Mill Avenue Resistance Reports: Saturday, May 2nd 2009

Apologies that this took so long to post.

Mill Ave. wasn’t quite crawling with preachers this past Saturday, which isn’t to say there weren’t any. Since it’s usually pretty devoid of them on Saturday nights now, there seemed to be a comparatively large amount. Al and his cronies were handing out their “I.Q. Test” tracts by the Light Rail, and we kept an eye on them for a while. Then word came that the dreaded Jeremiah was on on the corner of 5th St.

A cameraman was out to document Jeremiah’s incredible preaching abilities, and we set up our equipment nearby. Joe and Kyle were already there, and Rocco turned up a while after. We were bothered for a while by the adversarial cameraman, who intimated that we were cowards for not “preaching” our beliefs on our own, instead of merely reacting to the street preachers. He didn’t seem to understand when we tried to explain to him that we aren’t really fond of annoying people without cause.

Jeremiah began to speak, and we all watched as the crap began to fly from his mouth and splatter, moist and mushy, onto the pavement and the deaf ears of the crowd. He seemed fixated this night on the “10 out of 10 people die” line, as well as “God knows what’s on your computer history!”. His infinite loop seemed even shorter than usual, inducing yawns after about three revolutions of the “Jeremiah’s brain” turntable.

Appropriating Rocco’s megaphone, I said my usual stuff too. Hey, if he can have reruns, so can I. Kazz and I passed it back and forth for a bit, then I gave it to him to recover from the thin fog of smarm particles emanating from Jeremiah, which were beginning to overcome me. Hence the new saying, “When Mill gives you smarm, make smarmalade.”

Of course, it does not do to forget why we’re out here. What Jeremiah does hurts people. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that. As Kazz said to him, if he had a leg to stand on he wouldn’t have to resort to frightening people with tales of “the lake of fire” and such. There is also the simple fact that he is not willing to debate with us. When asked, he said, “I’m not here to debate! I’m here to proclaim,” which induced gales of laughter from all present.

Eventually Jeremiah got frustrated and stomped off, carrying his equipment with him and almost visibly sulking. We stayed around for a while, and Rocco spoke with several young men of an unsavory, rather intimidating character. El Presidente also granted the cameraman an interview, which will be ostensibly be shown in their church and almost certainly have Rocco misquoted to the point of ridiculousness.

We decided to pass on an opportunity to bother Al, who had since brought out his speaker. A few of the hecklers we’d had earlier were there, and we figured they were capable of handling anything Al had to dish out (which as usual wasn’t really much).

This Saturday was an important reminder to us, however. No matter how dead they’ve been, they can’t be neglected. As ever we need lots of people out to contend with the “proclamations” of those such as Jeremiah. We’ve recently been a little sparse, especially late on Saturday nights. Sometimes it’s difficult making sure you have enough people with you to be safe. Even if there aren’t many preachers out on Saturdays, it’s important to be safe since things can happen even when you aren’t opposing anyone.

Mill Avenue Resistance – April 2009

April 4, 2009
8:00 pm
April 10, 2009
8:00 pm
April 11, 2009
8:00 pm
April 17, 2009
8:00 pm
April 18, 2009
8:00 pm
April 24, 2009
8:00 pm
April 25, 2009
8:00 pm

We’ve been getting lax lately, and the Mill Avenue preacher scene is heating up again. Not only are some new (and very unpleasant) ones coming out, but some of the old ones who had stopped showing up are back for more. For the moment it appears that we can expect to find one or more groups of preachers out most if not all Friday and Saturday nights, and some of them are horribly obnoxious.

With the previously dwindling preacher population, it is easy to see why many of us felt our weekends were better spent on other activities, but those of you who have been involved and still believe that what we’re doing is worthwhile should seriously consider coming back.

In the interest of balance and sanity, I would encourage people not to show up to every event, but to find the ones that will fit into their schedules and come out when they can. We don’t need an overwhelming mass of people every time, but we do need to consistently have enough people to counter preachers, present our message, and deter violence.

This last issue has not been a big problem in the past, but recently an angry Christian hobo decided it would be a good idea to walk up to one of our female members, rip up her sign and hit her in the face with it. She was (perhaps unwisely) out alone before anyone else showed up, but incidents like this did not happen when we regularly had enough people to make thugs like him think twice.

Even as recently as last Saturday one of our long-time members was pushed and repeatedly threatened by another belligerent believer who claimed to be coming back with friends to beat him up. It was most likely an empty threat, but we can’t afford to take chances with things like this.

We need to rejuvenate the resistance. We have to show these people that they can’t push us around, and we should be showing the preachers that they still cannot renew their assault on Tempe’s citizens and visitors with impunity.

If you want to coordinate with us, send a message through the contact form or talk to us in the forum. Otherwise you can just show up on your own or with your own group and join in any time you want!

Mill Avenue Resistance – March 2009

March 7, 2009
8:00 pm
March 14, 2009
8:00 pm
March 21, 2009
8:00 pm
March 28, 2009
8:00 pm

The usual preachers still seem to be attempting to bore us to death, but this month we saw some of the younger ones trying to organize their own groups and a few others coming in from other areas and even other cities.

These guys were a mixed bag. Some of them were nice and relatively reasonable people who were willing to have civil discussions with us, and others were attempting to overpower us with their insufferable preaching at high volumes with as little interaction as possible. Apparently they haven’t learned yet that they can not hope to win this way, and the people who they want to convert appreciate it even less than we do.

So if any of you guys are reading this right now, come out and preach if you must, but remember that the more annoying you are, the stronger your opposition becomes.

Brief February 27th-28th report:

I was out on Saturday, and the preachers we saw were relatively sedate, but a couple of them seem to have slipped away down the street. We’ll have to keep a closer eye on them next time and find out which new areas they’ve found to annoy.

The night was livened up a bit though by an appearance from our friends Omar and Jim who had some interesting discussions with random believers and a Mill Avenue regular who holds some strange beliefs about the Nephilim and UFOs. I also met a fellow atheist who stayed around for most of the night and plans to come out again, so overall I would say it was a good night.

Friday, from what I hear, was a little different. I couldn’t make it out that night, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be too busy either, so I was surprised to hear that there were over 30 preachers out from at least two different groups.

One of the groups holds pretty silly beliefs (including that the King James version of the Bible is itself divinely inspired and perfect), but for the most part they are fairly nice people. The other newer group of obnoxious and childish young people on the other hand attempted to use their speaker as a weapon to assault the ears of our members by holding it up right by their heads and yelling at them.

It sounded like the few Resistance members who stumbled onto this managed to hold their own though, despite being severely outnumbered, but it looks like as the weather warms up, Friday nights are heating up too. I guess the Friday lull is over and we’ll have to stop slacking, so be ready to put more Friday nights back into the schedule.

I don’t plan to officially schedule Friday nights quite yet, but even if the nights aren’t listed, don’t assume that we won’t be there. I intend to go back to checking Mill out more consistently on Fridays, but whether or not we stay depends largely on the presence or absence of preachers.

Mill Avenue Resistance – February 2009

February 7, 2009
8:00 pm
February 14, 2009
8:00 pm
February 21, 2009
8:00 pm
February 28, 2009
8:00 pm

Last month was a crazy one. We had a preacher here from New York with his teenage son, one from South Africa, an American preacher who lives in Scotland, and even the infamous Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas, all here to tell us how horrible and worthless we are and how we need their god to save us (which he may or may not decide to do, even if we want it).

Last Saturday though, it was back down to the local preachers again, and they went back to what they had been doing recently, which is apparently trying to bore us to death. At some point they did start preaching, but once we came down to where they were it was short lived. At least we managed to get some conversation out of them off the mic, which is rare with most of them, and that provided some interesting insights into their thinking.

We also ran into a Muslim who pretended to be a Catholic, but when he didn’t know about transubstantiation (the idea that the bread and wine actually turn into the body and blood of Jesus in your mouth), his cover was blown and he eventually admitted he was a Muslim. Fortunately he was talking to a SFTS member who used to be a Muslim and is well versed in their religion. We some other interesting conversations, and we are looking for ways to make sure that we have even more of them in the future.

I’m not sure yet exactly what this month will be like, but even if it is slow we’re doing something important, and I believe that we are still having an overall positive effect, so I hope we continue to get good turnouts on our side.

Mill Avenue Resistance – December 2008

December 6, 2008
8:00 pm
December 13, 2008
8:00 pm
December 20, 2008
8:00 pm
December 27, 2008
8:00 pm

The Mill Avenue Resistance is still going strong, but lately the preaching on Mill has been even more pathetic than usual. The last two weeks in November, Al (who is usually reliable for a laugh) refused to haul his god and pony show out for ridicule, but late last Saturday night there was a spark of hope for the preachers in Al’s surrogate Brant, until he opened his mouth.

If you thought you had heard nonsense from a street preacher before, you should really talk to this guy. He did have the same basic street preaching template that the others had to work from, but he seemed to have little or no knowledge of anything outside of that. It was pathetic.

So preachers, if you’re listening, step up your game and bring on someone who can at least give a half-assed attempt at defending your (admittedly indefensible) fairy tale god, or take a cue from the rest of your dwindling crew and just pack it in.

As for those on our side, while our opposition has been in sorry shape lately, we can’t afford to go down the same path. So far we still have good turnouts, but no matter how lame they get we must hold up our end, even in the frozen winter Hell that awaits us for the next couple of months. We’ll see what we can do about getting hot chocolate or coffee or somethin’ to ease the pain.

Thank you for coming out so consistently, and please bear with us while the preachers work out their personnel issues.

Mill Avenue Resistance – November 2008

November 1, 2008
8:00 pm
November 8, 2008
8:00 pm
November 15, 2008
8:00 pm
November 22, 2008
8:00 pm
November 29, 2008
8:00 pm

Last Saturday’s event was the most lively we’ve seen in a while, due in large part to the great turnout we had on our side (including our new friend Lizard Man and his band), and in even larger part to the comical antics of our belligerent preacher friend Jeremiah.

Seeming even more agitated than usual, Jeremiah continually moved his soap box and speaker around the corner in a vain attempt to avoid us between bursts of frustrated and angry preaching. I guess he’s lucky he had us though, because Al (the other preacher with a mic that night) couldn’t seem to get people to listen to him at all where he was.

Fortunately for us there were relatively few preachers out that night, so we did a good job of overwhelming them. Unfortunately there are still many nights where they outnumber us and flood all of Mill in a sea of fundamentalist Christian propaganda pamphlets while we are largely confined to one area.

This is where you can help the most.

If you are interested in helping us hand out our tracts or talking to people about our side, either through the mic or individually, contact us or just show up on Mill and find us. We can’t have too many people, and the more people we have, the more fun we have.

We have been considering a foray into First Fridays territory in downtown Phoenix as well, and after hearing the latest reconnaissance from this month’s event, we intend to be there for the next one on December 5th. More information will be posted prior to the event, so hopefully we’ll see some new people there as well. If you live in Phoenix and don’t get down to Mill often, this may be the event for you.

Mill Avenue Resistance – October 2008

October 3, 2008
9:00 pm
October 4, 2008
8:00 pm
October 11, 2008
8:00 pm
October 18, 2008
8:00 pm
October 25, 2008
8:00 pm
October 31, 2008
6:00 pm

October is shaping up to be a good month. Not only do we expect an infusion of new blood through the Secular Free Thought Society’s recent recruitment drive, but we should also have some fun new projects and events coming to fruition this month.

If you’re interested in participating in any of our events, or the Secular Free Thought Society’s, keep an eye out and we’ll post them here for you.

The Friday night experiment has had some success, particularly due to the fact that the Friday night preachers just aren’t very good. They have also been there less consistently than the Saturday night brigade, so we may have less scheduled events on Fridays if they don’t show up often enough. We will still check for preachers, but if they’re not there then we probably won’t be either.

If you notice preachers on Mill or at ASU and you don’t see any of us there, please let us know when and where they are and we’ll see what we can do about it.

Mill Avenue Resistance – September 2008

September 6, 2008
8:00 pm
September 12, 2008
9:00 pm
September 13, 2008
8:00 pm
September 19, 2008
9:00 pm
September 20, 2008
8:00 pm
September 26, 2008
9:00 pm
September 27, 2008
8:00 pm

This should be an exciting month for the Resistance! We will have new people coming in, familiar faces coming back from a summer out of town, and we will begin implementing some of our new ideas that haven’t been publicly announced yet. It should be fun though, so show up if you can, or keep an eye on the site and we’ll post more about how it’s going!

If you’re concerned by the recent post about the preachers threatening to get restraining orders against us, don’t worry about it. They have no legal grounds to get a restraining order against us, and we’ve been doing this every week for nearly a year now. They have less than nothing against you!

All it shows is that we’re having an effect. They know that we’re getting more support than they are pretty consistently now, we can out-argue them any day on most subjects, and basically their inane ranting is getting them nowhere these days.

Unfortunately, they are splitting up more often now, and we can always use more people to cover the splinter groups, or even just to support the main Resistance group. Besides, the more people we have, the more fun it is!

Don’t forget that the first meeting of the re-formed Secular Free Thought Society of ASU is also coming up this Thursday (September 4th, 2008)! I hope we see a lot of people there. With your help, this can be a great school year for us!

Mill Resistance – August 2008

July 26, 2008
8:00 pm
August 2, 2008
8:00 pm
August 9, 2008
8:00 pm
August 16, 2008
8:00 pm
August 23, 2008
8:00 pm
August 30, 2008
8:00 pm

What is the Mill Resistance?

If you’ve been on Mill this summer, you probably know that it’s been a bit slow, and often less fun and interesting than it was in the spring, but that is going to change shortly.

Late August is when ASU’s classes start again, so in a few weeks we should be back to full strength, and beyond as we gain more new recruits!

That is not to say that we shouldn’t bother until then. The times when things are a little less crazy give us a good chance to hone our skills and make plans for the future! If you haven’t been coming out and you’re considering it, now would be a good time to start.