Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Save Our Children!!!

I was just graduating from high school when Anita Bryant became a household word in Florida! The one time beauty queen, celebrity and devout member of Northeast Baptist Church became the icon of opposition to a January 18, 1977 law that would outlaw discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing, and public services in Dade County, Florida.

Under the banner of "Save Our Children", supposedly from exposure to immorality and homosexual recruitment, Anita and others, led a campaign that presented gays as a veritable danger to society. A special election in June of 1978 saw, a very heavy turnout in Dade county, an overwhelming defeat of the ordinance, and a setback to equal treatment under the law for gays and lesbians in our state. 

I was at home, with family visiting from Miami, when the results were announced! Most rejoiced, others heard the results with concern.  It is reported that Anita danced a jig when she heard the results of her efforts and said:

 "All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God's continued help, we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation which attempt to legitimize a life style that is both perverse and dangerous".
For me, the elation of some over such victory, seemed totally wrong then, even as it does now! 

How was it a victory for children or society to allow the discrimination of people to exist? Why would God be on the side of letting people be at the mercy of the prejudices of others? Wasn't Jesus always on the side of those society deemed less worthy? How was this repeal of fundamental protections Christian in any sense of the word? 

Time has shown that these ideas, along with their misrepresentation of God, have not prevailed! Today, as gay couples are granted the right to civil marriage in the state of Florida, I welcome it with a sense of peace.

"Save the Children" , the slogan so misused years ago, perhaps better characterizes the days ahead! I look forward to a future where all children are saved, from hatred, discrimination, exclusion, and where religion is not used as a tool to oppress and demonize persons created in the image of God!



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