Local preacher Rick Warzywak debates topics such as gay marriage, abortion with students outside Park Library
About 60 people surrounded a preacher visiting campus Sept. 19 outside the Charles V. Park Library in response to the anti-abortion and gay marriage messages he was projecting through signs and his preaching.
Rick Warzywak has been speaking on Central Michigan University’s campus about topics like gay marriage, abortion and God for more than 25 years. His comments have frequently caused controversy.
Tuesday's crowd was unplanned. Students began to stop after witnessing him banter at people passing.
Warzywak held a sign that read on one side, “Man + Woman = Marriage”, while the other side read “Abortion is Murder...a Holocaust in the Womb!”
This sparked argument and backlash from students in the crowd. People argued, one person saying it was “not his job to disrespect other people’s life choices or tell them how to make their life choices.”
Warzywak continued to repeat that he “just wanted people to think.” He held pamphlets that he attempted to hand out advertising campusreset.org, which Warzywak founded.
According to Campus Reset’s website, its mission is “to lead people to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as He is the only way.”
Muskegon freshman Breanna Johnson was leaving class Tuesday when she saw Warzywak standing outside the library, which prompted her to run home and make a sign that read “this guy sucks.”
She heard him yelling about opposing gay marriage and it didn’t resonate well with her. She challenged him by telling the crowd there are people on this campus who care and she is one of them.
“There’s been an uprise in statistics of suicide being a cause of death in America. It just kind of gives me chills,” Johnson said. “There’s going to be someone walking by that hears this guy talking about this that’s gonna feel like garbage because no one’s saying anything against (Warzywak).
“I didn’t want there to be silence. I wanted there to be someone against him so people know it’s safe and they’re loved and that they can be whoever they want and pursue whoever they want to be.”
Johnson said Warzywak talked at length about gay marriage, which he called “pedophilia.” He asked Johnson directly if she believed in God. When she responded yes, he said he doesn’t think she does.
Cadillac sophomore Sydney Belz was one of several students who confronted Warzywak —particularly about his stance against abortion.
Belz had walked past demonstrations against Warzywak is the past, but decided to confront him Tuesday when she saw the size of the crowd around him.
"He’s constantly here, and he makes people uncomfortable and angry,” Belz said. “If he wants to preach about God and religion that’s fine, but he needs to change the sign.”
Warzywak said before the crowd erupted he felt he was having good conversations and being productive with his mission. He said his main motive is “to get people to think that the Bible is true, and they would be challenged to investigate the evidence.”
“This is normal, I understand when people get angry like this, this is okay, it means their conscience is still working,” Warzywak said. “As to the people who just laugh and flip me off, I feel bad for them.”
He said he thinks he respects other people’s opinions, explaining at one time when preachers approached him he would tell them to “flip off”, until he decided to investigate their message further.
“I know at their age, I rejected it just as much as they’re rejecting it here,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m perfect in my responses all the time, because there’s so much activity going on, hearing people say this (and) say that, (but) I want to try to answer (questions) logically.
“God says even love your enemies, bless those who curse you. If I keep blessing those who are cursing me here, if I can love them even if they disagree and hate me, I’m still following His higher spiritual principle and it’s going to turn out OK.”