You may have seen Buddy Fisher out and about at various festivals in the Charlotte area.
He’s the guy often holding a 10-foot sign or on a bullhorn telling you that you’re going to hell for myriad reasons. Passersby will find he’s more than willing to engage on the streets but I had the unique opportunity of catching up with him off the bullhorn and on the phone.
You can find him speaking publicly at places such as Taste of Charlotte, Speed Street, random beer festivals, concerts, gay pride festivals, college campuses and other public gatherings. He refers to his public speaking as preaching, not protesting.
He’ll also ‘preach’ outside of churches – to church patrons – as they enter or exit a different sermon.
I met Fisher protesting at a local beer festival a few months ago and shot images last weekend at the Pride Festival in Uptown.
Here’s a look at Fisher
Fisher’s ideology is the basis for his protesting. The SCOTUS’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide is a hot-button issue for him and a timely one here in his protesting zone given Charlotte’s record-breaking Pride Festival last week.
Here’s what he thinks about it:
(Note: These are Fisher’s views and not those of Charlotte Agenda or the writer.)
Fisher feels homosexuality is a choice and that homosexuals are going to hell. He equates becoming a homosexual to the likes of becoming a meth head. Fisher feels that meth addicted people don’t just jump in and start smoking meth, rather they start out slow, on easier drugs, and work up to harder drugs. Similarly, he believes that homosexuals also begin this way, on a slippery slope to sexual ‘deviance’.
Fisher hasn’t always stood on a corner and yelled at you that you were going to hell.
When he attended college he admits to enjoying many of the normal college ritual activities. But due to a death of a family member he felt ‘called’ to do something different. He describes himself as a planter – not a farmer. That is to say his goal is to plant a seed so that you may see religion from his viewpoint whether you want to or not.
And make no mistake, Buddy Fisher wants his rhetoric to be aggressive.
When he’s yelling at you and telling you you’re going to hell as you try to enjoy a beer festival, rock show, or Taste of Charlotte, it’s his way of starting a conversation (albeit a conversation where he talks louder).
His YouTube Channel (and yes, he is often filming you) shows him yelling over questions from onlookers that have different views. Those conversations aren’t without consequences. He’s been pushed and shoved, had his equipment broken and even had a knife pulled on him.
He considers that just a part of the job.
Buddy Fisher says he went to college where he received a business degree and holds a professional job – somewhere. His Facebook page lists that he is from Chardon, Ohio and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He didn’t attend seminary, or as he calls it ‘cemetery’.
He isn’t talking about his job or where he currently lives – only that it is outside of Charlotte. He said, “Any number of people would try to come and burn down my house.”
Fisher describes himself as a normal nice guy who lives in the suburbs with two kids, a wife, a dog, and a cat.
“I know that people think we look like lunatics out there holding signs.” – Buddy Fisher
When you talk to Fisher, as I did on the phone and away from the bullhorn, he carries on an educated, ‘casual’ conversation heavy on bible verses. You can tell that Fisher believes in what he’s doing even if it means that people will hate him (and if you watch his videos – it’s fairly clear that some people do).
He points out that he doesn’t hate anyone or any specific group of people.
Videos: (Note – some include foul language)
He seems to truly indulge in the aggressive side of his public speaking. Yelling over people, yelling at people, and telling a person that they are going to hell appears to energize Fisher.
He admits that the boring side of his public speaking doesn’t make his videos or YouTube Channel. His aggressive rhetoric is carefully chosen. Fisher often refuses to step down and appears to remain verbally aggressive when challenged. He seems to enjoy pushing people’s buttons so that they lash out at him. If you view several of his videos, you will hear many of the same lines.
Example: Girls: some of you are marginally attractive and guys may buy you a few drinks but it’s not because they like you – it’s so they can sleep with you.
He is fishing… Fishing for those onlookers that will step up and argue with him because it draws more attention. If no one argues with him – he’s just a guy standing on the corner with a sign and bullhorn – talking to himself.
Knowing how to engage – should you decide to – is as important as if you engage with Fisher.
While many may not support Fisher’s views, he and his loose-knit band of protestors are a part of Charlotte’s fabric and are assuredly a part of many Charlotte social events and festivals (although uninvited).
So meet your local religious protester. He wants to engage with you – do you want to engage back?
Have you interacted with a protester recently? Have you been a protester? Tweet me @thatCBeck.