MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA Born-again Christian protestors were removed from Healy Circle by GUPD.
Three born-again Christian preachers read gospel passages over a loudspeaker outside the front gates Wednesday afternoon after being removed from Healy Circle by GUPD.

Three anti-Catholic, born-again Christian preachers stood outside the university’s front gates reading gospel passages and trying to spread an evangelical message to about 50 onlookers for about an hour-and-a-half Wednesday afternoon.

“Your good works don’t save you. Trying to be a good person doesn’t work for God. You can’t be any better than what you are, because it compares you to God, and in his righteousness and his holiness, you are an object of wrath,” one preacher said into a megaphone. “Your heart is corrupt. You can’t meet God’s standards.”

The preachers walked onto campus around 12 p.m. and were promptly removed from Healy Circle by the Georgetown University Police Department. They then stood on 37th and O streets, outside of the front gates.

According to GUPD Chief Jay Gruber, the department called the Metropolitan Police Department because the demonstration blocked part of 37th Street. The group left at about 1:45 p.m. after MPD arrived.

“It’s very simple,” GUPD Chief Jay Gruber said. “They’re not a student group so they don’t have any access to rights or benefits on campus, so they had to be off campus.”

According to Gruber, MPD did not ask the group to leave, and no citations were issued.

The preachers, who are not affiliated with any group, have held similar demonstrations around the country.

“We go all over the country doing this — preaching to universities, campuses, community colleges and high schools. We’re just preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re born-again Christians,” a demonstrator named Randy, who would not provide his last name, said.

About five GUPD officers were located near the front gates throughout the demonstration.

The demonstrators held signs citing gospel passages and handed out pamphlets entitled “Heaven or Hell?” and “What Roman Catholics Find When They Study Their Own Bible.”

“We just wanted to get the gospel out, and we’re doing it in a legal, appropriate way,” Randy said.

While the demonstrators said that they were not affiliated with any group, the pamphlets that they distributed were from Mt. Zion Bible Church Chapel Library in Florida and Pilgrims Covenant Church in Wisconsin, which, according to its website, encourages public evangelism.

The preachers tried to spread a message about faith that is different from the one offered by Georgetown’s Catholic tradition.

“I’ve been told a number of times, ‘We’re a Catholic University. We’re good.’ First of all, Roman Catholicism is not Christianity,” Sean, a preacher who did not share his last name, said. “We feel compelled to expose truth and to share the truth, not out of hatred for Roman Catholics, but out of love. Hatred would be to stick our heads in the sand and just let them go about their way.”

Sean said that the demonstrators aimed to share the gospel and to encourage onlookers to convert to Christianity in order to find salvation.

“We want people to be saved, we want them to repent and truly put their faith in Christ, but that’s not up to us,” Sean said. “God does that, and he does that by preaching of the gospel. We’re out here sharing the only hope for a fallen humanity.”

The preacher speaking into the megaphone said that people should not try to find salvation through Catholicism.

“It’s not the more times that you go to Mass that make you right with God,” he said. “Every time you go to Catholic Mass, they crucify Christ again.”

Around 50 students gathered around the front gates to watch the preachers.

“I’m kind of surprised that they’re allowed to use the megaphone this loud. I know that’s public property, so I’m surprised,” Zahid Syed (COL ’16), who watched part of the demonstration, said.

Patrick Bylis (COL ’17) held a rainbow flag signifying gay pride near the front gates for about 20 minutes.

“We kind of just wanted to create a distraction. We wanted to take away the hateful message that they were saying and reclaim it to make it our own,” Bylis said.

According to Bylis, the preachers were upset about the flag and called it an abomination of the rainbow that God sent Noah.

“It seems to me that they didn’t know who Jesus was,” Bylis said. “If anyone doesn’t know who Jesus was, it was definitely them because they were spewing a lot of hate, a lot of things that weren’t exactly the Christianity I know.”

Margo Poundstone (SFS ’17), who was standing near the front gates, led a group in singing Georgetown’s fight song and played music from her phone in an attempt to create a distraction.

“This just kind of pisses me off. I attend a Jesuit university not to listen to people telling people how they should and should not live. It’s just really stupid,” Poundstone said.


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