Cardinal Rule Editor-in- Chief
What began as one man’s proclamation of faith quickly escalated into a religious debate on the North quad Wednesday afternoon.
Chris LePelley, a 23-year -old preacher with Open Air Holiness Ministries from Tyler, Texas, wore a sign declaring the many types of people he believes will go to hell including “girly men, bitter people, Buddhists and Bible-skeptics.”
“I’m just out here preaching the Bible and calling sinners to repent,” LePelley said, “I do this full-time, traveling around college campuses.”
David Maddaloni, a senior graphic arts major from Elba, stood near LePelley carrying a sign reading “Holding a Bible doesn’t make you a good Christian” on one side, and on the reverse it said “God likes short shorts.”
“We heard him say that a girl that wears short skirts and tight pants can’t possibly be a Christian,” Maddaloni said.
“People like him love to gather up attention and stir up controversy. He’s not here to tell us who Jesus is or who God is, or what the love of Jesus is, only to bring controversy and hate to people,” said Josh Odom, a junior psychology major from Brewton.
Many students present tried to discuss his beliefs with him.
Micah Johnson, a sophomore business major from Troy, called LePelley’s beliefs a “work-based gospel.”
“The Bible says that the kindness of the Lord leads us to repentance, and he’s basing it off the idea that if I beat it over your head enough you’ll get saved and that’s completely out of my paradigm,” Johnson said.
“I don’t want to tickle anyone’s ears, and I don’t want to tell anyone what they want to hear, only what they need to hear,” LePelley said.
LePelley said that the students who were angry with him “love darkness rather than light.”
The Troy University Live Action Roleplaying Guild was also set to host an event in the same area. According to Abigail Smith, guild leader and co-founder of the LARPing guild and a junior elementary education major from Panama City Beach, Fla., the club reserved the space a month ago.
“I calmly approached him with a copy of my reservation,” Smith said.
“I told him that I was not asking him to stop but to please move out of our way, we run around and do all sorts of crazy things, and we didn’t want someone to be hurt, and he called me a ‘lying college student.’”
“It’s just been a show, people coming out here because they see their buddy or something, then it turns out there is this argument going on that just continued to escalate,” said Jake Thibedeaux, Student Government Association clerk and a sophomore marketing major from Decatur.
Herb Reeves, dean of student services, confirmed that LePelley had a permit to speak in that area.