CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A black man who regularly preaches the gospel on the streets of Charlotte was pelted with everything from flour, soda, glitter and silly string on Saturday by protesters who were calling for justice for mistreated African Americans. The group was also captured on video engaging in collective chants of “cops killed Jesus” and “[expletive] your Jesus.”
Sam Bethea has been preaching in the open air for the past six years and has attended various demonstrations as an opportunity to declare the word of God. He previously had a lengthy criminal record, being arrested 29 times, and now wants to share the good news of salvation with the world after Christ saved him.
“I do it because God called me to the streets,” Bethea told WSOC-TV.
But last Monday, social justice protesters in the South End neighborhood of Charlotte didn’t appreciate Bethea “taking away from the message” that they were presenting outside the Republican National Convention. They sought to try to get him to stop talking about Jesus and holding a “Jesus saves” sign as it was a distraction to their cause.
“I’m trying to tell the young folks and all those protesting that He is the answer, you know? But they can’t feel it. They say the volume is too loud and they say I steal their platform and all,” he told Fox 46. “[But] if I was saying ‘black lives matter,’ [I’m sure] they wouldn’t tell me to shut up.”
The protesters began swearing at Bethea and soon also threw various items upon him. A photo shared online shows Bethea standing unflinched with his sign while having silly string stringing from his head and arm, as well as flour powdering his hat and sleeve.
He also showed WSOC his clothing that he wore that night, which was covered in a little of everything.
“[It’s got] flour; it’s got soda; it’s got juice. As you can see, they flour-bombed me,” he explained. “Throwing glitter in your eyes. I just thank God that it didn’t get in my eyes.”
“[Sam has] been a staple on the streets of Uptown Charlotte for years as he rides his bike and bellows, ‘I’ve got good news! Jesus saves!’ Everyone loves Sam. Until now. His message last night was met with eggs, flour, and silly string. This is just the beginning,” one post on social media read, calling Bethea their “hero.”
Bethea says that he will simply wash his clothes and hat and continue preaching the gospel as he had been before.
“The Lord saved me from that street life, and I’m so grateful. And that’s what He called me to do — come back to the street and tell the real story.”
Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Psalm 40:10 also states, “I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation. I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.”