Brother Jed angers many U students

The evangelist condemned student behaviors at Northrop Mall on Wednesday.

by Naomi Scott

Evangelist George E. Smock, better known as Brother Jed, returned to campus Wednesday, sparking heated debates with several students on the mall.

Condemning common student behaviors, the evangelist preached loudly while clutching a Bible and waving his arms at crowds circling him.

Student reactions to his view points varied from support to disgust.

As a Christian, Smock’s harsh statements surprised junior Ryan Mortensen.

“I’m a Christian, and I was listening to him and thinking that this is why people hate us,” he said. “He’s anti-gays, anti-abortion, anti-everything.”

According to Smock’s Web site, the evangelist has preached at more than 700 colleges and universities.

His work has continued for 30 years, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine, the Web site said.

Smock seeks students, the Web site reads, because they engage in rule-breaking, foul language, drugs and sex.

However, some students on the mall Wednesday were not impressed with Smock’s in-your-face message.

In one exchange, students uttered returning remarks at the preacher.

“Here’s the king of fags, Elton John,” Smock said, holding a photo of the singer.

“Hey! Watch how you use that word,” one unidentifiable student said.

University first-year student Meghan Marx couldn’t believe what she was hearing from Smock, she said.

“I think he’s a total idiot and a disgrace to Christianity in general,” Marx said.

Few supporters were evident in the vocal crowd of students.

“I’m a Christian, and I’m really ashamed of him right now,” said first-year student Jalele Melkamu. “He’s trying to scare people, but Christ is about compassion. (Smock) is just so foul.”

During the afternoon, many students chanted, “Leave our campus.” Despite students’ evident disapproval, Smock kept on.

The evangelist’s Web site reports that Brother Jed will be on campus until Friday.