Pastor Incites Debate Over Evolution, Sex and Sin

Shawn+Holes+and+Don+Karns+demonstrated+on+Britton+Plaza+for+nearly+six+hours+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+8.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Pastor Incites Debate Over Evolution, Sex and Sin

Shawn Holes and Don Karns demonstrated on Britton Plaza for nearly six hours on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Shawn Holes and Don Karns demonstrated on Britton Plaza for nearly six hours on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Rachael Franchini ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Shawn Holes and Don Karns demonstrated on Britton Plaza for nearly six hours on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Rachael Franchini ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Rachael Franchini ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Shawn Holes and Don Karns demonstrated on Britton Plaza for nearly six hours on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Rachael Franchini ’19, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Shawn Holes and Don Karns, two self-described preachers who came to the Dickinson campus on Tuesday midday to “talk and about Jesus Christ and how to get to heaven,” attracted the attention of students, faculty and community members, and sparked protests and emotional testimonies from students who opposed the message.

“We’re not out here making anyone believe, we’re not out here forcing people to believe, we’re telling you good news,” Holes maintained.

The pair held and displayed signs with messages such as, “Sin Awareness Day,” “Evolution is a Lie,” “The 23rd Chromosome Pair Determines Sexual Identity. Not Feelings, Appearance, Government or Behavior” and “Are You Right with God? Repent and Believe the Gospel.”

“When I first walked up, he was saying that rape was good, and that just because you read that rape is bad that doesn’t make it true…I don’t know where in the Bible it says that rape is okay, but I just find that really offensive,” said Jessica Donegan ’20.  “I want to yell at him but I know I have to respect his views so I’m just going to listen out of sheer curiosity.”

These controversial signs and messages elicited protests from the student body, who engaged with Holes and Karns by asking them questions, making signs and forming protest groups.

“The willingness of Dickinson students to have a conversation with him and stand up to him, to rally and make signs and question everything he was saying, that was pretty inspiring,” stated Norma Jean Park ’18.

Some of the signs made by students read: “Intelligent design and creationism are actual lies #I’mWithHer,” “You Tell My Rapist That I’d Have to Keep the Baby,” “Love is Love,” “I Have Sex with Women” and “Just Because I’m into Guys and Girls Doesn’t Mean I’m Going to Burn in Hell,” among several others.

As additional forms of protest, Duncan Hopkins ’19 and Adam Roger ’20 stood next to Holes while he was preaching and handed out condoms to students passing by, while Logan Hartlaub ’18 and Kevin Zhu ’17 pulled up a car on the road behind Holes and blasted “Same Love” by rapper Macklemore.

Dickinson Public Safety (DPS) Officer Erich Messerschmidt, who was observing the scene, stated “he [Holes] is a member of the community who decided to come out and preach…as long as he’s on the public sidewalk, and he’s not causing obstruction, being obnoxious [or] being rude…” he is within his rights to demonstrate.

Interim President Neil Weissman was also onlooking, and said, “He’s on public property…we encourage people to express their views whether we agree with them or not, as long as they do it lawfully and peacefully.”

Holes and Karns were on campus for nearly six hours on Tuesday.

“Resist the devil!” Holes exclaimed. “How many of you all have resisted the devil today? How many of you guys have been tempted by the devil today and have turned that temptation into sin?”

At one point, he shifted the conversation to the presidential election.

“People think that having a new president in this country is going to change things, it’s going to make things better…you guys, we’re going to have a new president as of tonight. I’ll tell you this, when he becomes the next president, that ain’t gonna make this country better…” When students interrupted him with choruses of “When she becomes the next president!”, Holes responded “No, Donald Trump is a he. When he becomes president it’s not gonna make things better in terms of your sin… the department of justice isn’t going to forgive your sin, the FBI, are you kidding me? These guys are corrupt. You have to realize that in Christ Jesus is how you get forgiveness of sin.”

“I know that people have the freedom to say whatever you want, [but] what disturbs me is that it’s just a terrible representation of Christians,” shared Donna Hughes, director of community service and religious life at the center for service, spirituality and social justice.  “Someone who’s a Christian and a pastor and cares about students on campus [speaking] that sort of hate-filled Christian rhetoric is just a really bad testimony so I think it shuts down people who could be open to faith…”

Holes also made comments condemning sexuality, sexual identity gender dysphoria and pre-marital sex.

“As someone who’s part of the LGBTQ+ community, I found his arguments about sexual identity and gender dysphoria extremely triggering and lacking substance,” stated Namir Saade ’18. “His comments on evolution were the best, completely discrediting most of what I’ve ever learnt at this school since I’m a biochemistry major. It is absurd since the Church (Vatican specifically) accepted evolution and interpreted creation (genesis 1:1) as a metaphor…It was just entertaining and sad at the same time.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email