Two traveling preachers wearing anti-homosexual T-shirts and preaching anti-homosexual sermons withstood jeers from hundreds of students Wednesday afternoon on Wescoe Beach at Kansas University.
The gathering started about 11 a.m. when students walking across campus spotted the two men.
Michael Venyah and Chris Lemieux said they travel across the country and often stop on campuses as part of Soul Winners Ministries International.
At Wescoe Beach, Venyah stood up, held a Bible and shouted various messages condemning homosexuals and people who practice other religions, telling them to "repent of their sins."
"I'm really happy everybody's kind of out here making a mockery of this, which is what it is," said Rob Conard, a freshman from Overland Park.
Conard, who said he was Roman Catholic, at one point stood next to Venyah and criticized him for not preaching a message of "love your neighbor."
Lemieux said he and his preaching partner try to reach "all nonbelievers," and that they often face such opposition. The two made an unannounced visit to KU, he said.
"Because that's one of the sins that people are committing on campuses, and that really divides people on whether they are following Jesus Christ or not," Lemieux said of the pair's anti-homosexual message.
He said Wednesday afternoon that two people on campus told him they supported the message.
But with most in dissent, a few students held rainbow flags while others shouted to drown out Venyah's message.
"I really don't believe I'm going to hell for being a homosexual. It's just not going to happen," said Brock Horner, a KU freshman from Shawnee. "I'm sorry, but I was made this way for a reason."
According to the ministry's Web site, Soul Winners is based in East Lansing, Mich. They began an eight-month tour to 27 states and 64 campuses in September. Lemieux said they often get donations for their travels.
Lemieux also said he had never heard of the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. or the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. The Westboro group has gained national notoriety for its anti-homosexual picketing at funerals of fallen soldiers and others across the country.
Conard said he believed some KU students were sensitive about the anti-homosexual message Wednesday because Phelps is from Kansas.
Hundreds of students had crowded around the steps to watch and made signs to block Venyah's face from view. At one point, someone threw a condom onto Venyah's shoulder, but he continued.
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"They shouldn't throw things at him because then they are fighting hate with hate," said Chris Thomas, an Overland Park sophomore who said he was gay.
Overall, Thomas called the preachers "sad" and was glad so many students opposed them.
At least three KU Public Safety officers monitored the crowd. Capt. Schuyler Bailey said no one was arrested or injured during the hourslong protest.