You’re going to hell. This is the message of Ross Jackson, alternatively known as Brother Ross or Saint Ross, who has been preaching on North Carolina campuses extensively since his conversion to Christianity in 2006. Last week, Jackson caused quite a stir on our own campus by drawing, and condemning, an amphitheater full of UNCW students. Jackson offered a number of inspirational quotes and phrases saturated with wisdom to UNCW students. A few of those quotes are:
“The only difference between a homosexual and a pedophile is a couple of years.”
“If you wear short skirts, or shorts, you’re a whore and will go to Hell.”
“Sucking down cigarettes means you will burn in Hell.”
And my personal favorite, “Hand-holding leads to fornication…” (if only, Brother Ross, if only) “and fornicators go to Hell.”
A summary of Jackson’s preaching could be given in in five words: You are going to Hell.
One of the most astounding things about the entire situation, I think, is the fact that he is given enough attention to continue preaching. Many students take pleasure in trying to have a conversation with Jackson about his religious beliefs, and still greater pleasure in Jackson’s yelling and condemning that ensues consequentially. A Youtube search can yield humorous results of students on other campuses trying in futility to engage Jackson in conversation. One ECU student even dressed up as Jesus of Nazareth before attempting to engage Jackson. Jackson didn’t find it quite as funny as I did, but he did seem to get much bolder with his predictions of future hellfire for crowd participants once “Jesus” was present.
Jackson seems to gain strength and boldness from the students here at UNCW who try to engage him as well. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that if UNCW students stopped paying attention to him, he may stop coming and spreading his message of hate. Of course, that’s not true. Jackson will still come. He and his partner Micah Armstrong visit more than 30 campuses along the East Coast regularly and consider it their mission to reach the students on all of the campuses they visit. However, his voice would be a lot less powerful if there weren’t any ears around to hear it.
UNCW cannot forbid him from coming to preach because to do so is unconstitutional. Jackson has a right to yell his version of the gospel as loudly as he can on campus, and I’m positive he will continue to do so. My hope is that UNCW students will begin to hold their theological conversations with more reasonable people, and in places that are far away from “Saint” Ross Jackson. (Personally, I recommend any place that serves alcohol.)