Religious demonstration sparks student protest

Radical Christian demonstrator, Jed Smock, talks in Bosco Plaza as students listen, protest and argue on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 2014. Smock comes to K-State every year to preach and also travels to other universities around the country. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

A group of radical Christians held a demonstration at Bosco Plaza today. Jed Smock and attendants yelled derogatory comments at many groups on campus, including those of differing religions, homosexuals, sorority and fraternity members, and those who are sexually active. The members say they do not identify themselves as a single group, but as concerned congregants of local churches. They are not members of Westboro Baptist Church.

“He is the prophet,” said Bonnie Berggren, demonstrator and member of the Living Word Church in Manhattan. “He stays at my house sometimes… He won’t get fruit from this (demonstration) for two or three years. But someday, someone will write him up and say, ‘I’m glad you did that.’ The fruit comes slow.”

Students took up a counter-protest to block out the speeches. A same-sex couple openly kissed each other in protest against Smock’s demonstration. Protestors sang the fight song, chanted “Let’s Go Royals,” held bible studies and prayer circles, and cheered K-State football cheers during the demonstration. One protestor stole the hat from the head of a demonstrator and attempted to flee the scene. He was instructed by the police to return the hat and apologize.

Potential students visiting K-State today say the demonstrators have not affected their views of the university.

“I don’t really know what’s going on. I feel like they had similar things at other colleges, not just here,” said Mikayla Rebman, senior at Cherokee Trail High School in Colorado.

Her sister Maria Rebman, also a senior, thinks similarly. “I think it’s funny. It’s just a part of the college life to have weird people around.”

Police were on the scene to keep order and prevent any interference. There are no formal charges at this time. The Union has issued no formal response, but may respond on social media if the situation escalates.