Students peacefully protest controversial preachers

The Student Identity Outreach protests against members of PinPoint Evangelism outside of Downing University Center Friday. SIO used nonsensical signs and slogans in attempt to distract passers by from listening to the evangelists’ message. ZADE SHAMSI-BASHA/HERALD

Tessa Duvall

Louisville sophomore Katie Swain likes to finger paint. This afternoon, she carried a poster in front of Downing University Center telling everyone about it.

Swain and other members of Student Identity Outreach held signs and yelled nonsensical phrases in order to draw attention away from two preachers of PinPoint Evangelism when they made their regular visit to WKU on Friday.

Danville sophomore Sydney Lapalme said she has friends who have been upset by the preacher’s statements in the past.

This time, Lapalme said students came together to protest the preacher’s nonsense with more nonsense.

Louisville senior Kat Michael, who organized the protest—called the “Welcoming Committee”—said her goal was to stop people from listening to the preachers and their statements.

In past visits, members of SIO have tried to prevent people from listening to the preachers but their methods never worked, Michael said.

This time, the group prepared signs last night to draw away attention, Swain said.

The posters and phrases are non-political, non-religious, and non-offensive, and they don’t make judgements on what the preachers said, Michael said.

Michael said the signs, which were painted with phrases like “Let’s go fly a kite,” “Yellow is my favorite color” and “Join Oprah’s Book Club,” were intended to be neutral so any student walking by could join if they wished.

Shelby Smith, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn., said the protest method was effective because she didn’t know what was going on among the chaos.

“I haven’t even seen a preacher,” she said.

Louisville sophomore Alix Casper-Peak found the protesting funny.

Although Casper-Peak believe the preachers had the First Amendment right to say what they pleased, she believed they weren’t spreading their message in the right way.

However, she said believes the protestors were “handling it the right way” by using humor and avoiding conflict.

John McGlone, one of the pastors with PinPoint Evangelism, told one listener he would continue to return to WKU as long as he was able because he loves and cares for the students.

The signs, he told the Herald, “reveal the foolishness” of the protestors’ thinking.