10 a.m., the last thing most college students want to hear
is someone screaming at them, saying they are headed straight
that's exactly what happened to U. of West Virginia sophomore
Erinn Exline on her way to class last fall. Her accoster?
The infamous Brother Jed Smock.
preacher's message is about as popular on campus as his trademark
polyester vests, but despite the barrage of jeering and protest
that follow him from one university to another, he's been
bringing his ferocious brand of fire and brimstone Christianity
to America's campuses for 26 years. And he has no plans to
cool with Ohio State U.'s Vincent Conaway. This senior actually
adjusted his course schedule so he wouldn't miss Jed's campus
appearances. Though he disagrees with the preacher's views,
he still sees a place for Jed on campus. "Some people get
their feelings hurt or insulted. Sorry, but that's life."
preaches daily, and has visited more than 600 schools in every
state. His message? His wife Sister Cindy sums it up best:
"If you're a fornicator, a drunkard, a rock 'n' roll freak
or living in any kind of sin, you're headed for hell!"
along with the couple's five home-schooled daughters, often
preaches alongside the 55-year-old minister on his road trips.
And while opponents label him sexist and homophobic, Jed remains
steadfast in his mission to convert "decadent, depraved and
degenerate" college students. "I'm confident that as a result
of my preaching, a significant number of college students
will change eventually," Jed says.
so, says Exline. "I think he needs to rethink his strategy
of getting people to listen to him," Exline says. "He's wasting
U. junior Caitlin Sweet agrees. After one of Jed's cohorts
handed her a pamphlet titled "Convincing Reasons Homos are
Hellbound," Sweet and other members of the student group "Swarm
of Dykes" tried unsuccessfully to have Jed banned from campus.
"He's so out there it's almost funny, until you think about
what he is saying," she says. "It doesn't make you feel safe
on your own campus."
Jamie Pietras, Assistant Editor