Preachers caused outrage and protest at the Scramble Light Sept. 23.

Holding a sign with a list of people who they say are damned to Hell, preachers confronted passerby, causing many students to stop and protest on the corner of the intersection.

The group of preachers based out of Terre Haute is led by Brother Jed Smock. The group is called Campus Ministry USA. According to their website,, Campus Ministry uses a technique called “confrontational Evangelism” to openly rebuke who they believe are sinners. 

Smock and two other preachers were present at the Scramble Light.

“[Students] have an appointment with death, and after that comes the Judgement, and they’re going to be judged in the light of the Bible,” Smock said. “If they’ve got sin in their life, they’ll go to Hell. They can be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.”

Students encircled the man preaching and opposed his message. Some made their own cardboard signs, and others played music and held rainbow flags.

Mary Gilham, a sophomore hospitality administration and food management major, was one of the students holding a rainbow flag to represent the LGBTQ+ community.

“I just wanted to hold that flag, the rainbow flag, as a sign of symbolism, as a sign of our culture, as a sign of my people and who I represent and who I don’t believe deserve any hate because we don’t hurt people,” Gilham said. “I guess I’m down here because I don’t understand, more than anything.”

Gilham recognized the group's right to speak, but thought the preachers were exercising their right in an offensive manner.

“I completely believe in the freedom of religion part. I completely believe that he should be down here sharing his gospel and sharing his word, but I don’t think that he should be shouting that girls are ugly and I don’t think that he should be shouting offensive things at people,” Gilham said. “All they’re doing is preaching that God hates everyone, not that God loves everyone, and it’s furthering a message of hate and it’s just not fair. I guess I’m offended by the parts of his speech that say that Christianity is somehow hateful and it’s not fair to other Christians who are down here.”

Jack Salzman, a junior telecommunications major, stopped on his walk home from class to watch the preacher and the crowd gather in front of him.

“I’ve definitely seen a lot [of students] and a lot of people who are definitely mustering up the courage to tell him off and I just find it very impressive,” Salzman said.

Salzman also did not share the preacher’s point of view, but knew that he could legally preach.

“I totally disagree with what he’s saying, but does he have the right to do what he’s doing? Absolutely. But we have the right to counter back with what he’s saying,” Salzman said.

Marcel Mello, a first-year doctoral student in music, questioned the credibility of Campus Ministry USA.

“I don’t think they’re a ministry at all. Honestly, in my opinion, they’re just a group that tries to spread hate and that’s really not the way you want to do if you’re talking about religion. You can see the reactions of the people,” Mello said.

Mello, who is homosexual, felt insulted by the preachers.

“This is a place where people study philosophy and history and do research and base their knowledge on scientific research and this is not at all anything compared to that,” Mello said. “He’s really just trying to insult people and provoke people.”