Street Preacher Draws Differing Responses On Campus


Phillip Cozzi, Editor

Brookdale students, staff and visitors who used the back walkway between the MAN and MAC buildings Tuesday, Jan. 24, around 11:30 a.m. got a sermon they probably weren’t expecting as a Christian street preacher set up shop across from the Student Life Center.

The man, who held a sign that said, “Fear the Lord” and “Depart from evil” among other messages, orated conservative religious arguments and preached to passersby. His denominational or organizational affiliation is currently unknown.

“We heard him say that college students were playing Russian roulette with our genitals,” said Morgan Riedinger, an 18-year-old criminal justice major from Hazlet. Among the behaviors the preacher urged repenting from are “idol worship, drunkenness, premarital sex, abortion, drugs, lying and stealing.”

As he spoke, some students challenged the preacher’s statements. Others tried to heckle him or engage him in debate. However, short debates ended with the speaker looping back to his speech and continuing.

“I don’t have a problem with religion, and he’s only preaching. It’s interesting to see people’s reactions to him,” said Zachary Held, an 18-year-old media studies student from Old Bridge, who recorded some of the interaction.

The unexpected religion lesson continued throughout most of college hour, which ends at 1:30 p.m., and some students expressed irritation and exasperation.

“This is bullsh#%,” said Taylor Maddaluna, a 19-year-old nursing student from Tinton Falls.

“I showed up for a good day, and now I’ve got to deal with this,” said Tyler Orth, an 18-year-old education major from Little Silver. “I thought people like this only existed on TikTok!”

“I think it’s more for themselves and getting a rise out of his own viewers than changing anyone’s minds. That’s the point,” said Brian Durante, an 18-year-old Red Bank biology major.

Campus police were also on the scene but did not intervene as the speaker was not breaking any laws.