Reverend Wilkerson Debates Preachers About Drugs

About This Item

KTVU News footage from December 7th 1967 featuring a live debate in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district between Reverend David Wilkerson and four more 'radical' preachers (two are later referred to as "Ted and Steve"), which attempts to focus on the issue of religion and hallucinogenic drugs. However, Wilkerson's first question after the clapperboard is confrontational: "From what I hear, you fellas seem to be telling these young people that they can have Christ and still have their LSD, have their pot." The four men immediately take umbrage with his line of questoning and retort: "You haven't been listening!" One of them goes on to address the camera and claims: "You know what this guy told us? He told us that this wasn't rigged. That he was going to give us a straight interview of some kind. And he's deliberately loaded his questions to stimulate a reaction from us, instead of ask what we think." This lively, spontaneous, free-form debate illustrates how different styles of ministry can generate frustration and confusion amongst parties who claim to share the same goals. Wilkerson is adamant that: "You cannot enter the kingdom of God and still smoke pot and take LSD. You can't do it!" Everyone else is trying to steer the debate in a different direction. Eventually many people move into the shot from all over the room and Wilkerson is obliged to admit "We gotta wrap up." Afterwards, reporter Claud Mann interviews "Dan" who points out that what we've just witnessed is essentially a failure to communicate. Ends with views of Mann interviewing Wilkerson on the street, who explains why he feels so angry about the issue of drugs: "I'm tired of these Bob Dylan preachers ... that's the trouble with Haight Ashbury. We need more ministers down there preaching that these kids can clean up. They aren't cleaning up anybody." He goes on to explain the problem he sees with "permissive" attitudes in his latest book 'Parents on Trial: Why Kids Go Wrong - Or Right'. Note that Mann refers to it as "Why Our Children Go Wrong or Right?"

Type of material
archival newsfilm
16mm b&w, magnetic sound film
Rights for this video belong to
Cox Enterprises Inc/KTVU
Date aired
Originally aired on
KTVU 23-10

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