Story by ANDY LYONS, News Editor—
One of the things I would like to do with The Muleskinner is strengthen that bond by getting coverage to groups that don’t normally get coverage, and to provide glimpses into organizations and continue to strengthen the community we have. On Tuesday, my photojournalism class was headed from Grinstead over to the Union when we stumbled upon Brother John and his group of evangelists yelling, as evangelists typically do, at a small group of students gathered.
My classmates and I went inside for a short lesson from our teacher, and as we were dismissed a few of us went back outside to witness the spectacle.
Over the course of the next three hours I stayed just to gauge reactions from students to Brother John and his minions.
UCM is a multi-cultural, public university. Several members of the crowd screamed back at him and there were appearances by Central Man, El Diablo Bandito, and Brandon Christen.
A student sang/yelled a satanic hymn to the street preachers at one point.
After the Bandito began playing guitar over the yelling preacher, the evangelists attempted to have the student escorted away or forced to stop playing because it was suppressing his free speech.
The Warrensburg Police Department let them know that the students have every right to be on campus doing any activity that isn’t breaking UCM rules and there was nothing he could do.
The real point here is, how are people like these evangelists allowed on campus?
Throughout the day there were rumors through the crowd that these people were lawyers looking to incite violence to press a law suit against a student that might punch one of them.
I have a lot of respect for the people in the crowd that spoke up and had a man screaming at them from about one inch in front of their face.
As a community, UCM is very multi-cultured.
Allowing someone to hold a banner in front of the student Union that calls people of other walks of life “sinners” and then allowing them to stand in the heart of campus and spew hate speech at those “sinners” for several hours in the day is counterproductive to what UCM stands for.
“Learning to a Higher Degree” is the current motto of our University.
Allowing people like these evangelists to come here and use hate speech to try and incite violence is against everything this school stands for.
I would much rather see a small circus, a troupe of jugglers, a stand-up comedian, or something similar instead of groups like these evangelists.
I understand this is a public university, meaning it is funded by the state and thus required to placate groups like Brother John’s.
But in order to maintain the neutral stance, UCM should bring a group with a positive message for everyone and have them stand in front of campus and do something awesome instead of promote close-mindedness and judgment.
I am, however, kind of proud in the way that the crowd that gathered came together and supported one another.
We do have a really strong community here, now we just need a visitor that embraces it.