Annoying street preachers, or campus preachers, are not just an American phenomenon. A very loud and and stroppy one was rightly interrupted by a lone piper on the streets of St. Andrews, Scotland (h/t: Raw Story):
I lived in St. Andrews for three years between 1992 and 1995 while doing my first graduate degree. In fact my second year there I lived in a flat about a block down Market Street to the west from where this happened. At that time we had a husband and wife team of street preachers. They would also knock on doors as well. At one point they were banned from British Airways. They would purchase round trip shuttle flights back and forth between Edinburgh and London and in the 20 minutes or so one could walk around, they’d go up and down the aisles and preach. I can’t recall if they were banned from British Rail as well.
They had a little storefront church about half a block east of the fountain on Market Street – if I remember correctly. Most people I knew basically tolerated them. And I don’t remember anything much about homophobic preaching, just trying to get everyone to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. The reason for most of the tolerance is that they came to that version of their faith, and this burning drive to evangelize, because of a tragedy. One of their children died before baptism and they were convinced that meant their child was suffering an eternity in Hell. They wanted everyone to be saved so no one else would suffer the same fate as their child.**
I remember the first time I met them. The wife had knocked on my door and when I opened it she started asking if I knew about Jesus. I politely explained that I was Jewish. This did not get rid of her… So we had a very polite chat and she went on her way. I always felt a bit sad for her and her husband whenever I saw them. It always seemed to me that people often make their lives a living hell in the attempt to escape the literal Hell they believe in.
* Scots, wha hae is a nationalistic song written by Robert Burns – the Bard of Scotland. It, along with Scotland the Brave (being piped by the braw lad in the video) and the Flower of Scotland, is considered to be an unofficial national anthem for Scotland. I’m quite partial to the Kingdom Folk Band’s version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9so_OV1jvU
** I apologize for being vague, but after 20 years I can’t recall if it was their daughter or their son. Either way, no parent should have to go through that. I am pretty certain I’ve been in the flat where the video was taken from.