I was distracted by the crowds for a moment before I noticed that a woman was standing directly in front of Marcos, yelling at him. I approached her and asked her to step away from the speaker as she was pulling at his arm. Marcos was perched on a narrow footstool to give himself some elevation, and I was concerned she would pull him down or push him over.
“Ma’am,” I said, ” I’m the team leader. If you have an issue, you can address it with me,”
She ignored me and continued to shout loudly at Marcos, pulling on his arm. A New Orleans police officer approached her.
Now an approaching police officer is always a sign that a conversation is about to ensue. I stood back for a moment presuming that the animated woman, clearly aware of the officer, would cease her efforts to unperch Marcos.
To my amazement, however, the woman raised her hand to the officer to keep him away! He looked at her like a cow looking at a new gate, and I realized that he was considering which of a dozen different charges he might level against the verbose challenger. I thought to myself, “This is going to end badly.”
I quickly stepped in front of the woman and gently moved her away from Marcos. I asked her why she was so upset.
“I’m a Christian,” she said. “And my Jesus doesn’t preach hate!”
Now I had overheard her expletive-filled comments to Marcos, which prompted me to doubt her profession of faith.
“Really?” I said. “So why are you so upset? My friend is just warning people of what happens if they should die in their sins. You don’t object to that, do you?”
Clearly she did. “My Jesus is a god of love! He doesn’t tell people they’re going to hell!” (I used the lower case ‘g’ for reference to “her Jesus” since she obviously had contrived a deity she was comfortable with.)
“If you’re a Christian,” I asked, “shouldn’t you be grateful that someone is preaching Christ to such a large group?” I used my reasonable voice, usually reserved for people who profess to love Christ and His people, and those with serious questions about eternal matters. In this case, it was more for the police officer who was still pondering the woman’s immediate fate.