If you have taken a walk through Pedestrian within the last two weeks then you have more than likely come face to face with the Pedestrian Preacher.

He is usually sporting a "Jesus Saves from Hell" T-shirt where "Hell" is written in an image of fire. He also wears an anti-porn pin and is seen holding a sign with outlandish phrases that evoke emotion. He then screams wild opinions that our increasingly socially liberal student body greatly rejects. Among these wild accusations is everyone's favorite debate of gay marriage.

I was observing this preacher one sunny afternoon outside HSS; my FYS photography class moved outside that day and had unfortunately been placed just behind the Pedestrian Preacher. I couldn't tell you what we learned in class that day, because, like my classmates, I was immensely curious of the display behind me.

At first the Preacher yelled out strange statements about Hell and poorly quoted Bible verses taken greatly out of context to an uninterested crowd of bystanders. No one seemed to mind and continued on with their dull routine. Then he made the comment, "God hates queers," and it was as if a dam had broke and a flood of angry students gathered around him.

"God does not hate, God is accepting and forgiving. You are not following the path of God by being filled with such hatred," an overly dramatic woman cried out in a theatrical tone.

The growing audience began to cheer and clap. Before long, everyone was getting his or her two cents in against the bewildered preacher. The Preacher's face grew tomato red as he screamed out to the crowd the only things he had ever known to be true in his poorly educated life.

About 15 minutes in, the preacher started to quote Bible verses claiming that "gays" go to Hell. It was really becoming too much as the crowd's anger was evoked even further. They began chanting, "God loves all." A student appeared with a guitar and began performing the song "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles, and everyone began singing. Before long the crowd had grown so out of control that cops had to come to monitor it. Spontaneous chanting of "God loves queers" began, and everyone around joined in, proudly pumping their fists into the air and feeling they had conquered evil this day.

College gives students the freedom to express their own opinions and set their own moral judgments. While this is greatly encouraged, I couldn't help but wonder what these students were trying to prove to this oblivious fool. To me this guy was not worth a passing glance, yet so many students jumped at the very first opportunity to debate this Preacher.

While trying to prove that they were right, these students lowered themselves to his level of wrong, because these people were bullying him as he bullied others. While some of their debates were well worded and accurate, others were just flat out pointless, such as one student crying out, "You're ugly!"

I couldn't help but wonder if this particular Preacher foe used a video camera to tape and record his audiences – as many street antagonists do – but if he had a tape rolling, it would take little editing to show exactly the hate we criticized in him.

It is good to take this into consideration if you are a part of the opinionated crowd. What I recommend is for you to keep in mind what you learned in grade school and ignore the bully. For the hasty judgments and livid audiences are all in a days work for the pompous Pedestrian Preacher.

Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at kcurry6@utk.edu.