By Sylvia Cunningham

A police car drives past the crowd who has gathered around the street preachers who visited the UConn Storrs campus on Monday.

A police car drives past the crowd who gathered around the street preachers on Monday. (Photo by Sylvia Cunningham)

Every now and then, students at the University of Connecticut walking around campus may hear the sound of street preachers on Fairfield Way.

The four street preachers who visited UConn on Monday hail from all over the country, including Virginia, California, Georgia and Idaho.

Don Karns, of Virginia, has been visiting the Storrs campus to preach for about three years. Karns thinks that students misconstrue his message when they start viewing him as their enemy.

“When I preach, I’ve made it clear that I have a great love for homosexuals – the same I have for all my neighbors – and I want to see them in heaven. And when somebody asks me what the Bible says, you know, I share what the Bible says – it’s the truth. And if the Bible offends them, you know…I’m not their enemy. Their problem is with God’s word,” Karns said.

Three UConn students sat nearby the street preachers holding signs. They went to the Co-op to pick up supplies after they saw the four men outside the library.

UConn student Riza Brown holds a sign to counter street preachers' proclamation of "Sin Awareness Day."

UConn student Riza Brown holds a sign to counter street preachers’ proclamation of “Sin Awareness Day.” (Photo by Sylvia Cunningham)

On the back of one of the posters, UConn junior Riza Brown made a list of “sins,” from quotes in the Bible, including passages related to touching dogs and eating shellfish.

Brown says although she’s not a Christian, she has no problem with Christianity.

“I respect their beliefs,” Brown said. “ I don’t respect how they go about it.”

Other students agreed it wasn’t the message, it was the method.

“The whole way they’re going about preaching, I just think they’re doing it the wrong way. They shouldn’t be yelling at us about sin,” said UConn senior Sean Tansley.

“I’m getting my daily dose of comedy right now,” said UConn student William Barbosa. “Because he’s doing everything that most Christians I know don’t do.”

At the end of the day, Karns says what he does is about love.

“I can go back…and I really don’t see that I say anything hateful, but people say ‘you’re being hateful.’ I don’t really get it. I didn’t preach anything hateful today,” Karns said.

Karns says he plans to preach in Boston on Tuesday.

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