Preacher spurs tolerence rally

carson.lemahieu

A controversial preacher in the academic mall caused a group of Northern students to take to the sidewalks rallying for religious tolerance.

The preacher, who refused to give his name or answer a North Wind reporter’s questions, has been preaching in the academic mall since Monday.

Wearing his signature purple vest, wide-brimmed hat and carrying a sign proclaiming the destruction of sinners, he has preached on topics such as the need for women to be subservient and males to not have long hair, proclaiming that those who do not follow his views are going to hell unless they repent.

On Wednesday, a group of approximately 25 students gathered to rally for religious unity and to counter the preacher’s message, a message they said they consider hateful.

Many of the students had signs with positive messages on them such as “Equality for Women” and “Coexist.” Others gathered with signs bearing Bible verses that represent a loving God.

Sophomore sociology major Nathan Frischkorn, one of the students helping to organize the rally, said that he was motivated to do something about the preacher by his personal beliefs.

“A bunch of us felt like we were being attacked personally by him. Atheists, agnostics, even other Christians feel that they are being alienated and attacked by his brand of Christianity,” Frischkorn said. “We just wanted to have something positive to counter all the hate that he is bringing to campus.”

Another student, sophomore electrical engineering major Brooks Harrison, stood next to the preacher with a sign bearing an arrow pointing toward the preacher that read: “I’m with stupid. God’s message is love. Jesus died for our sins so we may live.”

Harrison said that he wanted to prove to other students that the preacher did not represent the majority of Christians.

“I’m out here not to try to extend my beliefs but more to create an atmosphere of debate to counter what he is preaching. Yesterday it was great out here. We had four or five students who knew [the Bible] and could debate with him,” he said. “Our goal is to beat this guy at his own game.”

Other students who weren’t able to stand outside to protest the preacher took to cyberspace to show their displeasure. Sophomore economics major Austin Beattie created the Facebook group “Religious Nutjob 2008!” to express how he felt about the man’s biblical teachings.

“I made the group when he told a friend of mine that her role was to be subservient to men,” Beattie said. “I decided that I needed to let people see that this guy was a nutjob.

“I believe that woman was created from man’s rib to be equal to men, not from a man’s foot to be lower than men,” he continued.

According to a Facebook event listing, Greg Rhodea, minister of outreach and involvement at Lake Superior Christian Church, will be preaching in the same place in the same place in the academic mall on Thursday.

According to the Facebook event description he is going to be preaching what he refers to as “a more grace filled version of the Bible.”