some of those things may not be right in some people’s minds, but he still isn’t any better,” Mullen said. “It’s just as much of a sin to judge as he is, as it is to sin any other way.”

Regardless, Morrell is convinced that what he is saying is drawing people in because he has a number of students listening to him and asking him questions.

“I grew up in a church, I share some of his beliefs,” Erik Tomczewski, junior said. “But I don’t agree with his tactics. You have to applaud him for standing up here though. The guy is simply sharing his beliefs.”

Morrell said he had such a good reaction Sept. 15, that he plans on coming back Sept. 16.

“I love people, I don’t want to see anyone go to hell,” Morrell said. “I want them to have life abundantly.”

Morrell encourages comments and questions to come to his email at jesse@openairoutreach.com and anyone can visit his website at www.openairoutreach.com.

 

*Judgment is spelled wrong here because this is how it is spelled on Morrell’s sign.

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Religious activist’s message sparks controversy