Preacher’s spoken views enrage students

By Brian W. Vaszily

For several hours on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, Jed Smock, an Evangelist preacher from Columbus, Ohio, claiming to be a minister with the “Campus Ministry U.S.A.,” utilized his right to free speech in the MLK Commons, enraging the mass of students in the process.

Throughout the four hours he spent speaking on Tuesday, the students, numbering over a hundred at times, deluged Smock with both angry and mocking questions and comments. At one point, Smock, referring to a woman in the audience who was wearing shorts, said “if you wear these short shorts you deserve to be raped.”

At another point, in reference to a man present who had his ear pierced, Smock said homosexuals “will go to hell.”

For several years now, Smock, along with his family, has been making about four excursions to NIU per year to preach to the students here. Sources said he is known at many universities throughout the country for preaching what he deems his “calling.”

“God has chosen us (pointing to his family) to be here. Most of you are dogs, governed by your instincts, and we are here to present instead the choice of God,” Smock said.

John Paterson, the NIU Baptist campus minister, defended Smock’s right to speak. “He feels he must preach to redeem himself.”

Paterson added he doesn’t agree with many of Smock’s values. “To suggest that a person causes a rape by wearing provocative clothes is ridiculous,” he said.

Dave Schmidt, director of United Campus Ministries and the Wesleyan Foundation at NIU, said all universities must practice free speech.

“The difference here is that the position (Smock) comes from is so narrow that it is impossible to enter any discussion with him … he won’t grant that there are alternate interpretations of the Bible,” Schmidt said.

Also, he maintained Jed Smock’s “holy hatred” (as Smock titled his beliefs) is actually dangerous to other faiths, as his extreme views evoke angry crowds who are then turned off to all religions.

Schmidt said on one of his NIU visits last year, Smock “followed a girl, badgered her, calling her a slut. That is not Christ. And I even tried to question him on this, but he would not participate.”

The student audience seemed equally disturbed with Smock’s rejection of any dialogue as well as his controversial statements, at points becoming so frustrated they shouted expletives at him and even resorted to throwing tin cans.

Smock also said, “and if you kiss someone on the lips before you are married, ladies, you are a whore …”

After Smock said “my son is my property, my wife is my property” (with both of them sitting at his side), NIU student Raianne Schroeder summed up what appeared to be the general emotion of the crowd.

“This so-called preaching is nothing but hypocritical, one-sided garbage,” Schroeder said.

Smock said he would return to preach again at NIU.