Malcolm Frawley, dubbed “book man” because he was reading when he confronted American evangelist Phillip Blair, told The Project on Sunday he felt compelled to address the “intrusion”.
“I think the trigger for me was hearing this loud voice start to talk about our unborn children. 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,” Mr Frawley said.
“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.”
Vision of Mr Blair loudly preaching about abortion on the packed Sydney train carriage last week went viral on Friday. He can be heard addressing the carriage, “Hello Sydney, allow me three minutes of your time, if you don’t mind”.
“We care more about saving the whales than we care about saving our unborn children,” he began.
But as he continued, Mr Frawley can be heard interjecting, “Yeah, thanks mate, thank you”.
Mr Blair looks shocked at the interruption, but carries on, “Nope I’m not gonna stop because I love you that much. We have to return to living in a moral way.”
But Mr Frawley interjected again. “We don’t have to return to anything. You have no more right to anything more than anyone on this (train). Just shut up.”
Mr Frawley was supported by others on the train.
“Yeah shut up,” another train passenger said.
Mr Blair looked taken aback, yelling, “No” before he began reprimanding the Sydney travellers, calling them selfish, telling them they “need to repent”.
“Repent Sydney,” Mr Blair screamed desperately at one point.
As the train ride continued, Mr Blair tried preaching his message, but different passengers continued interjecting and telling him to “shut up”. As the six-minute clip continues, Mr Frawley and the preacher get into a heated argument.
Mr Blair, wearing a Nike T-shirt, continues ranting, telling the commuters they’re consumerists who are obsessed with money and are too selfish.
“Who is the selfish one here mate? Who is the one who won’t shut up with their opinions?” Mr Frawley yelled back, a comment met with rapturous applause by fellow commuters.
Mr Frawley told The Project last night he felt compelled to speak up because the rant was an “intrusion”.
“It was not about his faith in particular. I teach acting at a Christian college and I love that. And I teach acting at the secular Sydney Theatre School, and I love that too,” Mr Frawley said.
“I work professionally with Christian people, and Muslim people and Jewish people and atheist people and you know what? They’re all people. And I don’t seem to have a problem with any of them.”
Mr Frawley said the one thing he regretted about his argument with Mr Blair was swearing. “I know many people find profanity upsetting,” he said.
Phillip Blair is an American evangelist who is on a tour of Australia, spreading the Torch of Christ word of “taking Christ to dark places”.
He uploads clips of himself to social media and is often seen having altercations with locals. He says he is shocked at the “hardened hearts” he encounters after screaming Christian fundamentalist rhetoric in public places.
In a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, he wanders aimlessly around Martin Place in Sydney and at one point singles out a man in a wheelchair, pointing at him and saying, “You’re in a wheelchair. God could touch you but you’re too bitter to ask him for help.”
A florist quickly comes to the man’s defence, in a brilliant exchange, before a tradie watching on also turns around to take a swipe at Mr Blair.
Mr Blair does, however, have a strong group of supporters who cheer him on for the preaching work he does and the character it takes to do so loudly in the middle of crowded places.
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