Sun Sentinel Editors: Gay Group Wrong to Demand Business Association Disinvite Allen West


The editorial board of the Sun Sentinel newspaper comment on news that Rep. Allen West was uninvited from speaking at a business association meeting after gay activists threatened to boycott local businesses:

... we defend the Wilton Manors Business Association's right to host U.S. Rep. Allen West at a public meeting on Aug. 8.

The group's president, Celeste Ellich, is correct to argue the association has a clear interest in discussing financial and economic policy with Rep. West. The Plantation Republican is, after all, a sitting member of Congress.

... we object to Rajner's demand that the business group withdraw its invitation to Rep. West. One form of intolerance simply does not justify another.

In civil society, the goal is to challenge opposing viewpoints in respectful dialogue and debate. The idea is not to exclude or prevent another side from expressing a viewpoint one might find objectionable or disagreeable.

... perhaps an ongoing dialogue between the two groups might produce a healthier end result than boycotts and alienation.

What isn't acceptable is to pressure the business group to drop its invite to Rep. West. That much Rajner and the caucus must rethink.

Related: Rep. West has written a letter (PDF) to the business association.