Stories are starting to emerge about a certain guy who can hand out stacks of gospel tracts in minutes flat. “He had a stack this big,” they say, “and he came back in fifteen minutes empty-handed!” “No,” another would say. “He had a stack this big…” Craig DeLisle is nick-named, “The Animal,” because of his aggressive style and expertise at passing out million dollar bills. But, he made an enemy yesterday at “The Fourth of July Celebration” at Wilson Park in Torrance, where our church had another not-so-covert evangelism booth.
An over-zealous Park Ranger was severely perturbed that Craig was handing these tracts out and “bothering” the picnickers. He pursued him relentlessly, but never caught up to him. Though we were granted permission to pass out these gospel messages, this Ranger was unaware—or didn’t care—about our First Ammendment rights to do this on public property. I received a panicked call on my cellphone, “They said we can’t go around handing out million dollar bills anymore!” “Who said?” I asked, slightly irritated. “This Park Ranger. There’s one guy in particular that he’s after.” “Who?” “I think it’s Craig, The Animal. They said Hope Chapel will not be allowed to participate next year if we continue…” I was agitated now. “Doesn’t he know that it’s our right to hand out printed literature in a public space? If he harasses you, ask to speak to his superior. Then ask them to show you where it says we can’t do this.”
I rushed down there ninety minutes later to find out that “The Animal” was a fugitive. “The Ranger caught Craig and told him to follow him to the booth where they would straighten all this out; but Craig gave him the slip and continued passing out tracts!” I reassured the worried person that it was okay and that everyone should continue to hand out the millions. If push came to shove, we would back down quietly and respectfully.
I saw Craig and asked him if what they were saying was true. He confirmed that he had given the Ranger the slip, but was caught a second time. “He asked me to follow him down to the booth again so we could all talk it over. As he made a right to go to the booth, I made a left and lost him.”
We handed out over 5,000 gospel tracts on the Day that we celebrate freedom from tyranny.