North Texas Daily

Large crowd views unscheduled religious argument in middle of campus

Large crowd views unscheduled religious argument in middle of campus

October 21
14:15 2014

Steven James / Staff Writer

More than 300 students, staff and faculty gathered today around the street and sidewalk in between Willis Library and the Business Leadership Building Monday after two men with passionate Christian views started arguing about sin and forgiveness.

The argument started as a result of Chris LePelley with Open Air Holiness Ministries walking up to the sidewalk and shouting that if people do not repent, they will go to hell. Because the sidewalk in between Willis and the BLB is public property, LePelley was allowed to preach there, so long as he stayed on the sidewalk and walked from one side of the crowd to the other, according to Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness.

LePelley targeted people who practice non-marital sex, the LGBT community, feminists and women who have had abortions, offending many members of the crowd.

While this is a usual sight on campus, Monday’s ministry was a little less controlled. McGuinness and two UNT Police Department officers had to take control of parts of the crowd several times, especially when certain crowd members would block the sidewalk.

Other members of the crowd did not take the argument seriously, shouting jokes about religion, Jesus Christ and the cross.

“Time to repent, UNT,” LePelley said. “Time to get back with God. You’re not going to be judged according to the gospel of grandma, according to the gospel of your church affiliation, but according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will be judged.”

After hearing LePelley’s comments, biochemistry senior Joe Watson walked over to him, arguing that LePelley was misguided in his interpretations of Christ and the Bible.

“No denomination of Christianity preaches this filth,” he said. “It’s a sham, you’re escaping the truth.”

The two men walked along the sidewalk and sometimes into the crowd where people would sometimes get near the two men, asking them questions inches from their faces.

Clarence Davis, LePelley’s friend, held a sign that stated “Trust & Obey Jesus Repent and Sin No More Lake of Fire for All Sinners” on one side and listed the types of people who would not receive forgiveness on Judgment Day, such as the types of people LePelley targeted in his speech. Davis also handed out pamphlets about sin and Christianity to those who were interested in reading them.

LePelley’s wife, Catherine, said that the two of them have travelled around Texas to many public places. She said that Chris LePelley has been to at least 39 universities since he started preaching in public.

“Our primary reason for doing this is to bring glory to God,” Catherine LePelley said. “We’re also out here to warn the students that Judgment Day is coming.”

Catherine also said the two attend Gospel Lighthouse Church in Dallas, a nondenominational place of worship, though they are not regular members.

Psychology junior Katie Proud said she noticed the argument when she was walking from class.

“This is a really weird demonstration,” Proud said. “[LePelley] isn’t even answering any questions, which I’ve never seen before. He’s just shouting stuff back at us.”

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