Letters to the editor – Saturday (7-2-2011)
Event participants, protesters both had a right to be there
Several things have intrigued me since last Saturday’s gay pride celebration.
First, the letters to the Post. It seems that around half of them have been from outside Salisbury, criticizing our city officials and indeed our city from tolerating such an event. Since these people don’t live here or pay taxes here, I would suggest they stay home and mind their own business. We in Salisbury are quite capable of handling our affairs without their “assistance.”
Secondly, none of the writers understood either the Constitution of the United States or North Carolina, both of which guarantee the right of people to freely assemble. Nor did they understand the process and requirements for obtaining a street permit. These require only that liability insurance be obtained, that the event be adequately described and that sufficient off-duty police be hired to maintain public order. Any restrictions on celebrations of particular beliefs or lifestyles are not allowed. In short, the Salisbury Police Department did what it was supposed to do by issuing the permit once the requirements were met. It also issued a similar permit to a group of protesters to gather across Main Street.
Finally, the so-called “street preachers.” My observation of these men was that they were poor examples of Christ’s teaching of love. Screaming that parents were child abusers for bringing children to the event, or that passers-by were going to hell is not in the Christian tradition. That is in a tradition of hatred and bigotry, not love and persuasion.
I am neither advocating nor condemning the homosexual lifestyle. I am merely asking for two things: first, that those outside our city keep their opinions to themselves (or move here and pay our taxes); and second, that everyone respect the rights of others, particularly when they disagree with the beliefs and practices of others.
— Jack Burke