Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
I am of the opinion that knowledge is power. It damns us and it saves us. Life is like one big pop quiz, and the questions just keep “popping” up, waiting to be answered by one who is willing to do a little digging. For better or for worse, it leaves those who do the digging unsurprised by life’s unexpected “pops.” While it may lead one to spoil a surprise birthday party or two, it does have its advantages now and then.
Say, when a protestor tells you that “YOU DESERVE TO GO TO HELL” on your way to your Thursday afternoon class. That is when I wish I had the upper hand.
So I figured I would share some information here that I know I would have liked to have when my day was more than ruffled and my friends were more than insulted.
The man who came to our campus last week–the one in the neon-green shirt, sporting a well-kept van dyke goatee–is Jesse Morrell. He is the leader and founder of an organization called “Open Air Outreach,” whose mission is “To take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners through open air preach, calling them to forsake their sins and trust in Christ, and to train up other believers to do likewise.”
He is young, only 26, and is the father of a family of four whose picture he proudly emblazons on his website (openairoutreach.com) in order to inspire donations to his cause. His primary funding comes from a lawsuit–a $25,000 payout from the city of New Haven–that he instigated when he arrived on one of the 97 campuses he has visited nationwide.
I realize I am feeding the troll here. I am providing him with attention—however, I would rather be informed than stumble around in the dark when a person tries to poke a hole in my soul with rage-inducing rhetoric. It helps me stay calm, cool and collected when hate speech is thrown my way. I only hope that providing this little amount of information will inspire similar, educated reactions, whether they are ones of silence or of cutthroat commentary.