Passersby the normally-desolate Hewitt Quad Wednesday witnessed a seasonal appearance by a religious advocate who’s message left some of them searing.
A local man, Jim Deferio, used simple tools like 10-foot-tall signs and a leather-bound bible to liven up the barren concrete field and spread his version of Christianity—whether students wanted to hear it or not.
Deferio is no stranger to controversy: he makes an appearance in Hewitt Quad at least one every fall. He’s been traveling to campuses across the country full time for seven years now, and has even made it as far as California. His mission is to promote Christianity, which he said has been distorted by Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, those who practice yoga, and homosexuals.
"My motivation is to get people to think and challenge them," the holy man said. "It’s a sowing a reaping ministry."
While Deferio said that he does not take donations, he would not comment on where the money to finance his operation comes from.
He added that some campuses are better to preach at than others. Deferio said he prefers SUNY Buffalo where he can show up without a permit and is allowed to use a megaphone. He characterized the students there as intelligent and receptive to his message.
"Places where it’s harder to find intelligence are [SUNY] Fredonia and Purchase," he said. "Those are art campuses… they’re touchy feely."