UCF strives to be an environment that encourages free expression; from the Free Speech Lawns around campus to Pride Commons, the university maintains the concept that an open exchange of ideas is the key to intelligent discussion and understanding. While this dedication has its benefits, it does lead to the occasional gathering of evangelists on campus who remind all passersby of God’s hatred. These assemblies have prompted a variety of responses from the student body, including outrage, fear, and laughter.
Wednesday afternoon, the Stallion sat down and interviewed evangelist John Carmichael to better understand what makes these preachers protest. Our reporting team managed to track him down in the MSB men’s bathroom and get a few clear answers, despite Carmichael keeping his megaphone on for the duration of the discussion.
What led you to preach the word of a God on campus?
Well, first of all, there is only ONE God, so jot that down. He spoke to me when I was thirteen years old during summer camp. A bunch of us were in our cabin fooling around and then there was this loud, thundering boom. It turns out it was just one of the counselors prematurely lighting the fireworks, but the divine message was clear; I knew it was my destiny to scare the devil out of gay people with loud noises.
What do you hope to accomplish with your protests on campus?
Some people seem to think that our only goal is to incite enough anger that students assault us, and sue for damages in return, but honestly, I just really want these kids to stop what they’re doing, look into their hearts, and realize that they’re going to Hell for being vegan.
Are there any misconceptions about evangelists you want to clear up?
When students look at me, they think I’m like Joel Osteen, buying huge, expensive houses and denying shelter to hurricane victims. I want to make it perfectly clear that we’re not all like that – I’ve seen his sermons and there are not nearly enough photoshopped pictures of aborted fetuses. And from what I’ve heard, he doesn’t even use a megaphone. Amatuer.
Why do you think students ignore you?
I honestly believe that the Devil himself has gotten into these students’ ears and is preventing the mighty word of God from seeping into their minds. My job is to successfully extract the Devil’s dam blocking Salvation from them. If that means spraying Holy Water on them as they run to class trying to get a scantron before an exam, so be it.
What was your inspiration for using the megaphone?
There was a time when I was fine with yelling at strangers with just my voice. That all changed when I held my protest on the same day as Spirit Splash; the name made it sound like a group baptism (come to find out it’s a heretical demon stew). All that noise and commotion made me realize I had to up my game if I wanted to get to these overstimulated millennials. It’s nice to finally be heard – now they can’t even ignore me with their headphones on.
Have you considered other ways of making your voice heard around campus?
I have thought about rebranding myself a little bit to make my hateful views more palatable. Apparently, if you’re a white nationalist, some universities will offer you a whole auditorium, give you weeks of media attention, and declare a state of emergency in your name.