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.