, Salem, MA

November 4, 2013

Letter: No need to amplify 'hate speech'

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I am writing to urge the city of Salem to rethink its tolerance of fundamentalist preachers using amplifiers to spew out their message during Halloween festivities. Last Saturday, one such preacher was spewing out his dire, hate-filled message from Lappin Park while we dined with family outdoors on the patio at Rockafellas. I did not appreciate sitting with my family and being blasted in the ear about what a sinner I am and how my soul is condemned to hell unless I repent and join this person’s religion. Ditto last night, Halloween, at the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and Essex Street across from the Hawthorne Hotel; another preacher was spewing similar hate-filled diatribes condemning others who worship differently than he does. To make matters worse, an ugly mob had gathered to taunt and humiliate him. Surely, this is not what the guests of fine hotels and restaurants want to hear and see as they enjoy their long-awaited visit to Salem at Halloween. It is certainly not how I want to represent my city to the world, and it is not what I want to hear over a loudspeaker while out and about in Salem.

While their hate speech may arguably be protected; their amplifiers and microphones are not. I ask that other Salem citizens join me in demanding that they be denied permits to use amplification on Salem city streets. Enough is enough. This is already out of hand.

With thanks for the usual fantastic job done by Salem City personnel during the month of Halloween.

Anne Sterling