It seems that at every university there is a preacher who stands in one of the main courtyards, telling passing students that they will go to hell, that a girl is an evil seductress or some other line. UNC Charlotte is no exception in this regard, but some students have taken a stand against what they and many others see as harassment, not free speech.
This preacher, Ross Jackson, will call out passing students for what he sees as slights against his religion, calling out people evil heathens, homosexuals, sinners and so on. He uses the first amendment as a shield for his own hatred and judges people without even talking to them.
This preacher uses the Bible as a shield to justify his hate, yet by his actions, he is going against its teachings. Luke 6:37 reads, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven”
If he really wanted to spread the word of God, according to his religion, then he should remember the teachings of the Bible and lead by example. Being charitable and helping out the less fortunate are some of the chief teachings in the Bible, so, instead of berating people he doesn’t even know, he should volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
The days when a sermon filled with fire, brimstone and damnation would sway the masses are long past. That 17th century style of preaching is even less effective on a university that is filled with academics and scientists of all types that will not take such a flimsy, fear-based argument without proof.
When one student pointed this out to the preacher, students began a resonating chant across the crowd, yelling, “Forty! Niners!”
The preacher responded, saying, “Hell will have a lot of bachelors.”
When other students attempted to engage Jackson in debate with logical points and difficult questions, he would walk away and begin to yell at a new segment of the crowd. Even some students who already identify as Christian find his methods ridiculous, ineffective and even detrimental to actually informing people about the faith.
Student Brad Hinson told reporters from WSOC-TV that, “There are people here today that don’t know Jesus Christ. They’ll turn away from God forever.”
Recently, a petition has been going around campus to ban this preacher from the UNC Charlotte grounds. This is a response to the sheer amount of hate and fear that he proclaims in one of the main areas of the school, which has made many feel uncomfortable or unsafe. But free speech is a core American value. He has the freedom to spout his hatred, but we also have the freedom to ignore him.