While White Plaza has a knack for attracting some colorful characters, a recent invasion by Bible-touting fanatics has now turned the space into an ideological battleground. With contradictory slogans like “You’re all going to Hell!” and “Jesus loves you!”, these fervent proselytizers have lately become a fixture amongst the 12 noon lunch crowd.
When I asked one of the demonstrators why he was presenting his particular message–“STUDY AND OBEY THE BIBLE JUDGMENT IS COMING”–he responded, “I want people to look at the words on this sign. Can you see this sign? It might not be big enough.” Aside from the missing periods, the letters did not appear to exhibit any size issues, at least to my untrained eye.
The demonstrators are by no means a uniform group, but they appear to be mainly white males in their late twenties and thirties. They are often quite muscular, and though they have not threatened any students, they have often shaken their fists at passing bikers in the midst of a jeremiad on the secular state of modern society. For instance, as I approached one of them, he bellowed, “You only die once. You don’t die twice. What does that mean?? You have little things in your ears…can you even hear me?!?”
For the moment, it appears that these screaming saviors have no intention of leaving. The administration has not made any moves to restrict their freedom of speech. Although they do bring back unflattering comparisons to the Westboro Baptist Church nutcases who visited campus two years ago, they at least have not succeeded in seriously offending anyone. However, for all of the non-believers, homosexuals, minorities, and supporters of tolerance who pass through White Plaza at mid-day, I would advise that you not only turn up the volume on your headphones, but also hold your nose. Some of these holy rollers could really use a shower.