More than 150 students witnessed a drive-by smoothie yesterday, while others yelled “Fuck You” as visiting evangelist John Franklin preached in front of the UCen against what he said were the sins of the world, including homosexuality.
Franklin, a Los Angeles native, said he travels to colleges across Southern California to spread the word of Jesus Christ, and tell sinners they are on the path to hell. In response to his message, however, several students stood in front of Franklin’s eight-foot banner, holding rainbow flags and impromptu posters to protest what they said was a message of intolerance, while others attempted to speak calmly with him.
At one point, a passerby threw a pink Jamba Juice smoothie at Franklin, an action some crowd members disapproved of, regardless of how much they disagreed with Franklin.
“It was very symbolic,” said Eric Danner, a second-year biology major. “Anger and hate are only going to make more anger and hate.”
After being hit by the smoothie, Franklin changed his t-shirt in front of the crowd and said he was headed for the Rec Cen to take a shower.
Danner said Franklin’s behavior enraged and disgusted everyone in the crowd.
“He was literally sending messages of anger and hate,” Danner said. “He said he was here to help us because we are all going to hell.”
During the debate between Franklin and the crowd, Danner tried to hug the evangelist as a peace gesture, but Franklin called him a “homo” and would not touch him.
Franklin said he visits college campuses to speak out against compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. The sign he held said, “Satan Says… abortion is just fine and homosexual sex is normal… live for today, do what you want and do not fear hell.”
Liz Whakinson, an undeclared freshman, said she did not understand why Franklin was preaching his message of hate and ignorance.
“People like him piss me off,” Whakinson said. “I wish I had a rainbow flag right now.”
Franklin said his message will reach the people who want to learn, and will antagonize his condemned opponents. He said the popular view of Christianity is too lenient, and he believes most people on campus will go to hell because they are sinners, especially homosexuals.
“The more you stand in front of someone who is telling the truth, the worse it is going to be for you in the end,” he said. “Homosexuality is a sin. I know God did not make homosexuality. Get over it people.”