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The story behind SDSU’s street preacher

by Hutton Marshall

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Courtesy of Sarah Kovash

Courtesy of Sarah Kovash

Standing on San Diego State’s Free Speech Steps holding his large white sign, which read “God is Love / God Hates Sin,” Neal Konitshek is difficult to ignore.

Since 1988, the year he proclaims he was born again as a Christian, Konitshek has been “street preaching” full time in dense areas such as SDSU, UC San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter. After 23 years of preaching, he hasn’t seen behavior he would constitute as praiseworthy.

When asked about the most noticeable changes at SDSU throughout the years, he points to “A lot more drug use, partying and hardness of heart.”

These are problems Konitshek has personally struggled with throughout his life. Admitting to have been riddled with rage, drug abuse and materialistic greed, he said he partly owes his zeal for Evangelism to these problems.

“Had not God allowed me to go through that stuff, I wouldn’t been so self-sufficient. I would not have called out to him,” Konitshek said.

Despite this admitted vulnerability, Konitshek prides himself in his uncompromising message. Because of this, he doesn’t wish to associate himself with the “watered-down” preaching of organized churches. He feels 90 to 95 percent of modern churches are insincere because they present a more accessible message in order to gain members.

“We see all their (local churches’) people downtown drunk,” Konitshek said. “They tell me they love Jesus. Then I ask them, why are you paying $25 to go see naked women and throw beads at them and get drunk?”

On his online blog, he speaks about his preaching at the Gaslamp District during last year’s Halloween.

“The immorality gets worse every year and the crowd was massive,” Konitshek wrote. “Many Christians dressed as vampires, zombies, bikini dancers, etc. were warned and exhorted to turn from sin and walk in holiness.”

Some SDSU students don’t view Konitshek’s message as rigid and direct, but rather as antagonizing and aggressive. Psychology sophomore Monserat Hernandez felt verbally attacked by Konitshek after she was told her Christian faith and upbringing were “wrong.”

“I felt attacked,” she said. “Telling people that what they believe is wrong is not the way to spread a message. People just laugh at him.”

Interestingly, Konitshek feels atheists aren’t the ones who get in the way of his preaching.

“Biggest critics we have are the nominal Christians,” he said. “They only want to preach love and ignore the requirements of God. They’re hurting us more than the atheists.”

Despite his less-than-warm reception here at SDSU, Konitshek remains undiscouraged. In his view, the true path of righteousness is not an easy one and therefore not a popular one.

“Jesus said the way is narrow and difficult,” Konitshek said. “Wide is the gate that leads to destruction and many go in through it.”

Konitshek has never had any trouble with the police at SDSU. He manages business websites on the side and his wife works full time so he can preach full time. They are economically stable and have no reason to suspect that will change.

As for his popularity at SDSU, “They probably think I’m crazy and that I’m wasting my time, but it doesn’t bother me,” he said.

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22 Comments

22 Responses to “The story behind SDSU’s street preacher”

  1. Neil Konitshek on March 26th, 2011 11:11 pm

    What wasn’t mentioned in the article was my motivation for coming to campus. I come and preach because I truly believe God wants all to know that He loves all of mankind and made provision for anyone to be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Right now God is shaking the whole world to let people know Christ is coming again as promised. He desires NONE to PERISH but that all would repent and turn to Christ Jesus.

    BE READY!!! He is coming again!

    (not on May 21,2011 though as some falsely advertise)

    In His Love, Neil

    [Reply]

    Keith Cash Reply:

    Praying for you and your wife. I also Preach on the inner city streets of Pittsburgh Pa and you are 100% correct. The biggest hindrance to the work are “religious people” but we must press on with The only Message that cures man’s illness: The Gospel of Jesus The Christ… GOD bless you and keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

    Luke Reply:

    While Keith Cash will be praying for you, I’ll be doing your thinking for you. You obviously weren’t a very intelligent atheist/agnostic if you managed to fall under the spell of religion.

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    Look at what this insane pig is trying to do…

    [Reply]

  2. Neil Konitshek on March 27th, 2011 6:51 pm

    Just for the record, I haven’t been full-time preaching for 23 years. I have been saved 23 years though on Aprial 23, 1988. Praise Jesus! He saved me He can save you!

    [Reply]

  3. Satan on April 1st, 2011 3:33 pm

    Full time douche bag for 23 years.
    I’m sure Jesus really commends you for calling girls sluts as they pass by on their way to class. I don’t sit on YOUR front steps telling you what a dick you are so don’t come to my steps trying to preach lies. Leave campus it’s very clear that no one wants you here. I’m sure you will take this as “God testing your faith.” Please don’t. It’s just a normal person calling you out on your bullshit.

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    Never heard him call any girl a slut. You are telling lies.
    Also, normal people don’t call themselves “Satan.”

    Appreciate the free speech we have.

    “Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of thee and thy son, Jesus Christ.”

    -GEORGE WASHINGTON

    [Reply]

    Luke Reply:

    Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.
    ~GEORGE WASHINGTON

    Oh, and George Washington’s own minister knew he was a deist. He said it himself. Washington never took part in communion, either. He would step out when communion was served. The minister rebuked him for it, so from that day forward–instead of taking communion–he would not even attend on Sundays when communion was served.

    Oh, and one more thing. If George Washington ever uttered a prayer like that, it wouldn’t have included such explicit references to Jesus and might not have even used the word “god.”

    “The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity…. Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism.” ~The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson

    “George Washington’s conduct convinced most Americans that he was a good Christian, but those possessing first-hand knowledge of his religious convictions had reasons for doubt.” ~Barry Schwartz

    “Washington’s religious belief was that of the enlightenment: deism. He practically never used the word ‘God,’ preferring the more impersonal word ‘Providence.’ How little he visualized Providence in personal form is shown by the fact that he interchangeably applied to that force all three possible pronouns: he, she, and it.” ~James Thomas Flexner

    “That he was not just striking a popular attitude as a politician is revealed by the absence of of the usual Christian terms: he did not mention Christ or even use the word ‘God.’ Following the phraseology of the philosophical Deism he professed, he referred to ‘the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men,’ to ‘the benign parent of the human race.'” ~James Thomas Flexner

    “Unlike Thomas Jefferson — and Thomas Paine, for that matter — Washington never even got around to recording his belief that Christ was a great ethical teacher. His reticence on the subject was truly remarkable. Washington frequently alluded to Providence in his private correspondence. But the name of Christ, in any correspondence whatsoever, does not appear anywhere in his many letters to friends and associates throughout his life.” ~Paul F. Boller

    [Reply]

    Neil Konitshek Reply:

    I would never call anyone a slut or anything like that. You expect people to believe you with a name like “Satan”? Lol

    [Reply]

  4. christian on April 6th, 2011 10:25 am

    “If Jesus came back and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”
    –Woody Allen, from “Hannah and her Sisters.”

    [Reply]

  5. Lizzy on September 24th, 2011 7:31 pm

    I think he should stop “casting pearls before swine.” He’s been doing this for 23 years and it doesn’t seem like he’s getting any success from it. Take it some place where people actually might respond!

    [Reply]

    Luke Reply:

    Yes, I agree! Take it somewhere where the people are less educated and more gullible to his nonsense! Why do you think the disease of christianity is spreading so well in Africa and south east Asia?

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    The disease of Christianity? What part do you object to? Loving your neighbor as yourself, or doing unto others as you would have them do unto you?

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    How about the 11th century?

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    How do you know he hasn’t experienced any “success”? Have you followed him for 23 years?

    [Reply]

  6. FaultyTowerz on December 2nd, 2011 2:36 pm

    He also enjoys blackmailing people into confronting their parents over personal matters. Real ‘Jesus’ stuff from this nut.

    [Reply]

  7. Mike on December 2nd, 2011 4:11 pm

    Neil, I hope the man you are BLACKMAILING goes to the police and has you arrested. It is a crime. You are an asshole and a piece of shit for BLACKMAILING your friend’s son. You will rot in hell for this you self righteous bastard.

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    Police? For what? Tattle-telling? I guess you’re not an atheist and believe in hell?

    [Reply]

  8. Mike on December 2nd, 2011 4:11 pm

    Here’s your pal NEIL, BLACKMAILING a friend’s kid.

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    Since when is a father telling another father about his son blackmailing? News to you, but parents always tell other parents about their kids. Guess you need to be a parent to understand that… Besides, the kid is living off his folks while slamming what they believe behind their back. The kid needs to man up and tell his parents.

    [Reply]

  9. chucknoblet on December 2nd, 2011 4:38 pm

    Neil, what you are doing to Tim is terrible.

    [Reply]

    Neil Reply:

    Actually it turned out very well for Tim, as I thought it would. I know his parents and they are nice people and they wouldn’t disown him because he chooses not to believe in Christ. They are disappointed but we all have to make our own choices.

    [Reply]

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