Letter: Hate mongers abuse free speech - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letter: Hate mongers abuse free speech

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Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 10:09 am | Updated: 4:43 pm, Thu Apr 12, 2012.

I was invited to the Easter Pageant in Mesa. I was very sad to see people allowed to protest around this event. It sends a terrible message.

One man at the corner of Hobson and Main was offended when I told him I would not accept his pamphlet because I am an American and I believe in freedom of religion. He began to loudly proclaim a rather hateful diatribe about calling people to repentance who do not believe as he does — his “duty of love.”

I have my doubts that he does this in front of a Jewish synagogue or a Muslim mosque. In other words: he is targeting a group. That is essentially a hate crime.

One man was allowed to show his sign on the same side of the street as the Pageant. These actions reminded me of the Westboro group that protests funerals.

Hate messages are not needed.

Now, as someone who is proud to be an American, I do believe in their free speech. But I believe hate messages should be away from where people are obviously simply trying to peacefully enjoy an Easter message.

I bet he’d have been welcome to watch the pageant by the very people whose beliefs he protested. In fact, I’m sure of it.

Mike Burke


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