Next week, I’ll be doing a longer piece about Brother Jed and his family for the Wildcat, so here are my findings from today, which was Jed’s first day on the UA campus in 2010. This is more newsy than opinion based (because I was originally writing it for the Wildcat), but eventually, I will share my opinions on the matter. For now, here’s some objective reporting on what happened with Jed today:
Approximately 50 students gathered around Heritage Hill Thursday to watch Brother Jed Smock, controversial college campus evangelist, perform his interactive preaching of the bible.
“This guy is the epitome of campus preachers,” said Brennan Vincent, a mathematics sophomore.
Vincent carried around a poster of two women kissing each other in tank tops and panties to show his support for homosexuality.
“I’m carrying this photograph because Brother Jed has been insulting homosexuals since he first visited this campus,” Vincent said.
Smock travels to college campuses during the academic school year to declare the gospel to college and university students. He is on a college campus on every school day, Smock said.
Students joined together in laughter and shouting in opposition throughout Smock’s speeches. Students also sang along with Smock’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” and “When the Saints Go Marching in.”
“Don’t marry one of these girls that wants to wear the pants,” Smock told the crowd.
“Wives, submit yourself to your husbands,” Smock said. “It’s sort of like I’m the king, she’s the queen. I’m the breadwinner, the provider.”
Smock receives donations from churches and private donors to travel around the country to preach. He has also written five books.
“This is the best free comedy show on campus,” said Rob Wolfset, a creative writing sophomore.
Mechanical engineering junior Candice Bauer agreed that Smock’s visits are entertaining and interactive.
“He gives Christians a bad name,” Bauer said. “He preaches hate rather than love.”
Creative writing junior Kimberly Topolosky shared a similar view.
“I was offended when Smock yelled ‘No homos, no homos,’” Topolosky said. “The God I believe in loves everyone.”
Smock, who held a crucifix style walking stick, shared stories about his relationship with his wife, his support for former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the bible, and his college days among other topics.
“I’m ashamed to say I used to be a whore mongering fraternity boy,” Smock said of his undergraduate years as a Delta Upsilon fraternity brother at Indiana State University.
Smock told the story of how he met his wife, Cindy Smock when he visited the University of Florida in the 1970’s.
Cindy Smock initially opposed Jed Smock’s preaching, but she changed her views after going to church with Jed Smock, who denied her request to kiss him. The Smocks waited until their wedding ceremony to have their first kiss together.
“I only come to see Brother Jed for the humor,” Bauer continued. “More people would be in the audience if the weather was warmer.”
“Brother Jed isn’t as mean anymore,” said Carla Green, a retailing and consumer sciences senior. “He seems to have gotten softer over the years. He used to sing the ‘Gay Song’ and get up in everyone’s faces.”
Smock will be on the UA campus Friday and all next week, when his wife and daughters will join him.
“You can’t take everything in the bible literally. It’s the moral rejuvenation [of born again virginity] that counts,” Smock said of Bristol Palin’s commitment to abstinence upon having her first child.
“Don’t take everything I say so literally.”