Friday, December 9, 2016

Mixed messages delivered (revised)

A lone black man paced up and down the sidewalk on the northeast corner of 10th and MacVicar exercising his First Amendment rights. Propped up against a street sign was a white piece of bulletin board attached to a large wooden frame. In blue letters, the sign read, "God is Good."

"Yeah, I said it, God is Good," the man said as he paced back and forth on the sidewalk.

Another sign, built identical to the first was propped against the street light. In red letters the sign read," The Devil is No Good."

"It isn't God giving us grief today,” the man said, “God is good.”

Across the street at a Kwik Shop, customers walked into the store, but paused to look at the man across the street.

“He is so loud,” an onlooker said while at the Kwik Shop. “It makes me a bit nervous.”

In a country that protects freedom of speech and religion and in city home to Westboro Baptist Church, residents of Topeka have become accustomed to displays of religious speech.

However, even though the message the man on 10th and MacVicar is not one of hate, he attracts many awkward glances and maybe even sparks fear.

“I think that people are scared because he is tall, black and loud,” said Tiffany Melendez. “He just looks like the type of person that can knock you out.”

Edited by Derek Richardson

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