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It was with sad hearts that the participants of Emmanuel United Church of Christ, York, discussed the words expressed and actions taken by West York Mayor Charles Wasko, whose resignation takes effect Friday. Unquestionably, freedom of speech is a right bestowed upon all Americans, but as with all rights, it is accompanied by a significant level of responsibility. This is especially the case for those individuals in leadership positions.

The office of president of the United States, and, yes, even the office of mayor of a small community, brings with it the expectation of a certain level of respect to be acknowledged by all. That does not mean one needs to support all policies or ideas generated by that individual; however, it does mean learning the constructive way to express differences in ideas and opinions.

As American citizens each of us has the responsibility to question behavior that harms, belittles or dehumanizes. We encourage Mayor Wasko to step back and reflect upon the divisiveness, hurt and negativity his words and actions have generated. Our thoughts will continue to be with this community as it begins the healing process.

Congregation of Emmanuel UCC, York

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