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From love-ins to concerts to council meetings, Bobby Bible Eagle makes his point

September 25, 1986|RALPH CIPRIANO | Times Staff Writer

Rock fans doused him with beer and pelted him with bottles outside the Long Beach Arena.

A police officer whacked him with a baton during a riot at the recent Ocean Pacific Pro Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach.

An occasional sudsy shower and a few welts, however, are all in the line of duty for Pastor Bobby Bible Eagle, a street preacher and leader of what he calls the Christian Defense League.

Bible Eagle, 50, is the politically involved pastor of the 13-member Christian Brothers Church in Long Beach, which he described as a "Jerry Falwell, right-wing Baptist, fundamental, orthodox, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, 'born-again,' Moral Majority, Christian Protestant" church.

For more than 20 years, Bible Eagle said, he has been proselytizing at concerts, parades, demonstrations and festivals throughout Southern California, beginning in the 1960s with the love-ins at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

In the service of the Lord, Bible Eagle said, he was chased and clubbed with lead pipes by parading members of the Krishna sect in Santa Monica, denounced as a fascist by gay marchers in Long Beach, and flashed by porno actresses outside the annual Erotic Film Awards in Los Angeles.

In Long Beach, Bible Eagle has become a familiar sight to Lt. Ken Schack, who heads the police's special events section.

"He goes to all the controversial events that he considers non-Christian," Schack said.

Bible Eagle customarily wears a black cap that says "Repent," and a "Jesus Saves from Hell" sweat shirt. He drives a white van adorned with a painting of flames underneath the warning "Repent or Perish, Jesus Saves Sinners from Hell."

"I give him credit for chutzpah for standing in front of people who could literally take him apart," Schack said. "He will get nose to nose with them."

Shack said he has seen Bible Eagle proselytize at countless public events such as the Long Beach Grand Prix. Bible Eagle was also at the gay pride parade in May, Shack said, accompanied by two men wearing T-shirts decorated with swastikas and the face of Adolph Hitler.

Bible Eagle said the two men, who are not members of his church, asked if they could stand with him to protest the gay marchers.

Bible Eagle said he told them," 'Sure, the more the merrier.' " But Bible Eagle said he does not support the National Socialist Party, of which the two are members.

And more recently, Bible Eagle has taken to addressing the Long Beach City Council during the public comment portion of its meetings. On Aug. 17, he told them that the riot at the Long Beach Arena, in which 40 people were injured during a rap music concert, was symptomatic of a deep problem with today's youth that cannot be solved by spending more money or hiring more police.

Young people are using drugs and alcohol and rioting because they are "not receiving the quenching powers of the Holy Spirit," Bible Eagle told the council.

Last week, Bible Eagle again addressed the council, speaking in favor of a proposal to create a citizens task force to study the problems of the city's homeless.

Bible Eagle's overtures to the city's politicians go beyond his addressing the council. Last week, Bible Eagle invited recently elected Councilman Clarence Smith to a meeting of a new group in Lakewood that calls itself the Evangelical Ministers Fellowship of Greater Long Beach. Smith went to the meeting because Bible Eagle is a pastor who lives in his district, Smith said.

At the meeting, Smith said, he was asked about his stands on abortion and the gay pride parade, and told the small group that he supports the legal right to an abortion and the right of gays to demonstrate.

Bible Eagle, in his continuing efforts to spread the gospel and redemption, last month took his crusade to the surfers at Huntington Beach. He saw the surf championships as another example of Southern California hedonism, and another place where the Lord's word should be spread.

That Aug. 31 celebration ended in a riot in which 30 beachgoers and 10 police officers were injured, 22 people arrested, and five police vehicles destroyed.

Even though he said he was struck with a baton by police, Bible Eagle added that he does not blame police for the violence. "The kids were outrageous with their drinking, their lusting in the flesh for these young girls," he said.

Before the riot started, Bible Eagle said, he held up a two-foot-high ceramic crucifix and told surfers through a bullhorn that "Jesus Christ died for you so that you might live forever. What are you doing to show your appreciation out here, drinking and checking out the women?"

Bible Eagle said he addresses his preaching to men because "I haven't met too many women who have got it together." As a celibate pastor, Bible Eagle said, he finds women are a temptation and "a distraction to me."

Bible Eagle is a strong supporter of President Reagan, whom he calls "Brother Reagan." He also supports an American military buildup against the communists, who he said are "knocking off one country after another" since America pulled out of Vietnam.

"God's people have always been a warring people," he said, adding, "We (church members) love the Army, Navy and Marines. We don't like the communists."

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