This was actually the first place I ever preached open air. The date was July 3, 2003.
When I was taking classes here as a student I saw a few guys open air preaching around the free speech fountain and it challenged and convicted me.
Even before I saw those guys I would entertain the idea of one day preaching on the free speech fountain.
Anyway yesterday when we arrived on campus it began raining. We waited it out in the vehicle for about 20 minutes.
It was wet and still overcast as we arrived in the area of the free speech fountain.
Unfortunately the free speech fountain was turned on which made it very loud and difficult to preach over. I began preaching directly across from the free speech fountain on the curb of the lawn. From there I could face an outdoor area with table and chairs where the students could sit.
It was very slow and quiet with hardly any students walking around but I began preaching anyway.
For some time the only interaction I had was when an older lady became upset with me for claiming the koran was against homosexuality.
I simply claimed I liked the fact the koran condemned homosexuality and the woman yelled at me and told me Jesus would never speak against any muslims.
I tried to get some interaction going with her but it was obvious she was not accustomed to thinking but just making emotive statements without backing them up. She walked away mad.
Another student let me know I was preaching to people who were educated. I informed her I had already graduated from college unlike herself. She walked away.
Another asked me if I had escaped from a mental institution.
Whenever I was challenged I was able to effectively destroy their arguments and show how ridiculous they were. Of course I did all this while still appearing to be somewhat of a humorous buffoon to them.
The art of baiting everyone by appearing totally vulnerable while making them sound foolish.
I launched into a chorus of “No you can’t make a monkey out of me!”
I did not have a crowd but I knew I was getting the attention of the campus.
I gradually gathered a small group of about 10-15 when a police officer showed up.
I stepped down, smiled and greeted the officer. He did not seem aggressive and asked for my identification and he asked me a few questions.
Several other officers soon appeared and I was asked if I had gotten permission to preach here.
As always I was very polite, reasonable and cooperative with the officers.
The officer said he remembered me, smiled, told me he had been called, and told me what the complaint was.
I informed the officers I had been preaching on this campus since 2003. Back then there was a policy but in the last 5 or so years we had been preaching here there was no longer any advance permission policy.
I was fairly sure the officers where mistaken on this but I told them there was no advance permission policy to my knowledge unless it had recently been changed. I told them if there was a policy I was aware of I would have followed it.
By now there were about 5 officers on the scene. I agreed to walk down to the office with them to find out what the policy was and to get a copy of the policy on paper.
I did not tell the police but I was almost certain they were wrong about my having to get advance permission.
We waited in the office and talked to the officers. As it turned out I was correct and there was no advance permission needed.
The lady in charge remembered me well. Years ago I got all my permission and she tried to tell me I needed to pay $250 for police to been on hand. I called her bluff, told her were not paying for that and would be there anyways. I believe that was really the incident that backed the school down and caused them to change their policy.
The only bad thing was I was informed I had to preach in the circle of the fountain area and not be outside of it. With the fountain being on and resultant noise it would make things difficult.
I started back preaching with the noise of the fountain all but drowning me out. I had a few good conversations and then sat down.
I was somewhat perplexed and thought about leaving. The campus was dead, it was drizzling, the fountain was on, and it was drowning out my voice.
The only reason I did not leave was we still had time on our parking meter.
I moved to the other side of the fountain area and elevated myself on a planter with my back to the fountain and continued preaching.
I talked some about the pope and Catholicism and this seemed to get the attention of some.
Soon I gathered a few listeners, a few hecklers and this developed into a lively small crowd of around 25-50 for the remainder of the day.
Part of the group was made up of some professing campus Christians. They would ask a question to challenge me with their Bibles or phones and I responded with chapter and verse. They could not refute any of this but also refused to acknowledge my arguments and points.
I kept pressing them with the question “If a pedophile repents will he continue to commit acts of pedophilia?”
Though they refused to acknowledge the point the point was clearly made to all who were listening.
When they brought up judging I asked if they thought it was wrong for whites to own black slaves. They gave their answer that they did not think it was right. I told them they were making a judgment and according to their own argument they needed to stop.
The did not acknowledge my point but the point was made to all who were listening.
The Christian group announced they were going to have a Bible study “over there” if anyone was interested in coming. No one followed them.
Several times they came back and interrupted my lively discussion and crowd to announce they were having a Bible study “over there”. Several times no one followed.
After some time they came back with their instruments and sat about 10 yards from where I was preaching/discussing and played “worship” songs. I think their singing must really have turned everyone off because no one went over there. The crowd totally ignored them as well as their message.
An arrogant black man from Africa who claimed to be a professor and a Christian asked me where does the Bible say homosexuals cannot enter into heaven. I responded and he was silent.
He tried to press me to admit I should allow same sex couples to get married by the state but not the church because of the law.
I insisted marriage was between one man and one woman and was not defined by the state but by a universal moral code.
The professor tried to use the law argument and the students backed him up. I told them it used to be lawful for whites to own blacks. They refused to acknowledge my point but the point was made.
By this point I had stopped preaching, sat down and moved into discussion mode.
I thought the black professor did a horrible job. It was so obvious he was trying to play up to the students.
He acted as if he was getting ready to leave and told some of the students “See that’s why you need to stay in school so you can challenge things like this.”
At that point I had just been answering his questions as well as those in the crowd. When he said that I turned the tables on him and asked him questions about the Bible and salvation he claimed to believe and exposed how ignorant he was for all to see.
Two black students a male and a female told my wife they agreed and appreciated all the preaching I had done. The male sat next to me towards the end of the day and backed me up while I was reasoning with the students.
As I left for the day a male muslim student followed me and we had some civil discussion.