The police department at The University of Texas at Austin issued a disorderly conduct citation to an outdoor preacher on Tuesday after students complained that they were offended by his messages. The preacher, who was standing just outside of the campus, recorded his interaction with several university police officers, who told him that it was illegal for him to offend students.
An intern with Campus Ministry USA, an evangelical ministry organization, the preacher traveled around college campuses proudly preaching his message. The ministry is headed by one Brother Jed Smock, who said that his intern Joshua “was speaking out against STDs, warning against anal sex.”
The university states that the officer was responding to students who claimed to be “verbally harassed” by the intern-preacher. In the video below the officer explains that the preachers use of sensitive words like “anal” and “penis” offended students and proceeded to issue a citation for disorderly conduct. According to Brother Jed, “After a lawyer representing Joshua called the chief of police, the chief called Joshua and apologized. The citation was withdrawn.”
A university official later confirmed that the ticket was “voided,” adding that the officer who originally issued the citation is currently in the training process.
This is a controversial issue and can be looked at in two ways. Was the preacher really in the wrong by talking about such sensitive subjects in a school setting? Or was he right to try to spread the message of safe choices to students? You make the call.