The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, April 24
April 24th, 2012
College Republicans Host Bradlee Dean to Speak: St. Cloud, MN. Bradlee Dean, whose You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministry is a one-man SPLC certified hate group, was invited by the College Republicans chapter at St. Cloud State College to speak today. The firebrand self-styled hard rock pastor once said that Muslims were more moral than Christians because Muslims don’t shy away from calling for the execution of gay people. The invite from St. Cloud’s College Republicans have drawn fire from the state GOP, with state party executive director Ben Zierke warning that if they go through with the event, they better not plan on any future jobs with the state GOP in the future:
“Sometimes young people need to have better judgment in who they invite to things under the Republican banner,” said Minnesota Republican Party chair Pat Shortridge. “If you are going to do dumb things, and not take the advice of the state college Republicans and the state chairman of the Republican party, it might have some consequences.”
But Abbey Gooch, chair of the St. Cloud College Republicans, is not backing down because, she said, Dean has been “so nice to us”:
“I have been praying and praying and praying and just saying lord I don’t know what to do any more,” she said. But she said they are going to go forward. “I am sticking with my guns and going through with it.”
So it looks like it’s game on, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Richie Auditorium.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
University of South Florida President Denies Hiring Homosexuals: 1963. Dr. John Allen, president of the University of South Florida, strongly denied charges that the school “harbored homosexuals” on its faculty. He also denied that the school was “soft on communism,” was anti-religious or that controversial writings by “‘beatnik’ authors was typical of literature found in the school’s reading program.
All of those charges were levied against USF and other Florida state colleges and institutions by the Johns Committee, Florida’s version of the McCarthy Red and Lavender Scares in Washington. Named for its first chairman, state Senator and former Governor Charley Johns, the Johns committee was established in 1956 to investigate so-called communist links to the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1957, the Florida legislature broadened the committee’s mandate to investigate gays in the state’s colleges and universities, and reiterated that mandate again in 1961. Florida’s leaders of higher education proved eager to demonstrate that Florida’s sons and daughters were safe in their institutions, with many throwing their campuses open to heavy-handed investigators calling individual students and teachers out of class for interrogations. The results of those investigations were made public in a report in 1963, in which Johns claimed credit for “flush(ing) 71 homosexual public school teachers and 30 homosexual deans and professors of universities.” Dr. Allen responded, quite forcefully, that his school was certainly not infested with homosexuals. The committee, he pointed out, established only one clear case of a gay teacher among the entire 500 person-staff, which was only “one-fifth of one per cent,” as he put it. That person resigned immediately. Charges had been levied against two others which could not be supported, and reports indicated that they “later left the university for other reasons.”
New Orleans Police Institutes Massive Gay Roundup: 1981. In a 1982 article published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Randsell Pierson wrote a very informative piece wondering aloud, “Can the Straight Press get the gay story right?” Pierson had interviewed several closeted gay reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune who all said that they feared pitching gay-related stories to their editors for fear of being identified as gay. It was that silence, Pierson said, which helped to explain why homosexuality was still illegal in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Lapses in coverage of gay issues was surprising, and among the many examples that Pierson offered up was this one:
Over a period of three days on the weekend of April 24, 1981, New Orleans police rounded up and jailed more than 100 gay men and women in a series of raids in the French Quarter. Those arrested were charged with “obstructing sidewalks” in front of gay bars. The arrests prompted a vigorous political response from the local gay community, which charged that the police were trying to drive gays out of the French Quarter. A protest meeting attended by 700 gays helped to persuade Mayor Ernest Morial and Police Chief Henry Morris to promise to investigate charges of police harassment. All charges against the arrested gays were subsequently dropped.
Two of the city’s three television stations — WDSU (NBC) and WVUE )ABC) — followed the breaking story and sent film crews to the protest meeting held on the Tuesday following the weekend arrests. The Times-Picayine/States-Item waited five days after the first arrests to report on the story. The account, buried in section 5, said nothing about the protest meeting, which would seem to have been the logical peg, and failed to include in its tally the arrests a group of thirty-nine gay men picked up the previous Sunday. Reporter Allan Katz, who wrote the story, says: “They wanted somebody to do something in a hurry. You would think that because the story was four days old before they assigned it to a reporter they didn’t consider it a major story. About the only time in my experience we really try to relate to gay news is when something really controversial comes up.” Apparently, the arrest of more than 100 men and women in a city not under martial law was not considered “really controversial.”
[From Randsell Pierson’s “Uptight on Gay News: Can the Straight Press Get the Gay Story Straight? Is Anyone Even Trying?” Chapter 59 in Larry Gross & James D. Woods (eds.) The Columbia Reader on Lesbians & Gay Men in Media, Society, & Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999): 368-376]
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?