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Police pull preacher
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Caught on campus
Police pull preacher
By Nina Chiarelli
An opinionated preacher on the Concrete Beach drew an envigorated crowd yesterday and his words led to his eventual removal.
Ed Wellein, an American pastor from Ohio training to be a "campus preacher," was in front of the University Community Centre preaching religious doctrine to passers-by.
Wellein, a Christian follower of the College Community Church, but Wesleyan by doctrine, said God had called on him to warn students they are on the path to hell.
Wellein read passages from the Bible, answered questions and voiced his opinion on religious topics. "If you're a Muslim or a Hindu, then obviously you're damned," he said. "Christianity or perish."
Wellein said he was encouraged by the amount of students who stopped to listen.
"I'm not Muslim or religious, but that's a lot of bullshit he's talking," said Pietro Carello a second-year administrative and commercial studies student. "I don't think anyone should be on campus doing this. He's got a lot of balls, but one day he's going to piss off the wrong person," he said.
Adriano Guzzo, a third-year social sciences student, said while he did not agree with Wellein, he thought anybody who got up and spoke about religion would be questioned. "To me, it seems perhaps it could be a sham, but at the same time people should give him equal opportunity [to speak]," Guzzo said.
During the preaching, Sgt. Jim Parmley of the University Police Department was present to ensure nothing got out of hand and no one was injured. "As far as I know he doesn't have permission to be here," he said, explaining Wellein had not booked his appearance with the University Students' Council. However, Wellein was escorted off the premises after Parmley received complaints from students.
USC VP-campus issues Perry Monaco said he was not overly concerned since Wellein was not selling or advertising anything. "He's just speaking his mind, quite frankly that's pretty neat."
After Wellein had been removed, Western psychology professor Patrick Brown took over the crowd with a defence of Wellein's right to free speech. He said it was ridiculous if Wellein was removed on the grounds of not having booked the time with the USC. "You can't licence free speech. And who's so wise to decide who should and shouldn't have free speech?"