By Ivan Cazares
Students engaged in a public shouting match against a group of Evangelical Christians in the free speech area last Thursday and Friday.
Religious groups are common at East Los Angeles College. However many students expressed dissatisfaction with the group’s anti-gay message.
“I actually support gay marriage. If a lesbian wants to marry a gay guy, I don’t have a problem with that,” Joshua Borchert, a member of Campus Ministry USA said.
The group consisting of eight people, led by Jeb Stock travels the country spreading its message.
“We are just preaching the Word of God. Some people are offended because we use explicit language,” Stock said.
The group claims to be provoking them to read the Bible.
Some women were offended with the explicit language used by the group to condemn premarital sex.
The group, which includes women, expressed misogynistic tendencies. Members of the group told women who engaged them that women should be quiet during church service.
In their attempt to retort, some students resorted to insults and attacked Borchert’s sexual orientation instead of presenting a counterargument.
The group uses footage of its encounters with students, campus employees and police to promote itself via social media sites.
It also has video-tutorials on YouTube and its website that teach other open-air preachers how to work a crowd.
“What they are saying is wrong. If you believe in the Bible, you shouldn’t preach hate. You don’t have to be perfect in the eyes of God,” the College Church member Alex Cortez said.
The College Church is a Christian group that preaches at ELAC.
Cortez and fellow Christian Ezequiel Garcia explained that Christianity isn’t about judging others.
“Some of the things they are saying are offensive, but we can’t do anything. They haven’t broken any laws,” deputies monitoring the situation said.
The group followed the guidelines in the free speech form they filed with Student Services.
Deputies and some students tried to discourage others from engaging them to no avail.
The group continued to draw attention until Elan Robert Chapa interrupted with his heavy metal guitar riffs. Students welcomed the performance with donations and Chapa collected $20.
Administration became involved when several students complained. However, the group was not kicked off campus.
“Administration had to get involved when they started being disruptive. Some people are offended by what they are saying,” Vice President of Student Services Julie Benavides said.
They were discouraged from preaching outside the free speech area. However, there were some sympathizers among students.
The group has received similar reactions from students on different campuses.
It recently visited the University of California Riverside and Arizona State University.
The group has been recorded giving anti-Muslim speeches and speaks out against the theory of evolution.