‘Go to hell, creationists!’
A rowdy demonstration at a German university shows that ‘tolerance’ does not extend to creation and the Bible.
Published: 30 December 2008(GMT+10)
Information scientist, author and evangelist, Dr Werner Gitt, a close friend of CMI, told us that on 23 October 2008 he was subjected to the most strident opposition he had ever encountered.
The venue was the Audimax theatre at the Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany. Dr Gitt had been invited to give a lecture by the Forum Bibel-Glaube-Wissenschaft (Forum of Bible-Faith-Science). The talk was titled, ‘Why I as a scientist believe the Bible’.
The 600-seat auditorium was packed to overflowing for his address, with some seated in the aisles. Just as Werner was about to commence his lecture, he told us, about 40 students began to disrupt the event. Most were part of a large group at the back, while several individuals had positioned themselves strategically throughout the room.
‘The group at the rear unfurled two large banners’, said Werner. ‘One featured a foul-mouthed expression with the word “homophobe”, the other said, “Creationists, go to hell!”. They then started making a deafening noise, chanting and blowing party whistles.’
One of the students who had come to hear Dr Gitt got up and wrote in large letters half a metre (1.5 ft) high on to a long blackboard wall at the front of the room the words, ‘No, we’re going to heaven’.
Some of the organizers rang the police, and after about ten minutes of this ‘audio demonstration’, two officers turned up. They were unable to persuade the rabble-rousers, apparently associated with a leftist student body, to desist. Then three more police arrived, but the five of them were helpless to stop what was happening. ‘That seemed to embolden them—they felt they were strong enough to torpedo the whole event,’ said Werner, ‘and they just kept on with their ear-splitting racket.’ It was only after a much longer time, he explained, when about 20 more police arrived, that the visible group of troublemakers could be escorted out of the theatre. He was then able to begin his address, a full hour later than it was meant to be.
Asked by a German-language magazine how he had reacted, Werner replied, ‘We simply waited, not showing that we were in the slightest impressed, nor reacting fearfully. I’m glad that we held out and didn’t let the interlopers have the victory. I think they were surprised that we held out and didn’t falter. In spite of the one-hour delay, I was given the full time to present it.’
Did he ever feel personally threatened or afraid? ‘No, not really,’ said Werner. ‘It soon became clear that they were more about intimidation, rather than actually becoming violent or throwing things. In any case, in the days leading up to the lecture, we had already been told of substantial opposition, including attempts to block the talk from happening. This included pressure applied to the university administration. And posters were continually being torn down and having to be reposted, that sort of thing. So that meant we had many good friends praying earnestly for us. Ultimately, we’re all in God’s hands anyway—that thought gave me a real inner peace in the midst of that uncertain situation.’
Asked whether he had ever experienced the like in his many years of giving lectures both in his German homeland and overseas, Werner replied, ‘No, never. I’ve had some fairly hostile question times, but nothing like this. I suppose when they saw the title of my talk, it got to them. They probably searched the internet a bit and saw that for me, believing the Bible means believing the creation account in Genesis as well. So it looks as if they organized themselves to try to make sure others couldn’t hear it.’
Did the rabble-rousers succeed in discouraging anyone from listening? ‘To my amazement,’ said Werner, ‘nearly all of the audience stayed right throughout the hour-long delay, and then for the entire talk. In fact, they were completely silent and very attentive throughout the lecture.’ Werner indicated that this was particularly remarkable, given that the police had been unable to identify and remove those demonstrators who had previously planted themselves around the room and now blended in with the crowd
‘So they were there the whole time. Perhaps they were reluctant to give away their presence by making any noise,’ Werner said. ‘The end result was that, while it may not have been exactly totally voluntary, even these rebellious students heard the message of the saving Gospel. May the Lord make it effective in their hearts, too.’