When Brother Jed Visits, Atheists Get the Last Laugh

When Brother Jed comes to your campus to preach his message of bigotry and hate, the best way to respond is to turn the attention away from him and onto you, and that’s what the Secular Student Alliance at Texas State University did yesterday:

The Secular Student Alliance showed up in force brandishing signs reading ‘This guy is full of shit,” “Sex: a lot of fun,” and “Keep your church out of my sex life and I won’t have sex in your church.”

Matt Runnebaum, president of the Secular Student Alliance, said the group was there to protest the “message of hate” Morrell and Smock were preaching.

“We are trying to make a mockery of it,” he said. “The best way to combat messages of hate is with humor.”

College atheist groups have been *amazing* at responding to Christian hatemongers like Jed.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jonathan

    The “Sex in your church” comment wasn’t ours. After we showed up with signs other students wanted them, so we went to the bookstore for more poster board and let people make their own.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, Jonathan, so the SSA proves to be both honest and influential.  Yay!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-A-Anderson/100000016895400 John A. Anderson

    The funniest response, in my opinion, has been when same-sex couples smooch directly in front of Brother Jed. I don’t know it that offends him or arouses him, but either way I figure it makes him uncomfortable.

  • Rod Chlebek

    It’s a little at a time, but I feel that we are winning. This past week has been pretty good.

  • Shannonkish

    Sadly, I know Morrell. He and I were interns at the same east Texas cult, Teen Mania’s Honor Academy (read our stories at http://www.recoveringalumni.. com)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Rodd/100000194705799 Fred Rodd

    He came to my school once (F.S.U is part of his rounds) and the LGBTQ student union came and glittered everyone (who seemed willing).

    Then they passed out name tags for your particular sin, there were *a lot* of masturbators in the crowd that day.

    Brother Jed told the leader of the LGBTQ Student Union, nick named “Sparkles,” that Satan was going to grab him by his testicles and throw him into the bowels of Hell.  Ahahaha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    There are guys who do open air preaching at my school every Friday, and there’s a guy who reads out loud from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to mock them.

  • Samantharey80

    Hey! That’s my school!

  • kenneth

    Wow! Jed is still kicking? I remember this dude from when he used to come to Northern Illinois University circa the late 80s! He was over the top, for sure. So much so that I sometimes wondered if he was serious about his message of if it was some sort of extreme street theater/field psychology experiment ala “Borat”.  He and the campus Marxists and the Hare Krishnas were about the only thing that livened up the campus in those days.  Jed would come around about once a year. If you didn’t let him get to you, it was always a good show. One time, I recall the campus police had to intervene when a crowd moved to throw him into one of the ponds.

  • Ruth

    Oh man, I have such mixed feelings about all of this.  My problem is that I have a brother who is mentally ill.  He has been mentally ill his entire life . . . something was not quite right with him, even when he was a young child.  He has been on SSI since he became an adult because there is no way he could ever hold down a job.  He has no social skills whatsoever.

    A couple of years ago he got the calling to be what he calls a charismatic preacher.  He has a little congregation of people who meet in his independent/assisted living facility.  This group continues to grow.  Somehow he managed to get licensed to even do marriages.  He does a lot of street preaching and has even gone on extensive trips and preached in other cities.  I am not quite sure I understand how he gets from place to place.  The more he is mocked and belittled the more he feels like he is standing with God against evil.  It reinforces him.  He is filled with the spirit and speaks eloquently and writes beautifully about God.  And it is all delusion.  

    It is horribly sad and there is nothing I can do about it other than to love my brother anyway and always tell him that I am there for him.  

    Because of my brother I just can’t make fun of these street preachers.  Instead I want to cry for their families and for them  

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    Excellent work. YES our side is winning.  Just the fact that our side mobilized and got out into the open with signs, and got even more support upon doing so, says that our side is definitely winning. That’s some nice teamwork and cooperation!

  • Corey

    why is this Jed fool allowed there in the first place?

    • E

      Well, the first amendment, maybe.

      • Corey

        So he is like money than?

  • E

    All this talk about whose side is winning… Do you really feel that this is a serious enough challenge to your beliefs to combat it in the first place? I’m an atheist, raised atheist (never once believed in God, though tried a couple times unsuccessfully), and I guess it’s so ingrained in me that I don’t perceive people making arguments for religion as any sort of threat to my beliefs whatsoever. I mean that wholeheartedly, even with people who make much more rational and credible arguments for religion than this guy. I either see them as a curiosity–expressing beliefs in obviously anthropomorphic gods, long since irrelevant to any serious intellectuals in the modern era–or else as humorous side-shows, like this guy. It seems like there are a whole lot of people who have become atheist after a religious upbringing who kind of feel threatened by things like this, which is interesting. I personally have a slightly fond place in my heart for this dude: the fact that he’s an anomaly makes him interesting, and the fact that he’s also out there expressing such polarized and radical views. We need more people like that; they liven things up. Too many people today express half-hearted everything: half-hearted religion, half-hearted political views, half-hearted love. Everybody seems afraid to put themselves out there fully in support of anything. But we do need people expressing specifically the good beliefs as well, like radical climate activists, anti-corporatists, anti-corrupt political system, pro-peak oil awareness, pro-population limits awareness, etc., etc. (though it’s not necessary to shout down people like Jed in the process; the difference in credibility will be readily apparent). Of course, “the good beliefs” are also relative (including those mentioned above), so let us all shout out our own version of what is good wholeheartedly! Beyond the 1st amendment, let’s also not be culturally afraid to speak up!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      So people shouldn’t combat bigotry and hate in any way if, in your view, it’s mild enough. Not even with jokes. Because certainly no awful belief system ever gained converts and strength when left unchallenged, and no one ever feels like they’re alone in their beliefs when they see bigotry and hate silently tolerated.

      Why are you trying to frame this as a “threat to peoples’ beliefs” and thus insinuating that people who push back against terrible behavior and weak and insecure? It’s bordering on victim blaming.

      • E

        It’s not a matter of “mild.” This is in no way “mild” bigotry and hate. It is, like I stated, outlandish to the point of absurdity. So much so that it baffles me that people would worry about it except as a sideshow lending itself to jokes (not sure where you got the idea that I didn’t appreciate jokes in this regard–I referred to Jed’s performances as a humorous side-show in my original post). There is also no potential for this guy’s rhetoric to gain any traction whatsoever. I’ve watched him at my campus on multiple separate occasions, always surrounded by large groups of mocking students, quite united in their views against his, so not sure where you’re getting “alone in their beliefs”.

        As for the threat to beliefs aspect, I’m not referring to views pertaining to bigotry or acceptance, but rather specifically to religious belief–just a common thread I’ve seen with friends and aquaintances of mine who have converted from a religious upbringing to atheism. It’s just a curiosity to me, due in part to my own background, and I am not in any way condemning or disparaging them. Rather, we need more people converting to atheism or agnosticism, in my opinion. However, the avenue for that change will not come through combatting this fool, who represents the most polarized end of the spectrum (as in, not taken seriously by anyone), but rather through somehow addressing the vast majority of religious people who cling to some semblance of religious belief somewhat half-heartedly (in my opinion), as compared to the more radical religious beliefs held in previous centuries. The significance being that that act of clinging to some form of diet religion, or religion-lite, while it may not result in the committing of any atrocieties as it did in the past, may still hinder or prevent individual persons from advancing their beliefs to embrace a more rational ethical system. One minor example might be some Christians’ horendous ability to rationalize and excuse factory farming by citing God’s command for humans to rule over animals (or whatever silly anthropomorphic notion that was). Secular alliances and the like are wasting their time focusing on ineffectual polarized people such as this; rather, they should be positing their own alternative, rational, a-religious belief systems that would appeal to the mass of followers of half-hearted (though somewhat intractable) religion. My point was that we need those people shouting on their own rational and benevolent soap boxes, sparking group discussions and forums on these issues, etc. And that is the one way in which I admire Jed, i.e., in the fact that he is bold enough to do this, even though his views are absurd to me.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X