POSTED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 4:46pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 9:36am
EL PASO- We can all agree that the right to free speech is part of what makes our country great. In El Paso people are already expressing themselves about the recall vote in both colorful and controversial ways.
It might sell carpets, it might not, but the sign in front of Freeway Carpets in the lower valley calls out Pastor Tom Brown. Co-owner of Freeway Carpets, Tom Avila, put it up a few days ago.
"We speak up against discrimination, we're pro peace, anti-war and we speak about issues in our family that are important to them," says Avila.
People have noticed the sign and one of them is Pastor Tom Brown. He says the carpet store absolutely has the right to express its feelings. But he thinks the sign is as wrong as anything he's been accused of and misses the real point of the recall debate
"Hate speech goes both ways. It’s the church's right to teach morality, and it’s important that statements like this don’t cross the line into hate. Is he also saying that the 39,000 El Pasoans who voted against those benefits are bigots? Is he speaking against those 39,000?” says Brown.
So far you’ve only seen half this story because you’ve only seen half the sign, the other side is even more critical of pastor brown. The store says it wants to recognize all El Pasoans.
“We like to send out a message of tolerance. This city, I believe, is big enough to be tolerant towards not just ethnicity, gender, but also a lifestyle"
So we asked Pastor Brown, “Are you a homophobe?”
“Absolutely not. We have a great ministry to ex-gays and even those struggling with same sex attraction. People come to my church because they know I'm not afraid of them. I don’t hate them. I don’t hate homosexuals any more than I hate adulterers, or fornicators, or thieves. I am called though to bring everyone to repentance,” says Brown.
It’s the story of two Toms. They share a first name and apparently not much else, except their freedom of speech