The Phoenix New Times just published an article on a guy who I know from Mill Avenue. Omar Call Preaches Atheism on Tempe's Mill Avenue by Niki D’Andrea.
He's carrying a white megaphone and wearing a shiny silver-metal backpack that resembles a vacuum cleaner — an example of the "industrial design" he loves so much.
A couple of people ask if he's going to "fire up the jetpack" and fly away.
But more ask about the big, black sign that reads "Damn God America" in gold block letters.
Usually, street preachers share the word of God. For the past several years on Mill, you haven't been able to walk from one bar to another without tripping over someone sharing the love of Christ through an amplifier or a stack of Bible tracts.
But this blue velvet guy is a different kind of preacher. He's a devout non-believer, and he preaches atheism.
I’ve seen him out on the Ave since last year; I met him the first time right before Yule as well, which means that I’ve seen him out there for almost exactly a year now. He’s definitely an interesting presence with his sign that says: DAMN GOD AMERICA.
Other things that he’s done has included dressing up as the Christian god, YHVH, holding a sign saying, “I quit.” He has quite the ensemble and often wields pithy phrases with gusto.
Omar is a soft spoken, well versed person who promotes positive atheism and a dialogue with passersby about the behavior of the street preachers. I have never had much of a chance to talk at length with him, but thespian types are exactly the kind of person that I want visiting the Ave.
After his first appearance on Christmas day, he started to return to Mill intermittently now and again and had talks with Kazz. Since he’s become part of the ecology of the Ave he sometimes makes it into my anthropological observations.
He is always well dressed, carrying a white bull horn, it hasn’t been until this year that he’s begun to wear that interesting metal backpack that does indeed look like a rocket pack.
Link, via the Phoenix New Times.
The folks over at BetterThanFaith.com have posted their own reactions to the New Times article about Omar Call. Ostensibly to correct irregularities of fact in the information published by the New Times.