Andrew Mendez/ Nevada Sagebrush
Campus Ministries USA members demonstrate on campus on Tuesday, April 2. CMUSA targeted students who identify as LGBT and told individuals they would go to Hell.

Editor’s note: This story has been reorganized since its original publication for clarification.

Update: Wednesday, April 3, at 4:39 p.m.:

Members of Campus Ministries USA were on campus again on Wednesday, April 3. The group continued to speak hateful comments against other religions and members of the LGBT community in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union, after doing so on Tuesday.   

Members of the student body spoke to the three CMUSA demonstrators and said their comments were inappropriate during both days they were on campus. Students watching the demonstration disagreed with the members of CMUSA, and several students protested the hateful comments by kissing in front of the CMUSA.

Hawaiian Club Vice President Wataru Hayashi began to promote other clubs and organizations who were tabeling outside of the Joe. Hayashi said he was trying to spread “positivity”.

“I didn’t want [CMUSA] hogging the spotlight,” Hayashi told the Nevada Sagebrush. “We are students on this campus, if the students are here to look at something they might as well look at what else the campus has to offer rather that what I would consider hate speech. I’d rather have the students enjoy something from other students. ”  

Director of Hillel of Northern Nevada Atty Garfinkel-Berry also was in the crowd.

“I find [one of the CMUSA members] to be lucid and calculating,” Garfinkel-Berry told the Nevada Sagebrush. “She’s deliberately trying to make herself appear crazy so that people will engage with her. She’s trying to pick a fight.”

Garfinkel-Berry felt the religious text used by CMUSA members, as it relates to the old testament of the Bible, had been used incorrectly.

“The text [one of the CMUSA members] is citing that are Jewish text, she’s misquoting them,” Garfinkel-Berry said. “ I find her to be comically annoying.”

CMUSA members announced to the crowd that they will be on campus for the remainder of the week.

Students affected by the event and comments are advised to seek help at the Counseling Center located on the fourth floor of the Pennington Student Achievement Center.

This is a developing story. Check back with the Nevada Sagebrush for more updates.

Original article 

Three members of Campus Ministries USA— Jed Smock, Myrna Bennett and Pat Noor —  rallied in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union on Tuesday, April 2, around 11 a.m. telling students they would “go to Hell” if they did not repent their sins and turn to God. The three members took turns speaking and were spouting hateful comments targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and spoke out against other religions they said are “false”.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, CMUSA was labeled as a hate group in 2018.

Bennett and Noor held signs saying “Hell is hot, don’t be a thot” and “Ask me why you deserve hell”.

Members of the student body gathered around the three individuals and began to retaliate back by telling the individuals the hateful comments said were inappropriate and have no place on campus.

Paulina Pride was present at the gathering and was targeted by the CMUSA members for her sexual orientation.

“They told me that I am a whore and that I need to pray the gay away,” Pride said. “They said I was good looking and I can get a man. They told me I am going to hell.”  

Pride said that what the CMUSA members were doing was not Christianity.

“It makes me laugh and they’re disgraceful,” Pride said. “They are just making a fool [out of] themselves and Christianity.”

University Police Services arrived to the scene and told students they were not legally allowed to remove the individuals from campus due to their First Amendment rights. Officers added if students felt uncomfortable and targeted there are campus resources available to them.

Bennett continued to call students out for their lifestyles and read bible verses to those present.

Associated Students of the University of Nevada Vice President-elect Nicole Flangas and President-elect Anthony Martinez walked by the demonstration advising students to not give them a platform.

“I was surprised to see the events unfolding,” Martinez said to the Nevada Sagebrush.  “I know we’ve [the university] had protesters before but it was unusual for me to see a large group of people surrounding one individual.”

Martinez advised students to not retaliate if they do not agree with them.

“I understand the need for retaliation, but at the same time this gives an individual a platform,” Martinez said. “I would really encourage students not to [retaliate]. It was very disheartening to see a lot of students impacted. I want them to know the university is here for them.”

According to the CMUSA website, they have made appearances at over 10 college campuses across the country. The website has tabs related to the “Pray the Gay Away” and “Marijuana and Schizophrenia”.

Students affected by the event and comments are advised to seek help at the Counseling Center located on the fourth floor of the Pennington Student Achievement Center.   

This is a developing story. Check back with the Nevada Sagebrush for more updates.

Andrew Mendez can be reached at or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.