Footage of an American anti-abortion preacher being told to “shut up” by passengers on a packed Sydney train has gone viral online.
The three-minute clip, originally filmed in 2019, resurfaced again on Reddit this week where it has racked up tens of thousands of views.
Phillip Blair from Torch of Christ Ministries boarded the busy train at Martin Place on a Monday morning and began lecturing bemused commuters in the crammed space.
“Hello Sydney, allow me three minutes of your time if you don’t mind – I’m not here to offend anyone, I’m here to give you hope,” he says.
“We care more about saving the whales than we care about saving our unborn children.”
An argument is sparked when a man sitting nearby reading his book interrupts Mr Blair asking him to stop.
“Thanks, mate – thank you,” the man says.
“No, I’m not going to stop because I love you that much,” Mr Blair replies.
“You have no more right than anyone else on this bus [sic], just shut up,” the man says.
“Yeah, shut up,” another man standing up says.
Mr Blair continues preaching about Jesus Christ, before the man sitting down yells at him again.
“If you asked for our time we have the right to say no, we’re not giving it to you,” he says. “Why won’t you just shut up?”
“Because I love you that much,” Mr Blair replies. “Repent Sydney for your sin. Repent before it’s too late. There is power in the name of Jesus to save your life.”
The man tells the preacher, “I’m not forcing my opinion on everyone in this train, so why don’t you just take your opinion and keep it to yourself?”
“It’s not an opinion it’s the truth,” Mr Blair says.
He continues ranting to the passengers about sin.
Asked why he won’t keep his opinion to himself, Mr Blair replies, “Because I care about your soul. I love you.”
“I don’t care if you love me! I don’t know you,” the man replies.
“It’s a selfish world and you need to repent,” Mr Blair says.
“Who’s the selfish one here mate?” the passenger says.
“Who’s the one who won’t shut up with their opinion? How selfish is that? You’re the selfish one because you won’t shut up. Can you not see that? You’re forcing your opinion on everyone in this train. We are asking you to shut the f**k up.”
The train then erupts with cheers.
A woman chimes in towards the end of the video, “Shut up, you sound like such a d***head.”
In the video intro, Mr Blair wrote, “I always do my best to show godly love. Hearts in Australia have become hardened in a way I’ve never seen. My soul was very grieved by what happened on this train.”
The preacher received a similarly frosty reception from Sydneysiders in other videos filmed around the CBD.
Malcolm Frawley, the passenger dubbed “book man”, later spoke to The Project to reveal why he felt the need to stand up to Mr Blair.
“I think the trigger for me was hearing this loud voice start to talk about our unborn children,” Mr Frawley said.
“And I wondered whether there might be some women in that carriage who might not be interested in a conversation about unborn children that was being conducted by a man. But for me faith is a personal, maybe even private thing. If you or I wanted to sit down over a coffee or beer and discuss our beliefs that might be fine but I don’t want them inflicted on me, in public, when I’m trying to read a book.”
According to his YouTube channel, Mr Blair has since returned to the US.
In a recent video, Mr Blair says he received a court attendance notice for preaching in Times Square, New York.
World reacts to footage of Aussies confronting US preacher
Viewers were quick to condemn the preacher for his actions as the footage went viral on the hugely popular ‘PublicFreakout’ Reddit thread this week.
“An American preaching to Aussies how to live a good life in a society that is 1000x fairer, safer, happier and better than any American society,” observed one man.
“Aussies don’t call themselves Christians but they happen to live by Christian principles of charity, compassion and acceptance. The complete opposite of most American Christians.”
“He knows that on the street people can decide whether or not they can listen to his crap. On the train they don’t have a choice – they are basically his hostages,” added another.
“He’s dripping with American exceptionalism. The entitlement of thinking you can go to foreign lands and preach to a captive audience. All while ignoring local customs.” wrote a third.
Others praised the commuter reading a book for his no-nonsense response to the preacher, affectionately dubbing him “Australian George Lucas”.