Santi Elijah Holley is a writer and journalist in Portland, Ore. His work can be found at, or follow him on Twitter @SantiHolley.

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Cruel Messengers: The Street Preaching Industry

by Santi Elijah Holley 12-10-2018

Erin Alexis Randolph /

In late September, about 20 men and women sat on folding chairs on the back patio of a large, colonial house in Ohio. The youngest in the group were in their mid-20s; the oldest were in their 70s and 80s. They’d traveled from New York, Nevada, Montana, California, as far as away as Calgary, Canada, to this small city 38 miles northeast of Cincinnati. Many of them wore bright yellow T-shirts with bold red letters that read “JESUS SAVES” or “TRUST JESUS,” and they sat facing a makeshift pulpit, decorated with signs reading “HEAVEN OR HELL?” and “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD."