When I was just a freshman or sophomore at EKU, I remember being on campus and feeling startled by shouting coming from outside of the Powell building. I turned around to see what on earth was going on when I saw a man spewing what I considered to be just plain nonsense. The man was rambling on about students going to hell for our sins. This was four years ago and has happened numerous times, including just recently.
Though I have seen this go on over and over again, it seems to be getting worse with more of these preachers being added to the mix. The last time that this happened, about a week ago, there were three men instead of just the one that I have seen sporadically throughout the years. A few things we know is that these three men travel together, they are from Missouri and that the one named John McGlone tends to sue schools that restrict his unnecessary and disruptive yelling.
To be more specific, these preachers say very extreme and upsetting things to students and bypassers. They say that you will go to hell for this and that. They say that they “love people and don’t want them to go to hell.” But here’s the worst part of these preachers: do they really believe they are doing the right thing or are they just trying to get a rise out of people? They are spending their lives traveling across the country to universities to get their message out, which would lead one to believe that they truly believe what they are doing is right. However, most people can see that what they are doing is criticizing and spreading hate messages. On the other hand, though, it’s pretty interesting that John McGlone from last week sues schools. That would lead one to believe that he’s actually just spending his life being a nuisance to universities to get a rise out of them and make himself some money.
This is disappointing to me because EKU is somewhere that I feel safe the majority of the time and always have. We are surrounded by a supportive community of peers and mentors, however, when these particular unwelcome guests are around, I lose that feeling of safety. It is uncomfortable to many people because no one wants to be yelled at. From another perspective, I have found that people find it so ridiculous that they just laugh at these preachers. I admire those people because they don’t seem to feel any kind of fear or intimidation like I used to.
If they really do believe what they are doing is right, then that is a very sad and ignorant way to live. Typically, though, it seems that they do it for entertainment in addition to trying to make money from schools. From my experience, I have learned that it is best for me to walk on by and ignore their nonsense. Why waste your time listening to people that find joy in criticizing others? It is hard not to strike back at what they are saying, but that is what they want. Seeing these people numerous times and briefly listening to what they have to say has made me realize that it’s just not worth my time or energy.
It is easy to get wrapped up and angry at the outrageous things they say, but I will continue sticking to my own values of loving everyone because that’s what I believe is right and brings me happiness. Everyone is entitled to speak their mind, but these people can cause harm and emotional distress. You cannot expect to be content living in anger like them. I’m sure that living the way that they causes a lot of unhappiness in their lives, but to each their own I suppose. They will never change the way that I feel about things, and I’m sure I will never change theirs either. The best thing you can do is walk on by and ignore them.