EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) - Some students and faculty at SIUE want a controversial preacher to no longer be allowed to preach on campus.
Preacher Tom Rayborn travels from his church in Alton to preach in a free speech zone at SIUE every Wednesday, something he has done for six years. However, some say his words are offensive and cross the line.
“The gospel will offend you, it's meant to offend you,” said Rayborn.
Rachel Levan listened to Rayborn preach for more than an hour. She and other protesters said Rayborn has made statements in the past including “Catholicism is an abomination” and “LGBTQ are less than human.”
“It just makes me feel uncomfortable and it doesn’t make me feel welcome,” Levan said.
Vice Chancellor of Administration Rich Walker oversees the school’s free speech policy. He has listened to three hours of Rayborn’s sermons and said it is important to teach students to listen to someone else’s words and challenge them if they disagree.
The university said Rayborn is within his First Amendment rights. His last day on campus for the fall semester was Wednesday. He will return for the spring semester.