Preachers inflame crowd

TERESA FLEMING, News Editor

flemingt17@grinnell.edu

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, a group of street preachers from The Campus Ministry USA drew a raucous crowd in front of the JRC where they decried oral sex, gay marriage and masturbation. Led by self-proclaimed “confrontational evangelist” and low-budget reality TV star Jed Smock, the group preached throughout the day to a group of students who responded alternately with anger, confusion and amusement.

Smock, a former University of Wisconsin History professor, has spent years travelling to colleges and preaching to crowds of students, who he called the future sinners of America. His wife, Cindy Smock, accompanies him and frequently preaches sermons urging female students to take on the role of submissive wives.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your husband as unto the Lord. The Holy Bible teaches that wives are to submit to and serve their husbands,” Smock said. “A college girl needs to clearly understand the scope of submission. You do not submit in the act of the sin … girls, submit does not mean oral sex. This seems like a really nice college, but yesterday I was over at Iowa State and I kid you not, it seemed like some of those females were there to get a Ph.D. in sperm eating. They were bragging about it over there.”

The Smocks were accompanied by their interns, siblings Kirsten and Joshua Borchert, who travel with them to colleges around the country. Kirsten Borchert said that the negative reactions they received from Grinnell students were not unusual.

“That’s typical, I mean not everybody’s going to agree with us, but we just wanted to get them at least thinking,” Borchert said. “We just want people to talk about God and start reading the Bible and start thinking about God and become a Christian, ultimately.”

Willa Collins ’16 was among the students drawn to the spectacle in the middle of campus. She theorized that the novelty of the fiery religious discourse was a draw for many Grinnell students.

“It’s just ludicrous, and thus enticing. And I definitely think that we don’t get exposed to this a lot,” Collins said. “I think some people are getting a lot of pleasure out of asking logical questions to solicit illogical responses, doing that kind of baiting of their circular rhetoric.”