When Preachers Come to Campus, the Atheists Are Ready

What do you do when Brother Jed and Sister Cindy come to preach fire and brimstone on your campus?

At the University of Illinois, you pass out a BINGO card with their stock phrases.

At Texas A&M University, you use the event to raise money for women’s groups, LGBT groups, and atheist groups — basically, everything they condemn.

At the University of Minnesota, you join forces with other groups on campus to stage an entertaining protest:

CASH members Josh Brose (left) and Andria Bonde (center) meet with campus pastor Kate Reuer (right). (Kevin Schaul – Minnesota Daily)

[Brother Jed's] arrival on campus Wednesday morning was met with a large protest led by several University student groups including Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists, the Lutheran Campus Ministry and the Queer Student Cultural Center. The groups were joined in protest by many University students passing by to take in the scene or engaging with Smock in what turned into an animated debate.

The Lutheran Campus Ministry became involved because Smock is “so different from anything we associate with Christianity,” said Pastor Kate Reuer. She said she and the ministry “firmly believe that God’s love exists for all people.”

University protesters engaged in other activities including bingo, Twister and counter-preaching to divert attention away from Smock’s messages.

Love it! What makes this so effective is that the spotlight turned away from the nasty preachers and onto the students countering them.

It even made the front page (PDF) of the campus newspaper:

To paraphrase the famous political saying, never let a public proselytizer go to waste.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    I want to sneak up behind the “You deserve hell” sign with a sign that says “o kitty”

  • nakedanthropologist

    This is wonderful!  And its nice to finally see some ethical and morally decent christians joining in, instead of standing silently by the sidelines.  Bravo!

  • A3Kr0n

    Whoa, wait, hold the phone here. Where are the raging minions with head axes? Ink squirting squids, and huge beaked octoPZs?
    Oops, wrong website.

  • 3lemenope

    It is nice, but I would take exception to the “finally”, just from my own experience. When I was in college (which was over a decade ago) the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship on campus was often front and center on counter-demonstrating traveling fire-and-brimstone preachers. Of course this is probably not typical behavior everywhere, but at least the place where I was they behaved this way pretty consistently.

  • Danny

    Matthew 6: 5-6

  • JWH

    If you’d had a wet bar at the protest, you’d have gotten the Student Episcopalian Society.  

    The old joke:  “Wherever you find four Episcopalians, you’ll always find a fifth.”

  • nakedanthropologist

    You’re absolutely right, and I apologize.  I speaking from an impassioned perspective with little time to post, and I typecasted.