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Prof, protesters punish pastor for speaking on campus

A college professor – unhappy that a Christian pastor comes to the campus of Minnesota State University at Mankato to share his faith – is blaming the minister for suicide deaths in the homosexual community and calling him “douchebag.”

James Dimock, who is on the faculty of Minnesota State University at Mankato, traveled with a group of “gay” students to disrupt the pastor’s services in River of Life Alliance Church in Marshall, two hours from Mankato. 

In a series of letters to the MSU-Mankato student newspaper, the Reporter, Dimock promised to continue shouting down Pastor John Chisham as long he keeps coming to campus to preach.

“As long as you keep coming to our campus, I’ll be out there to fight against you,” wrote Dimock.

On Oct. 17, a dozen students marched into Chisham’s service and stood silently in front of the congregation. They held up signs that blocked the congregation’s view of Chisham as he preached.

Pastor’s eye view from behind the protesters. Photo by John Chisham.

Dimock said the protest was prompted by the pastor’s visit to the Mankato campus. Under the moniker “John T. Baptist,” Chisham regularly preaches in the open air at Mankato and other universities in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Dimock made no apologies for shouting down Chisham on campus. 

“The few minutes I spent shouting my opinion loud
enough to overwhelm his doesn’t nullify the time he spends speaking. He gets
ample time to have his say,” Dimock told WND.

Dimock also described Chisham as a “Pharisee” and a “hate-monger.”

In return, Chisham admits he invited the protesters to his church, although he wasn’t really expecting them to carry their messages on signs in front of the congregation.

“We invited them to come in and participate in the service,” Chisham told WND. “They interpreted that as saying they can walk into the service and block it with signs.”

He said the signs “were all about these bullied homosexual young people who’ve committed suicide.”

Dimock, who teaches communications studies, directly blamed Chisham, fellow preacher “Shawn the Baptist” and other evangelical Christians for the deaths of homosexuals.

“Shawn and his friends didn’t pull the trigger on Asher or hundreds of other gay and lesbian teens. But they may as well have,” wrote Dimock.

The reference wasn’t clear, but might have been regarding Asher Brown, a Houston middle-school student who shot and killed himself.

“Look who are the bullies. They’ve got it exactly backwards,” said Robert Knight, senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and a leader in the fight against the homosexual political agenda.

“This is the primary strategy advocated in ‘After the Ball’ [a political handbook popular among homosexual activists], to portray gays as victims and thus intimidate anyone questioning the agenda,” Knight told WND.

Chisham said Dimock was “directing” the students, and that he tried to speak with Dimock and the other protesters after the service.

“They told me, ‘Preaching like you did in there makes homosexuals feel bad about themselves and they want to kill themselves.’ When the professor left, he said ‘I don’t want to have a dialogue with Pastor Douchebag any more’ and walked away.”

James Dimock

Dimock denied he was the leader of the protest but admitted calling Chisham the unpleasant name.

“I was asked to be a liaison between protesters
and the YMCA and the police if necessary. This was done both because of my
experience and in order to free up the protest organizer, Tara Mitchell, and
allow her to focus on the actual organization of the protesters. I helped write
and sent out press releases,” Dimock told WND.

He also wrote that he drove one of the protesters’ cars from Mankato to Marshall, two hours away.

According to the university Web page for Dimock, his interests including “rhetoric of protest and dissent, radical and fringe rhetoric.”

“I actively encourage students to engage activities such as organizing, protesting and demonstrations and other applications of speech and rhetoric in the public sphere,” wrote Dimock on the website.

Dimock refused to explain how blocking speakers with signs or shouting them down comports with the “ethics of argumentation” he teaches in his classes.

“It is simply not possible to condense my
position on ethics and argumentation into an e-mail,” Dimock wrote to WND.

Dimock emphasized that he is not “anti-Christian” but objects to Chisham’s rhetoric.

Officials with the university told WND that the professor would not be subject to any discipline.

An official statement, attributed to Anne Blackhurst, interim vice president for academic affairs, said, “The university promotes freedom of speech and expression, but condones disruptions which prevent others from speaking. The professor and the students were not representing the university. Faculty members are entitled to express their personal views and opinions, but they are not entitled to characterize their views as those of the university.”

When WND questioned the university’s statement that it “condones disruptions,” it was corrected to “does not condone.”

Chisham said he wasn’t particularly upset by the protesters in his church.

“I did not know that those people were coming, but God did,” said Chisham. “We’ve been going through the book of John for two years now, and the Scripture being preached, John 19, was perfect for these people. It’s the passage about people who heard the Gospel message and kept hating God, saying ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’ I saw the same hatred in their eyes and I was speaking to them, saying Christ died for you and you can have a new life, a heart of flesh. How merciful is God that He would stand for this blasphemy in His sanctuary, and allow them to have one more chance to hear the Gospel.”

But as a consequence of the Oct. 17 protest, to which police responded, the tiny Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation now also has been booted out of its rented space at the Marshall Area YMCA, according to members of the church.

“They can’t have a church associated with the ‘Y’ that would preach that sin is sin. They believe in tolerance and diversity, but the tolerance ends when it comes to born-again Christians,” said Chisham.

YMCA officials were not available for comment.

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