DePauw students trump activist group

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
DePauw University students gathered Wednesday afternoon to drown out derogatory shouts from a group believing in "confrontational evangelism." (Banner Graphic/NICK WILSON)

The Terre Haute-based "Bro. Jed's School of Evangelism" stopped by DePauw University on Wednesday, much to the surprise of students and Greencastle residents alike.

By simply listening to a few minutes of the group's message, onlooker suspicions were confirmed as the group soon began shouting its allegations.

In an obvious display of anti-homosexual rights, four of the group's members traveled to Greencastle to further its "Campus Ministry USA" campaign from its Terre Haute headquarters -- the Church of Ministry -- including leader Brother Jed Smock.

Jed and his cohorts shouted slurs to students and passersby, calling women "whores" and men "evil," amongst other slanderous statements designed to incite a reaction -- peaceful or otherwise.

Tensions ran high Wednesday afternoon when students began to communicate back to the protesters. (Banner Graphic/NICK WILSON)

Two students were briefly detained after one was unruly and another allegedly threw coffee on a protester.

Mayor Sue Murray and DePauw President Brian Casey were present and tried to help contain the situation and maintain its peacefulness. Murray said the entire happening was "unfortunate."

"This is not a place for interested and productive dialogue," Murray said. "I think this is an opportunity for someone who wants to be heard -- a group that wants to be heard. What they're displaying is completely the antithesis of what many of our students feel at this time."

President Casey described the group as "inciting student reaction with a message of hate."

"Right now they are allowed to (do so) because they are on public property," Casey said. "We have a lot of students gathering and we're just monitoring this for the safety of our students. The students are obviously communicating back and exercising their right to freedom of expression."

DePauw President Brian Casey arrived shortly after protesters began picketing, seen here trying to help calm student emotions and offer reassurance. (Banner Graphic/NICK WILSON)

Asked what could have provoked such a presence, Casey replied, "We have no formal message from them."

DePauw was simply the latest in a string of recent protests. Next up -- Indiana University today and Purdue University on Sept. 25, according to the group's website.

This peaceful-protest-turned-violent forced officers from DePauw Security, the Greencastle Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, the Fillmore Police Department, Indiana State Campus Police and the Indiana State Police to respond and form a sort of barrier between the protesters and their student counterparts.

Reports indicate the DePauw Campus Security department received the initial call at 11:50 a.m. followed by a call to GPD at noon. The police departments initially believed the group was from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kan.

DePauw students eventually trumped the protesters by sheer volume, using chants, loudspeakers and music until nothing else could be heard. (Banner Graphic/NICK WILSON)

However, tensions eventually flared as students rallied in number and strength, overpowering their agitators with loud music and chanting. Cries of "I believe that we will win" and "black lives matter" could be heard radiating around the corner of Hanna and Locust streets.

After approximately two hours of picketing, shouting and commotion, the activist group was finally escorted to its vehicles by police and students resumed their normal schedules.

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  • My son attends Indiana State University and this group is on his campus frequently. He would advise students to stay away from the group because they have people in the crowd who takes pictures and uses them on their website to show the "following" they amass at the colleges they visit. So all future students should stay and away even though the group preaches hate. Also, feel free to look into the group and you can see the various photos.

    -- Posted by mom67 on Wed, Sep 23, 2015, at 8:04 PM
  • The pictures on the link "mom67" mentions are really sketchy, including people holding up condoms and signs that say "YOU DESERVE HELL" and similar messages of hate. Bad news. Very unfortunate that these people think this is the way to spread the gospel.

    -- Posted by Violet23 on Wed, Sep 23, 2015, at 8:31 PM
  • Seems to me this is all a publicity stunt trying to garner attention for a reality show. It's a shame, while at the same time quite genius, the people behind this are using people's sensitivity to these issues to capitalize. Somebody could get hurt. Sometimes it's better to ignore ignorance rather than fan the flames.

    -- Posted by llbean on Wed, Sep 23, 2015, at 9:14 PM
  • Shouting BLACK LIVES MATTER and whining about ideological diversity on the grounds of a liberal arts college. Glad we can check "Good Deed" off the to-do list.

    -- Posted by daisy48 on Wed, Sep 23, 2015, at 9:20 PM
  • Actually, if you go to YouTube, and search for "Brother Jed Reality Show," there's a pilot for a show right there. It never went into production.

    -- Posted by FluffBunny on Wed, Sep 23, 2015, at 9:21 PM
  • *

    Just proving college kids aren't as smart as they think they are.

    If they (students) wanted to make a greater point, they should've just ignored the moronic agitators. They agitate for attention, not to win souls. Ignoring, laughing at, or even offering to pray for the agitators would've been much more effective and would've stolen the agitators thunder.

    I vaguely remember something about the futility of wrestling with pigs...

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 8:15 AM
  • They target ISU a lot and I want to know if the Boy Scout uniform is on an actual Boy Scout- It is awful to use a Boy Scout uniform to spread hate. The kids tried to do a good thing but I agree- ignore them and let their fire die out.

    -- Posted by talkymom3 on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 9:14 AM
  • "talkymom3" the person in the Boy Scout Uniform is not a real Boy Scout at least when the group comes to ISU according to my son. The person cannot answer simple question about the organization.

    -- Posted by mom67 on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 1:06 PM
  • *

    To be more clear - as I wasn't there and didnt hear what they were saying or how they were saying it & can only go by what is reported here - I don't believe they are spreading hate. (If preaching scripture.)

    I do believe they are trying to hit people over the head with the Bible instead of opening it up to them.

    We all deserve Hell. We all earn it honestly. If not for the sacrifice made by Jesus' dying on the cross, that is where we will all end up. Most will still end up there b/c they refuse to accept the gift given to them by their Father in Heaven.

    As Christians we are not supposed to beat people up with the Word of God, we are supposed to encourage and give hope by the promises (of Heaven and Hell) found within.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 1:57 PM
  • Please don't link this group up with Christians- their actions and message is not of Christ. And yes the students were just as silly , they should have went on about their business. From what I'm reading how did this turn into Black lives matter? And by the way someone should tell the Blacks that Black lives matter because when you see the shooting and drive by shootings they are almost overtime Blacks targeting Blacks.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 4:37 PM
  • Wow! It looks like the cast of Porter's Ridge has found a new gig!

    -- Posted by Erasmus on Thu, Sep 24, 2015, at 4:52 PM
  • Shouting women are "******" is spreading hate. Judging others (lest ye be judged) is spreading hate.

    These are not Christians, these are Hypo-christians .. and there are a lot of them. "Listen to me, I am relaying God's message. If you don't listen, we up the ante to violence in order to get our point across."

    True Christians follow the bible without judgment.

    -- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Sep 29, 2015, at 10:57 AM

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Wed, Sep 30, 2015, at 11:52 PM
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