The Parthenon

Column: ‘Open-air’ preachers may be allowed, but are not welcome

Jared Casto, Executive Editor

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“You’re gonna die. You’re gonna die. You’re gonna die,” John McGlone, an open-air preacher who made his first appearance on Marshall’s campus Monday, shouted through a megaphone as a group of instrumentalists played jazz music over top him.

“Here’s the fun part, boys and girls,” he said. “You’re going to die and go to hell.”

Drawing crowds in front of the Memorial Student Center throughout the afternoon, McGlone was tagging alongside evangelist mainstay Zachary Humphrey who told a reporter for The Parthenon in August he didn’t enjoy the chaos, but enjoyed the conversation open-air preaching spurred. But this claim is hard to believe as Monday’s display suggested Humphrey and his partner had little desire for conversation while fully embracing the chaos they were producing.

For several Mondays, the open-air preachers have taken root in the center of campus, drawing crowds and opposition with divisive diatribes centered on the immorality of college campuses. Throughout Monday’s “preachings,” McGlone and Humphrey were a source of blatant bigotry against members of the LGBTQ+ community, Muslims and women.

Freshman psychology major Olivia Strother said she asked Humphrey whether a woman should be held responsible for a sexual assault based on the outfit she was wearing when it happened. Strother said Humphrey told her there was no way a man could see her in the outfit she was wearing without feeling sexually attracted to her. Strother eventually asked what would happen if she was in a situation where a man made an unwanted sexual advance on her.

If you’re dressing in a provocative manner, you’re asking for men to treat you in a sexual fashion,” Humphrey said he told Strother. “You’re asking for it, dressing in an immoral fashion.”

McGlone seemed particularly fixated on homosexual and transgender individuals throughout the afternoon.

“God is coming to judge the lesbos,” McGlone said in a sing-song voice as the musicians sounded off in the background. “God is coming to judge the fudgepackers. God is coming to judge the homos. Now listen. Homo is weird. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

Throughout their divisive tirades aimed at Marshall students, Christians who disagreed with Humphrey and McGlone confronted the open-air preachers, questioning whether or not the preachers’ approach conformed with the Christian faith.

Lynne Thompson, a freshman computer science major, said that he was a Christian but “nothing like that thing,” pointing to McGlone.

“It hurts to see people use the word of God like this,” Thompson said to a small group of fellow Christians at the scene.

Joshua Flynn, a sophomore psychology major and a musician who played alongside three others, said he’s a Christian who disagrees with the preachers’ attempts at evangelizing.

“This kind of approach is probably the worst way to get people to join the Christian faith because you’re instilling them with fear and disgust,” Flynn said. “When you tell someone that God doesn’t love them, then why in the world would they ever want to join a faith where their God hates them.”

Flynn said that playing instruments overtop the preachers isn’t an attempt to stifle free speech, but to show how “ludicrous” they sound.

With the men at such a central location on campus, students voiced frustration at the difficulty of avoiding or ignoring the men and their frequently insulting language. While Humphrey and McGlone certainly have a right to speak, it remains to be seen what impact their actions will have among the minority groups they targeted during their preaching.

McGlone is one of a rotating group of open-air preachers to visit Marshall, but the first to take as radical of an approach. It is unknown if McGlone will return.

As one of the musicians who requested to remain unnamed said while the preachers gathered their belongings, preparing to leave:

“You might be allowed back. But you aren’t welcome here.”

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected]

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10 Responses to “Column: ‘Open-air’ preachers may be allowed, but are not welcome”

  1. April on September 26th, 2017 6:41 pm

    Looks like a punk god is about love and kindness not bashing people

  2. Barbara on September 26th, 2017 8:51 pm

    As the parent of a student, I am quite curious as to why this open air preaching is allowed. I was sent a video taken today, in which this “preacher” called students “homos,” and made other derogatory remarks to initiate negativity and confrontation. Students are on campus to learn, not to be ridiculed and insulted for any of their beliefs in the name of any religion.

  3. Nate on September 26th, 2017 11:58 pm

    It’s free speech. Even if we don’t like what he’s saying he has a right to say it.

  4. Robert S Thomas on September 27th, 2017 12:33 pm

    Free speach. As long as it is not violent, I think it is ok.

    Free speach. Long as it is not violent and not shouting down or trying to drown out an opposing opinion.

  5. John McGlone on September 28th, 2017 3:48 pm

    We use such slang to get the attention of a zombie generation that has not been rightly raised by parents but by tv’s, iphones, internet trash, etc. What’s wrong with synonyms?

  6. Colin on September 27th, 2017 12:11 am

    It’s a “public”, not “private ” university! It goes both ways madam!

  7. Benjamin on September 27th, 2017 2:56 am

    Despicable to say the least. These same types of low-life people would harass students years ago just for kicks when I was an undergrad here. These evangelical preachers are a serious problem at campuses nationwide. The worst part of spring semester was being forced to listen to the rantings of a deranged lunatic while walking to class or trying to study by the fountain. It’s sad that these type of people exist who manipulate “free speech” for their own malicious agenda. This type of verbal assault is not welcome and should not be allowed in campus environments. Maybe if the students faked a riot, he’d get arrested for inciting violence ;). Otherwise, the best remedy is to literally pretend they don’t exist–it’s difficult to preach to group that isn’t even making eye contact with you.

  8. John McGlone on September 28th, 2017 3:46 pm
  9. John McGlone on September 28th, 2017 3:55 pm

    Flynn is a liar too…

  10. Lowell Austin on October 10th, 2017 10:54 am

    John McGlone, don’t you EVER call my Alma Mater Hypocrties. You are NOT spreading the word of God, you are just bashing everyone and feeling good for yourself but in reality, YOU should be the one who is sorry for calling out students.

    Many of the International students come from far away for one thing: to earn an education and not all of them are terrorists. What you’ve said about the school is a lie and you have no right to say that.

    My recommendation for you is to take your beliefs and your “Jimmy Hart” Megaphone and just disappear and NEVER rant on my school again.

    To all the students, don’t listen to Mr. McGlone, concentrate on going to class, making friends and graduating from college.

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