Preachers spread gospel before incensed crowd
A traveling preacher and his family drew a crowd of about 30 angry students outside the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library on Tuesday as they took turns ministering their Christian beliefs.
“I believe this is a very crucial generation to reach. Our universities are producing our future leaders — future lawyers and doctors and bureaucrats and politicians. Usually, as campuses go, so does the nation,” said preacher Chris LePelley.
“Plus, college students are known to be party animals — premarital sex, drugs, rock music, any and everything that is totally against the Bible. They need to know that they’re going to Hell if they don’t forsake these things and turn to Biblical Jesus.”
LePelley said that UH is one university among dozens of others that his family has visited to preach the belief of Open Air Holiness Ministries, and the angry crowd was nothing new.
“Opposition is the norm,” LePelley said. “It’s the rule, not the exception.”
According to the ministry’s website, Open Air’s mission is to spread a gospel of repentance everywhere that is publicly possible.
“Though the modern ‘church’ and the sinful world hate our approach, we loudly preach the deep riches of God’s glorious gospel without apology,” said the group’s website. “We preach against the sins of the day such as abortion, sodomy, fornication, adultery, drunkenness and many others, not forgetting to preach the blessed cross of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation.
“We preach, hold signs, banners, sing and hand out tracts wherever people gather.”
Though some witnesses described Tuesday’s scene as a disturbance, the UH Police Department said it saw no laws broken, as the family protested against sinners in a free-speech zone.
“Young people are going to voice their opinions, and this is set up for that,” said Police Chief Ceasar Moore. “He’s giving his opinion, and people are commenting on that opinion. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”
To ensure that no violence occurred, UHPD maintained about half a dozen security officers at the scene at all times.
Concerned hotel and restaurant management junior Tyler Henderson noticeably opposed the preachers’ mission, shouting, “You ain’t got no pancake mix” every time one of the preachers spoke.
“I’m all for freedom of speech and stuff like that, but I feel that he shouldn’t get to come on here at UH without being a student. It should just be students if you want to come out here and say hateful stuff like that,” Henderson said. “I think my God, personally, loves everyone.”