“You all are going to hell,” said Jessie Morrell, a Christian protestor among a crowd of students near the Pirtle Technology building at Tyler Junior College. The sound of angry voices seemed to pierce the air as many expressed their opposing views on Christianity.
Morrell believes in only one kind of existence; one of purity, righteousness, peace and love, but from the manner of his protest, students began questioning the values he represents and also the existence of the Christian faith.
As the crowd steadily grew and the arguing escalated, Angela Rogers, a sophomore at TJC, stepped forward and spoke out against what she considered to be misdirection.
“You don’t hear love. All you can hear is anger and hostility,” Rogers said. “I think the only thing people are going to walk away with today is intolerance for Christians and more hatred towards them. It’s truly heartbreaking.”
Morrell showed no compassion to students, an attribute that is highly regarded and encouraged in the Christian faith according to the Holy Bible he read from in his left hand. His statements were harsh and degrading. Some of which were racially insensitive. He categorized many surrounding students as whores, fornicators, homosexuals and sinners, who he believed would suffer eternal damnation if not reconciled.
“I don’t think he represents God at all,” said Jessica Love, her eyes slightly glaring as she spoke. “He’s calling people perverts or thugs and talking about the black race. Personally, I think he’s racist and I hope he never comes back here again.”
While hoisting a vinyl red, black, and white sign in the air that read, “Trust Jesus and Stop Sinning, You Sinners,” Morrell justified his actions in accordance to what he believes is the will of God.
“Jesus changed me,” he said. “And since I am changed, I have the right to judge, getting the beam out of my brothers eye as it was removed from my own, as stated in scripture.”
The silence proved too much for TJC student and avid Christian Austin Blankbnnagel. He launched forward in an desperate attempt to try and reason with Morrell. Blankbnnagel questioned Morrell’s statements and behavior, explaining the difference in reaching people through being kind and understanding instead of resulting to hostility and anger.
“I hurt for this person. He doesn’t know how to communicate love which is what being a Christian is all about,” Blankbnnagel said.
“I walked up to a guy that was smoking and we shook hands and started talking and it turned out I got to connect with him more than the protestor. It’s all about how you talk to people and the way you show understanding.”
Although many students disagreed with what Morrell had to say, there were some who felt the protesting wasn’t all negative.
“He’s brave to be out here by himself,” said Ebony Rogers, a sophomore in the crowd. “I believe he is saying the right things, just maybe in the wrong way. I think he actually will bring people in instead of driving them away.”
Students were upset and disturbed by Morrell’s protest, but Campus Safety told them that there was little they could do considering he was on public property and that people are allowed to demonstrate their beliefs under that circumstance.
In the right hand corner of the crowd, Larry Corrao an older, heavyset, long haired man stepped into sight and said, “I think this is upsetting everybody. I feel what he is doing is wrong. He’s judging people and he doesn’t have the right. He calls himself sinless but the Bible tells us we’ve all sinned,” Corrao said. “He’s acting like he’s Christ, but I don’t see him raising to heaven. He’s wrong, period. Wrong.”