quoth alpasia: honey, preach to the choir and leave me the hell alone!!
I have been considering writing an editorial to The Greenville News this week, but decided instead to blog. There was an article in the paper this weeks regarding a “street preacher” who was arrested for “harrassing and molesting passersby.” You may find the article here.
I had a very personal experience two years ago at Fall for Greenville where a group of so-called street preachers from Rosetta GA, the self-named the Sons of Thundr, singled my partner and I out and made a very direct and harrassing comment to us. It sucked! I had, at that time, lived in Greenville with no issues regarding my sexuality. But here, where I am spending my money and promoting a downtown event, I was harrassed for something that is as inherent as my skin tone. It put a damper on my evening for sure.
I support the right of every citizen to take to the streets and make their voice heard. I whole-heartedly support the first amendment. However, your speech should not become an impedement to my living. Please, stand on the corner and hand out your tracks. If someone approaches you with questions or comments, please engage them in a polite manner, but leave the bull horns at home. Don’t scream at the top of your lungs!!! And NEVER address your comments to a passerby who is not interested in your message. It is rude, it is harrassing, and if it’s not, it should be illegal. We all have a right to be downtown, and we have a right to be there without any form of harrassment. It seems to me that these overly energetic “street preachers” take it that their message is ordained by God, and is so perfect that it must be forced on others at all cost and that is simply not the case. And, I have seen them become very belligerent when asked to be mannerly in their delivery.
There is a sweet man that stands at the corner of Washington and Main reading his Bible and handing out tracks. He barely even looks at those to whom he makes his offering. If you want to talk to him, you may, but he is quite happy letting you pass. This is a gentle spirit and all other “street preachers” could take a good lesson from him. He and I, having such different spiritual proclivities, co-exist Downtown perfectly.