Crowd gathers around self-acclaimed “messenger of God” who uses the alias Paul Mitchell. (Anibal Santos)
As he held a double-sided sign on a pole students shouted remarks concerning the message. On one side Paul’s sign said, “WARNING! HOMOSEX IS A GOD DAMNED SIN! ROMANS 1:26-27.” The other side of his sign stating, “WARNING! ABORTION IS A GOD DAMNED SIN! Exodus 20:13.” Mitchell said he addresses these parts of the Bible because they are moral issues.
While some shouted angrily, others asked insightful questions. Amid the chaos and tense atmosphere, Aaron Tufono, 19, music, started playing and singing “One Love” by Bob Marley on acoustic guitar. His attempt at bringing light to the crowd quickly dimmed.
Other students held signs they had written on their notebooks as a way of silent protest. Charis Airhart, 25, nursing, held a handmade sign that said, ” It’s OK, I Love You,” with a pentagram drawn in the middle.
“[I did it] just to tick him off,” Airhart said. “He comes here every year and these poor guys (campus police) have to escort him off. He doesn’t have a life. He is lonely and needs attention, so he comes here and harasses people. He called someone a whore earlier.”
A student asked if Paul had been asked to come here by God by text message. Paul replied “It’s sort of like a text message. It’s called the Bible.”
Becoming tired with the student’s questions, Paul said he was staying for six more minutes unless someone asked a good question. A note was passed to him from the crowd that said, “Where in the Bible does God tell or ask his children to judge their fellow man rather than love their fellow man?”
Paul said it is a question he gets a lot. “(People think) what I’m doing is a violation of the sacred rule of ‘no judging’. The reality is everybody judges. Jesus Christ said he didn’t come to judge the world. It doesn’t mean he didn’t come to set the parameters.”
During his response, a Marine shouted over him “Join the military, get free college!” Students started clapping and cheering. Paul exclaimed, “Crowd thief!!”
Another member of the crowd chimed in “Hey Paul, your six minutes are up!”
“Paul Mitchell” argues with group about Bible sayings. (Anibal Santos)
Charis Airhart holds up a sign to challenge “Paul Mitchell’s” protest in the quad. (Anibal Santos)