To add some perspective to the discussion around my last post about dealing with religious bigotry, I’d like to cite the example we see around Temple Square during recent General Conferences. There we have street preachers deliberately trying to provoke faith LDS people as they go to their religious service. One can encounter shouting, taunting, the occasional waving of LDS garments, and other forms of mockery. The response of most LDS people was exemplary: ignoring it, walking away, or polite discourse. Some gathered around to sing hymns to compensate for the unsettling hostility of the street preachers. But there were no riots and, as far as I know, no physical assaults on the agitators. I think that’s how most religious people are, including my Muslim friends who are pained by the mockery of their religion but appalled at the agitators who have stirred others up into committing hateful acts of their own.
I’m against hateful speech and hateful expressions meant to offend, but feel it is best to not overreact and not impose laws that could limit all unpopular discourse some day.
My thanks to the good example of LDS people who refuse to be riled by snarling buffoons claiming to be ministers of God. (Oops – better find me a lawyer quick.)