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Tolerance in California

August 23, 1987

The Constitutional Bicentennial we are about to celebrate doesn't just mark the anniversary of a great document. It also marks the anniversary of a great social experiment.

For 200 years this nation has offered a haven to those seeking political and religious freedom. And most of the time that hospitality has worked to the benefit of both refugees and those who were already here.

Unfortunately that openness has sometimes been marred by intolerance. It happened again recently in Los Angeles.

Two Central American refugee women were kidnaped, one raped. Both were grilled about their political activities and warned to stop. Another Salvadoran woman received telephone death threats.

The Rev. Luis Olivares, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angeles Church, was sent a letter similar to those threatening the lives of priests in El Salvador.

As a result, the Los Angeles police and FBI are investigating the possibility of Salvadoran death squads on our city streets--political persecution creeping across our border.

In other neighborhoods a different kind of intolerance appeared. Since Jan. 1, nearly 20 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism have been reported.

In one 24-hour period, Temple Beth Hillel, Shaarey Zedek and North Hollywood Chabad were all desecrated. A few weeks earlier the West Valley Jewish Community Center was defaced.

It's welcome news that Black Muslim Minister Louis Farrakhan has postponed his return to Los Angeles.

While he professes to speak only about black economic oppression, he speaks the language of the oppressor. He has threatened leaders, both black and white, and insults our sense of decency.

None of these social cancers has any place here.

This is California--not El Salvador or Beirut.

We cannot be silent as hate-mongers and verbal terrorists shout their poisonous thoughts.

Each of us must find a means to speak out for what this country and our Constitution stand for.

California is a mosaic of cultures and creeds. We have become the great state we are by tolerating each other, not by tolerating the haters among us.

Those who would preach or carry out acts of hate have no place in California.


Lieutenant Governor


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