Mall preachers bring brimstone, dates to campus

John Troyer

While walking across campus last week, I came across a rather provocative bit of spray-painted graffiti bearing an urgent message: “(Screw) fascist pro-lifers.” I paused for several minutes to contemplate the layers of meaning contained within the hand-scrawled statement and came up with the following response. I do not see any problem in having sex with fascist anti-abortion activists as long as it is consensual and all parties involved use protection. I imagine preventing unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is important for both fascist and non-fascist, anti-abortion activists sexual partners alike. At the same time, I do not see any problem with having sex with fascist pro-choicers or a wide array of individuals into forcibly administered control. Fascism isn’t really my thing, but I am sure some people make it the magical spice in the bedroom.

After thinking more about whether I should be having sex with either fascists or anti-abortion activists, I walked over to Northrop mall to present a man of great wisdom with my question. Just as Siddhartha asked the wise Buddha questions about life, I wanted to query the all-knowing Brother Jed whether he thought sex with fascist anti-abortion activists was a good idea. For those who do not know about either Brother Jed or his worldly wisdom, I present the following background information. Over the course of many years, I have counted on a few constants at the University: persistent/absurdist construction projects, always needing the library book someone else just checked out and the arrival of evangelical, fundamentalist Christian preachers on Northrop mall. I usually associate mall preachers with springtime; the bearing of hedonistic flesh by the student body always seems to fire up the aforementioned prophet’s brimstones. I was caught off-guard, however, by the arrival of Brother Jed in the fall, since my springs usually involve a week where I learn why I am Satan’s tool on planet Earth and how the multiple earrings all over my head make me a homosexual bound for hell unless I repent.

Without a doubt, Brother Jed is the big kahuna of mall preachers, aggressively spreading fire and brimstone on college campuses across the United States. He is, simply put, the master of all things evangelical. Not even John the Baptist, Mathew, Mark, Luke, John or the “J-man” himself can/could bring it like Brother Jed. I have never seen another performer with such vigor and enthusiasm for telling people exactly why they are going to burn in the eternal flames of the devil’s belly. No other mall preacher has nearly the presence or the rhetorical power to fire up freshmen fornicators into attempting an argument with him over the meaning of the King James Bible. Special note to all first-year students: Winning an argument with Brother Jed or any mall preacher is impossible, since they and they alone have the word of God on his or her side. No freshman has the word of God on their side; I’m sorry, the timing just isn’t right.

Knowing master Jed himself was on campus to explain why most University students worship the dark forces of Satan, I wanted to know if sex with either fascists or anti-abortion activists was a good idea. Working my way through the crowd encircling Brother Jed, I waited for an appropriate moment to launch my question. Those experienced in the ways of asking mall preachers questions know a method must be employed in order to take advantage of the appropriate moment. I usually wait until an honest and well-meaning student attempts to explain why Brother Jed is an intolerant stooge, blaspheming the God they spent all those years talking to in a suburban Sunday school or read about in a Judy Blume book. Everyone always feels good after those moments because at least someone told the big, mean man on the mall why he is wrong and it’s clear Brother Jed really cares. After one of those moments came to pass last week, I asked Brother Jed whether he thought sex with fascist anti-abortion activists was a good idea. Much to my surprise, I didn’t get a response from Jed and actually found more people in the crowd ready with answers.

Based on the responses I received, it appears many people have mixed feelings about the legitimacy of sex with fascist anti-abortion activists. I was told by a determined, earnest-looking young woman wearing an “I’m with Jesus” T-shirt that my question was completely inappropriate since pro-lifers aren’t fascists. Her pithy response was a real smack to my senses. A small group of 20-something-looking men with those always-clever and stylish T-shirts about smoking pot rose to the occasion by responding it was OK as long “she’s a hot fascist pro-lifer.” Right on, dude. I repeated my question one more time with more volume and suddenly, Brother Jed turned around to smite me with his wisdom. A certain hushed silence fell upon the crowd as the Jedi knight of mall preaching approached me with a determined look in his eye.

“Do you want to have sex with fascist pro-lifers?” Jed asked, waving his over-compensatingly large Bible in my direction.

“Well, sure,” I said, “as long as it’s consensual and we used protection, then I don’t see any problem with Ö”

Before I could finish, Jed made his endgame move with his Bible-holding hand stretched toward the heavens, saying, “Then you are a fornicator and will burn in hell!”

I didn’t really know what to say at that point other than, “Is that your final answer? Because I already know I’m a fornicator and will burn in hell. You told me that five years ago.”

Brother Jed looked a little shaken by my quick response but rebounded with the always handy, “Then you are a homosexual!”

At which point I responded, “But Jed, I told you two years ago I wasn’t a homosexual, not that there’s anything wrong with it. So is it OK for me to have sex with fascist pro-lifers or not? Maybe just oral sex and not actual penetration of any kind?” As if the lamb had broken the seventh seal, a dead silence fell upon the crowd.

It was apparent Brother Jed had tired of our witty banter, so he left me alone to begin explaining why Muslims would not be allowed to enter heaven. I must admit, I was somewhat devastated at not getting a response worthy of Brother Jed’s reputation, but then, a most miraculous event transpired. An angelic-looking woman approached me from the crowd bearing a piece of paper with a phone number on it and said, “I’m not a fascist or a pro-lifer but you should call me sometime.”

Indeed, the good Lord works in mysterious ways, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brother Jed for explaining to me, over the years, all the reasons I will burn in hell. Most importantly, however, I really want to thank Brother Jed for helping me get a date this weekend. Brother Jed, for what it’s worth, I think you’re a fascist, anti-abortion superstar.