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FREE SPEECH ON TEXAS CAMPUSES
I’ve been battling with Texas over free speech on the universities since I first attempted to preach on campus back in 2003. Over the years I’ve been arrested, threatened with arrest, kicked off campus, trespassed, etc, all for trying to engage in Open Air Preaching with the public university as the forum.
Ironically liberal states like Connecticut or California have been better with protecting free speech on campus, since the liberal courts want to protect the liberal activists. Texas has been better with gun rights (The Second Amendment) rather than free speech (The First Amendment). That is, until recently.
Texas has gotten better with free speech on college campuses with a new law that has declared the entire public campus “traditional public forum.” Campuses that used to arrest me whenever I attempted to preach on them now are forced by law to protect my speech.
In light of the new law protecting free speech on campus, I emailed the Campus Police and Office of the President for UT Tyler, UT Arlington, UT Austin, UT San Antonio, Tyler Junior College, Kilgore College, and a bunch of campus papers and city news.
This was my email:
To Whom It May Concern,
I wanted to declare my intentions for open-air preaching on the grounds of Tyler Junior College and UT Tyler along with many other campuses in Texas.
I am a resident of Texas but I travel the country preaching on Universities from California to Connecticut, Alaska down to Hawaii.
I’ve spoken on well over 130 universities across the nation to date.
In 2004 I attempted to engage in free speech on TJC but was kicked off campus.
After I returned to the public campus, I was arrested for trespassing.
I have since confined my free speech on that campus to the surrounding city sidewalks.
In 2005 I attempted to preach on UT Tyler but was escorted by the Police to the Presidents Office, where I was told I could only speak on campus if I secured the sponsorship of a student group organization.
This was a barrier to my free speech and a form of censorship for unwanted speech and I haven’t been to the UT campus for free speech since.
However, new developments have changed the situation.
The President signed an Executive Order Protecting Free Speech on Campus, threatening the loss of Federal Funding for any Public Campus that hinders the expression of free speech.
Many States have now banned “free speech zones” which limited free speech to certain areas on campus.
Those states are Florida, Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado, Utah, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
And effective September 1st of this year, Governor Abbots new free speech law “SB18” went into effect, which declared all public campuses in Texas “traditional public forum” for everyone.
(b) It is the policy of this state to protect the expressive
rights of persons guaranteed by the constitutions of the United
States and of this state by:
(1) recognizing freedom of speech and assembly as
central to the mission of institutions of higher education; and
(2) ensuring that all persons may assemble peaceably
on the campuses of institutions of higher education for expressive
activities, including to listen to the speech of others.
(c) An institution of higher education shall:
(1) ensure that the common outdoor areas of the
institution’s campus are deemed traditional public forums; and
(2) permit any person to engage in expressive
activities in those areas of the institution’s campus freely, as
long as the person’s conduct:
(A) is not unlawful; and
(B) does not materially and substantially
disrupt the functioning of the institution.
You can read the entirety of the new law here: https://capitol.texas.gov/tlod…/…/billtext/html/SB00018I.htm
I’ve already talked to my Attorney who handles all my free speech cases about this new law and in light of it, I plan on preaching once again in the middle of campus for both TJC and UT Tyler.
I’ll have a copy of President Trumps executive order and a copy of SB18 with me when I preach on campus.
Friends of mine have already started preaching on some Texas campuses that were previously closed to them.
In time I plan on preaching at UT Arlington and UT Austin, both campuses which also kicked me off years ago for trying to engage in free speech.
I have only since preached on the sidewalks around UT Austin but now have every intention of preaching in the middle of campus.
I also plan on preaching on UT San Antonio which I have never tried before because of their previous censorship policy.
Civil discourse on the issues of the day is all I am looking for. Campuses are the market place of ideas and conservative views like mine have a place there.
The students and I have a lot of fun debating the hot topics of our culture, like transgenderism, homosexuality, fornication, drunkenness, socialism, and other sins.
You can see videos of my open-air preaching on my Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/openairoutreach
I expect my right to free speech on campus to be acknowledged and protected.
Please let me know if there is anything you would like to say about this matter. Thank you!
Starbucks Worker Assaults Christian Preacher with Drink
I tested out the waters of this new law in Texas by returning to the campus that arrested me back in 2004 when I first attempted campus preaching. That’s Tyler Junior College.
This campus has been very hostile towards my preaching. Besides the 2004 arrest, in 2013 I had my camera stolen, the thief pulled a gun on me, and then the Police blamed me for the incident!
I live near this campus so these incidents remind me of this verse:
“But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” Mark 6:4
I was so excited to be able to preach in the middle of campus. For over a decade I have been preaching from the city streets, which don’t get too much foot traffic. I’ve wanted to preach in the middle of this campus for years.
I began preaching during a class change right near the student union building. I could tell from the initial response of the students they were like, “Who is this? What is this? What is this guy doing preaching on campus?” After engaging with them for a while, they learned how things work. I preach, they heckle. They ask questions, I answer. It’s an open dialog and debate and ultimately everyone enjoys it, which is why they stand around for hours.
It didn’t take too long before I had a nice crowd gathered around. A good section of the crowd were “Christians” who just wanted to debate me on my “approach” and “method.” I did my best to ignore them and tried to explain to them I came to campus to preach the gospel to the lost, not to debate with Christians in front of the lost about how to reach them.
I focused my preaching on the favorite sins of college students, like marijuana, drunkenness, and fornication. Focusing on these sins not only gets their attention and interest, and ultimately brings conviction, it also attracts my target audience – sinners!
When the crowd gets so large I have to engage in various tacts to keep them back at a good distance so that I don’t get completely surrounded. I try to walk back and forth, claiming my territory if you will. This helps mark out where I want the crowd to stand and how much personal space I need. But eventually, they always close in. And I ended up with my back towards the tree, which was there to “watch my back.”
My friend brought his son to campus with a little gospel sign. The students saw him and would approach him for conversation. Little did they know that he was a very intelligent and mature young man. He was winning chess tournaments when he was 6 and solving Math problems seems to be his favorite hobby. He’s become well read on some Christian apologetics, intelligent design, and the genetic code. So he can “hold his own” on campus talking to these college kids. He’s light years ahead of them. The fact is, as a home school kid, he was taking college classes years ago.
I continued to preach on Sin and the Savior, touching on hot button topics and being as controversial as usual. I try my best not to be a boring or soft preacher, which would quickly lose their interest. The crowd got closer and closer until I was completely surrounded. I had to move and change spots a few times when this happened. And every time the crowd would follow me to the new location and eventually swarm in again. I meant, it’s not a bad problem to have when you’re a preacher. A bigger problem would be when nobody stops and listens. I don’t usually have that problem.
After preaching for a couple hours, the crowd was pretty well cemented and wasn’t going anywhere. We were having some wonderful conversations about a whole variety of topics. And of course, I got to share my testimony, explain what it means to be born again, and expound upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
While I was preaching, a student I had never seen or encountered before came up from behind me and dumped a drink full of WHO-KNOWS-WHAT all over my head. It dripped down unto my nice vest and clothing. My tie also got some of this mess on it. And then without saying a word he quickly retreated. I followed him and the crowd followed me.
The Police didn’t seem interested or aware of what just happened, but they were concerned that I was inside a building. Apparently the guy who did this to me worked at the Starbucks inside. That’s where he got the drink from. My assumption is that he heard what was going on outside and decided to do this on his break because I had never encountered him.
The Police Officer came and told me I couldn’t be in the building and grabbed me by the arm and forced me out. I told him the guy who dumped this drink on me apparently works here and I wanted to file a report.
I went back to my preaching location and continued with the crowd for a little while longer. I always continue preaching after an incident happens because I don’t want to teach the students that doing such things is a way to get us to leave. But I was ready to start wrapping up the outreach before this incident happened. So I continued preaching for just a little while longer, summarizing what my message was and what the students needed to do – repent and get right with God. After that, I said good bye to the crowd and went on my way. All in all I think I might have preached a 3 hour sermon on that campus.
I had to return to campus a few days later to file my report. I felt obligated to file the report because there needs to be a good precedent set with the students, especially with the new free speech laws regarding campuses. They need to know that you can’t treat free speech activity like this. The Police said they were charging him with “simple assault” which is a “class C misdemeanor” in Texas, punishable with a fine of no more than $500. That was good enough for me. I know there’s also consequences with the school itself if you are charged with a crime by campus police. I don’t know if he was suspended or expelled or what. I hope he moved on and learned his lesson.
Afterwards we all went out to eat at What-A-Burger, a popular fast food joint in Texas.
The food and fellowship after the outreach is always my favorite part.
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STRENGTHENING THE RETURNING PRODIGAL
“I had fallen away from my faith for many years, confused and deceived, when I came back to the our Lord, I found your videos on college campuses and they gave me strength and clarity in The Lord’s word and helped with my walk with The Lord. I still struggle with sin, mostly anger and I ask humbly for your prayers. But the sins of secular society are no longer a snare in my walk. Thank you for going out and speaking the truth. Not everyone agrees with your methods but I know that there are people who need to hear the message in just the way you say it. I pray God continues to bless your ministry and how much glory to God if even one soul hears. Thank you.” Janet
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LIVING A HOLY LIFE!
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CONVICTED AND SAVED WATCHING THE VIDEOS!
REACHING SOULS ALL THE WAY IN FAIRBANKS ALASKA!
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With the Holidays quickly approaching, please remember my ministry and family during this time.
We live by faith supported by the body of Christ as we travel and preach the gospel everywhere and our financial support usually slows down around the Holidays as everyone is busy and shopping for Christmas.
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