Traveling ‘evangelist’ draws frustrated students, public safety


NOTE: We apologize for the timeliness and late delivery of this article due to technical issues and other delays.

Students gathered to see what the big deal was on a Thursday afternoon. Photo by Andrew Smith

Daniel John Lee, traveling campus preacher and QAnon conspiracist, was met with loud opposition Thursday, Sept. 21, as he planted himself in Milo Bail Plaza, outside the student center, for over four hours.

Lee quickly drew a crowd around 11:00 a.m. when he started spreading his views on feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, religion and more.

“I can judge you because I’m not a sinner,” said Lee. “I used to sin, but I don’t sin anymore,” Lee said to a crowd of students.

Students came in droves and packed the plaza to witness the commotion and participate in the dialogue. Lee bore a large banner bearing warnings to 18 groups of people.

Public safety officers confront Daniel John Lee while he brandishes a banner warning fornicators, adulterers, sodomites and many more groups. Photo by Andrew Smith

“Telling students they’re gonna go to hell, it seems kind of bizarre they’re allowing that,” Olivia Dendinger, UNO student, said. “I think everyone belongs in one of those groups.”

Numerous Department of Public Safety officers arrived around ten minutes into Lee’s back-and-forth yelling with students.

“UNO’s Department of Public Safety made contact with the speaker to ensure their conduct aligned with these policies while ensuring they were able to exercise their constitutional right in a public space,” University of Nebraska at Omaha officials stated.

One public safety officer on the scene claimed the presence of officers was only in case a fight broke out. Lee’s footage shows a confrontation with multiple officers who stated Lee would need to leave if he continued to cause a disturbance.

“It’s not the right way to address college students. He should spread the message of peace with peace,” Vincent Lukadi, UNO student, said.

Nebraska Board of Regents policy states explicitly:

“The preservation of freedom of speech, and the recognition of the right to peaceful demonstration as part of that freedom, is possible only in an orderly environment in which individuals are not endangered by force or violence and in which they are free from coercion and interference in the exercise of their rights or in carrying out their legitimate activities.”

In 2011, The Oregonian reported Lee’s arrest in Alaska after Lee had violated a restraining order, resisted arrest and posted violent remarks online regarding officials in an Oregon county.

Lee claims this form of preaching to be his full-time job and admits he makes a living off donations from his followers and viewers on the predominantly right-wing video hosting platform Rumble.

“I think that the way that he kind of presents himself, you know, it’s just that he’s looking for conflict,” Jonah Holstein, UNO criminal justice major and Christian, said. “I understand the message that he thinks he’s getting across, but you don’t say that message and then have giant flames as the background of your little paper.”

Members of the Women and Gender Equity Center resisted the messaging and brought out a loudspeaker and materials to disrupt Lee.

“People don’t need to listen to the hate he’s spread because it’s just not true. We’re spreading inclusivity over here,” Zoe Miller, WGEC Director, said.

Lee has visited and filmed at several colleges in the region, stopping at the University of Colorado, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska Lincoln all in the last few weeks.