My run-in with a street evangelist

I was trying to have a meeting just now, and there’s somebody outside in the street with a megaphone. I could hear him, but not what he was saying:

“Waaa waa wa wara wa warraa waa waaar. Waa! Wra warawarawarr waraaa! Wrra wra wwarawara!”

After about 45 minutes of this, I decided to ask him to please quieten it down a little.

I went down into the street to ask him to cease and desist, in the nicest possible way.

“Hi,” I said with a smile. “I just wanted to let you know that the megaphone isn’t really doing you any favours. I’m only over the street, and I can’t hear a word you’re saying. Why don’t you just say what you have to say without the megaphone?”

“Where do you work?” he asked. I pointed. “You only can’t hear me because I’m not pointing it in your direction.”

“Well, in addition to that, it’s kind of annoying, you see. I’m trying to work, and I’m finding the noise is very distracting. If you insist on using the megaphone, maybe you should do your proselytising somewhere else?” Bad choice of word.

He angrily waved the megaphone at me. “I’m NOT proselytising.”

“What are you talking about, then?”

He pointed the megaphone right at my head and shouted through it: "I’M TALKING ABOUT THE WORD OF LORD JESUS CHRIST!


“I’ve no real opinion,” I managed to shout back, “but one of his supporters is really starting to piss me off. You’re only alienating people with this meth-”

“I AM NOT ALIENATING PEOPLE,” he replied through the megaphone. “YOU WILL REMEMBER THIS DAY! BY THE WORD OF GOD!” he yelled, angrily pointing me out to a crowd of people. “THE WORD OF GOD IS THE WORD OF LOVE!”

Defeated, I retreated to the office. He’s now pointed the fucking thing right at my building, and I can indeed hear every word he’s saying.

I’m not yet converted.

You have evangelical wackos in Ireland?

Uh, call the cops?

Only a few. There are some Catholic evangelicals, too. I don’t know what denomination he was.

Oh good, the cops just moved him on.

I remember an old lady who called in to a radio talk show in Charlotte to Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s son. It was about a week before her murder, and he had not yet converted to Christianity. The woman got hotter and hotter as she debated him, and finally she blurted out, “WELL, YOU’LL KNOW THE LOVE O’ JESUS WHEN YOU’RE BURNIN’ IN HELL!”.

Somehow, this makes my head hurt.

Good thing. Because if he had been proselytising, that would have made it even more annoying.

I always wonder. Does anyone ever listen to one of these rants, go “Hey, THAT makes sense”, and run over to be converted?

Odd are, he’s right. You will remember this day.

This is why I keep a pack of balloons under the sink.

Oh yeah, we get these wackos all the time on “the Diag” which is a diagonal walkway at the center of the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. I actually work at the Flint campus (50 miles or so north of Ann Arbor) but sometimes attend meetings at Ann Arbor.

Several months ago, I exited the graduate library after a meeting and one of these nutcases was preaching. I was not really sure at first if he was for real, or if perhaps he was a drama student practicing for a play, or a Saturday Night Live wannabe. I couldn’t help myself, I started laughing.

He noticed and screamed something at me like “You, you are laughing! Almighty God will not be mocked!”

So, I proceeded to tell him how Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead saved me from being an uptight fundamentalist.

This really got him going! “Jerry Garcia! The Grateful Dead! What is this? ALMIGHTY GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED!!!”

It was pretty entertaining.

Why can’t they ever shout something entertaining?



We had one of these guys on campus a couple of weeks ago. He was there for several hours. He had no megaphone, but he spoke quite clearly and his voice projected well, so that caught my attention. I stopped after class to hear what nonsense he would be yelling. I heard this gem:
Audience Member: “So, earlier, you told Curt that even though he was an athiest, God might occasionally have him do good work so that Curt might decide to become a believer.”

Street Preacher: “Yes, sir, that’s right. If Curt sees that he’s doing good, he might decide to do good all the time and live for the Lord.”

AM: “So, if God goes to all that trouble, why couldn’t he just have Curt become a believer instead of hoping he’ll figure it out on his own?”

SP: “Well…uh…because, forcing you to believe would be like God raping you. Spiritual rape.”

Some fool spent 15 minutes once trying to convert me from Judaism to Christianity.

I’m not Jewish.

I love meeting those types of folks…but not when I’m working. Aren’t some of them, like, dangerously insane?

Can you please show us on the doll where the bad Deity touched you?

Too bad you didn’t get to finish this thought with him. I think that’s an excellent response.

I have devised a perfect gesture of contempt for these folk. As I am walking by, I toss a quarter at their feet.

When I was in college, we had one of these guys come by campus. I spent a lot of my youth mocking Jesus Crispies (so we called them), and when this guy came by, I was all prepared with my little songs, with my black candles, with my backwards Lord’s Prayer –

– and then I saw this cute girl talking earnestly with him. I vaguely knew her, knew that she was hardly a fundamentalist, and I wanted to tell her, “You’re wasting your time – do you try to reason with a rabid dog?” But instead, I listened to her.

“I really like what you’re saying, dude,” she told the Crispy.

“Yeah!” he said, nodding vigorously.

“Sure,” she agreed, and pointed at the sandwich board he wore, on which he listed Evolutionists, Witches, Astrologers, Abortionists, Lesbians, and other groups of the hellbound. “I really like how you’re recognizing the darkness that people have inside them, not turning away from it.”

“Yeah!” he said. “Darkness!”

“Sure!” she agreed. “And how you’re really grooving on all that darkness, on all that hate you got inside you, man, you’re not denying it, you’re really acknowledging your hatred.”

“Yeah! Huh?”

“Yeah, man! Listen, I want to travel with you to other places, maybe I can help you preach, and I can do you.”

“Miss!” he said, looking both offended and aroused, “I’m a married man!”

“No problem, I’ll do your wife too!”

I just about lost it. Damn, she was good!