‘Sin is insanity’: Anti-LGBT and anti-feminist preacher visits Boca campus

Jesse Morrell’s latest of many college campus visits was at FAU, where he said a student threw a stone at him.


Jesse Morrell travels the country to spread his religious and social views. Photo by Kristen Grau

Kristen Grau and Hope Dean

Editor’s note | March 15, 7:52 p.m. This story has been updated to reflect that while a student threw a stone at the preacher, it didn’t necessarily make contact.

A few weeks after a religious preacher was slammed by a golf cart on the Boca campus, a student allegedly tried to hit another evangelist with a stone on Thursday.


Jesse Morrell, a Texas-based preacher, traveled to FAU to share anti-LGBT and anti-feminist rhetoric. As part of his self-started ministry, Open Air Outreach, he travels to college campuses both inside and outside the country to let people know that “sin is insanity,” as he said at FAU.


About 50 students gathered around him at the Social Science building to argue back-and-forth about the legitimacy of his views. Though he covered everything from marijuana to pornography, his main focus was bashing both feminism and the LGBT community — views that angered an unidentified student enough for him to allegedly throw a rock at Morrell.



“If there’s any homosexuals here at FAU, I’m sure there’s probably a few homosexuals here, you can become ‘homo-no-mo’ through the power of the gospel … Jesus can take a homosexual and make him straight,” Morrell said. “Jesus can take a drunkard and make him sober. Jesus can take a feminist and make her a submissive woman.”



Morrell said that he started off speaking near the Wimberly library until police instructed that he move to the “free speech area” near the Social Science building, even though free speech areas have been eliminated in Florida.


After two hours on campus, Morrell said that police threatened to arrest him for “disturbing the peace.” But he then spoke with Police Chief Sean Brammer, who said that he would not be arrested due to his First Amendment rights.


FAU’s police department declined to comment on the matter.


A former Palm Beach State College student, Barrington Cox, accompanied Morrell throughout the day to record for Morrell’s YouTube channel.


Cox said he’s “supportive” of Morrell’s ministry, so he invited Morrell to stay at his home — and preach at FAU. Cox said that he and Morrell would be returning to FAU Friday.


But not everyone is happy about Morrell’s message. Kiran Shirazi, who is double majoring in neuroscience and mechanical engineering, thought that Morrell was more of an extremist than anything else.


“Aren’t religions and preachers supposed to support you, not shame you?” she said.


There hasn’t been a shortage of religious and political preachers on campus this semester. The anti-abortion organization, Created Equal, has already made their traditional stop at FAU. On a more consistent basis, another anti-LGBT preacher supposedly named “Ken” has also visited the Boca campus multiple times.


Morrell drew in dozens of students throughout Thursday afternoon, and several debated with him.


Joshua Bullock, a sophomore communications major, stood toe-to-toe with Morrell to stand up for the LGBT community.


“He’s been preaching a lot of hate and trying to disguise it as love,” Bullock said.



Others stood and walked idly by, but said they were uncomfortable.


“How far does free speech go when you’re literally standing next to all these females … and telling us we’re responsible for why we’re getting raped and the clothes we wear is easy access?” freshman business major Jade’ Jackson said.


But Morrell sustains that he’s “here just to talk to you about the Bible.”


“This is the marketplace of ideas, and so I want to have an open exchange of ideas with minds that are looking for education,” he said.

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Kristen Grau is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @_kristengrau.

Hope Dean is the news editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @hope_m_dean.