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Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 9, July 1978
File 015
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Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 9, July 1978 - File 015. 1978-07. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 4, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/566/show/555.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1978-07). Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 9, July 1978 - File 015. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/566/show/555

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 9, July 1978 - File 015, 1978-07, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 4, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/566/show/555.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 9, July 1978
Contributor
  • Kay, Kelly
Publisher Gay Community Services
Date July 1978
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 5962538
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 015
Transcript JULY 1972 GAY AUSTIN 15 mouthing "hello." The show -- sorry I did mean "service"-- went on building to a climax while Anita prepared herself. She finally appeared in an all-white lace and cotton gown, looking like an old-time country girl on the way to the town Sunday picnic. She walked around backstage humming to herself and checking her oft- repeated Bible references on the little notecards she carried. ANITA — AN ENTERTAINER At the designated time (the audience having been properly primed), Reverend O'Chester introduced Anltaj then walked to the side of the stage to escort the star of the service on. The opening number was "Give me an Old-fashioned ..." which made her gown take on the significance of a costume. And as soon as she started singing with that orange-selling voice, the purpose of her participation was uncovered for all to see. Bryant is an entertainer who sings about God and throws in some occassional political commentary between numbers, just as some other show-person might deliver jokes between songs. But she never once made a direct reference to gays* homosexuals, or feminists during the show. Rather, she would repeatedly chant about "militant radical groups" which threaten "the children." "the family" and the righteous order of society. Anita manufactured some genuine-looking tears but was subtly able to turn them on and off at will, and the audience cried right along with her. She was good. She was so good that she was acary. Bryant and her houiphobic clones (such as O'Chester) have memorized a string of formulaic phrases used to describe the danger of those "militant radical group groups." Anita's "testimony" would have read like excerpts from the choicest comments in her Playboy interview (May, 1978). There were a few dissenters among the true-believers in the audience. But whenever those Individuals shouted out a retort to Anita's pronouncements, those cries for reason or tolerance were drowned out in a sea of applause for whatever quip an amplified Anita would answer back. /.'HAT'S BEHIND IT ALL? In an interview one week prior to Bryant's visit, Harold O'Chester said that he had invited her to participate in the special Allendale Baptist "service" at Municipal Auditorium "for no particular reason. We invited Anita Bryant basically because she's very prominent." He went on to list the other celebrated national "religious" figures who had appeared in the past, including Jimmy Carter (while governor of Georgia), Charles Colson and Pat Boone, among others* Reverend O'Chester has a clear view of what the role of his church in the community should be: "Our job is to permeate the community. Jesus said we ought to be salt, Salt flavors a community -- salt keeps the rottenness out. if ay church can't make an ethical and moral impact on the community, then we ought to quit being what we ace." Although sbe was invited to appear in Austin "for no particular reason," other than being prominent, Bryant reiterated that ahe had come only to share photo by Will van Overbe her religious "testimony for a church service," during the short press conference afterwards. When told about the Breakfast Festival being held outside, Anita said "Well, I don't know what they're upset about...They have their opinion and I have mine; but I'm not here on any one particular issue per se, but to share the hope for anyone who's willing to look at an immoral lifestyle as sin, and that's true for any kind of sin. I'm not just against the sin of homosexuality." In the world of O'Chester and Bryant there are, obviously, no clear demarcations between the realms of religion, politics and entertainment. Crusades throughout history have always fused those first two elements, and the third is an addition of our distraction-filled age of television. To get attention, an event must have some entertainment value. And Bryant and her spoasors know how to succeed on that count. Allendale Baptist Church had a specific reason for inviting Anita Bryant -- regardless of what O'Chester said. She is a national, political figurehead for that element of American society which is fed up with "liberalizing" social changes. It's no revelation that a strong reactionary movement is well underway these days, and that tactics employed by liberal causes of the aixties are being mimicked with success. But there's a vital difference between the political role religious leaders played a decade ago and the role of Bryant and O'Chester today. HUMAN RIGHTS IS THE ISSUE The former actively contributed a moral and ethical underpinning of multi-denominational support to the politics of equal rights for blacks, chicanos and women, and in opposition to the war in Vietnam. Today, the politics of religion is the denial of rights for gays; the denial of a woman's right to continued on page 22
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