Bowman, the bronze University of Kentucky wildcat, got a snout full of free speech Tuesday afternoon when a religious group used his pedestal to argue with UK students about who, exactly, is going to hell.
Much of the proselytizing was drowned out by the dulcet tones of senior Max Spradlin, who calmly read aloud from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with the aid of a microphone. Spradlin had heard the fundamentalist fervor of the group on Monday and decided to fight back.
“When someone is so entrenched in their own dogma, I choose to circle them with love and friendship like this, rather than engage in their silly rhetoric,” Spradlin said.
Some of his fellow students took a different approach, however, engaging in spirited arguments over the real meaning of Scripture.
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“We want people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ,” said Joshua Lovell of Living Stones Fellowship in Columbia, who was holding a sign that said “Warning. Atheist, Drunk, Liar, Thief, Sexual Pervert, Religious Hypocrite. Hell Forever.” It referenced 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, which says “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men not thieves not the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The area across the street from Memorial Coliseum, which is fronted by Bowman the Bronze, is an informal free speech area where the public is allowed to gather, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton.