Monday, May 11, 2009

In the name of God

Each spring, Brother Micah Armstrong and his wife, Sister Elizabeth Armstrong, make a stop in Athens, Ohio as part of their open air preaching tour with a group of evangelical Christians that targets college campuses. And each year, they incite the same reaction – anger, taunting, and confrontation.

Grasping their Bibles, the evangelists take turns standing in front of a group of students, condemning them for their corrupt and degenerate ways, and pleading for them to repent.

Brother Micah shouted at the top his lungs, chiding young people for smoking marijuana, drinking and having rampant casual sex. Sister Elizabeth sauntered up to preach next, saying it’s allowed because her husband gave her the permission and authority to do so, after himself preaching first.

Sister Elizabeth quickly drew fire from a handful of students, many of them black, after she yelled, “If you voted for Barack Obama, you need to repent!” She alluded to Obama as the antichrist, also calling him “a baby killer.” Alternating between loud arguments and scripture readings, Sister Elizabeth seemed to revel in the student confrontation.

Each year the group of evangelicals draws a crowd of students ready to listen, argue, mock and yell back. Though some students have genuine questions, most come for confrontation, as if it’s some sort of religious circus act.

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