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Miami Christian Coalition Resorts to Gutter Politics

Uses Scare Tactics, Lies, Disinformation Campaign

Opposes Dade County's New Human Rights Ordinance

Compiled By GayToday

savedade.jpg - 9.31 K Miami, Florida--The Miami-Dade County Christian Coalition has targeted Miami churches in a disinformation campaign to build opposition to Dade County's newly revised human rights ordinance.

Save Dade, a coalition of civil rights groups that is fighting discrimination in Dade County, exposed the Christian Coalition's latest tactics at a press conference Monday at the Stephen Clark Government Building in downtown Miami.

Among the speakers at the press conference was Lisa Versaci, Florida director of People For the American Way, which is a member of the Save Dade coalition.

The Christian Coalition's scurrilous campaign, which is designed as a blatant attempt to stir up fear and hatred of gays, threatens churches with a fraudulent and threatening "Gay Manifesto," which appears on the letterhead of the Christian Coalition chapter.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
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Related Sites:
Save Dade

People for the American Way
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"The gutter politics of hate and divisiveness must end," said Versaci. "In this campaign of lies and distortions, the Christian Coalition is showing its real face -- a face of hatred and paranoia."

Carole Shields, PFAW President and a Miami resident, called the Coalition's tactics "a shocking attempt to try to exploit fears and create divisions in our community. All of us must take a stand together for equal rights for all of God's children -- and against this message of hatred."

The so-called manifesto sets forth a list of alleged demands which the Christian Coalition claims churches would be expected to accede to, including rewriting the Scriptures, forcing churches to teach homosexuality to children, requiring churches to conduct same-sex marriages and ordering them to instruct parishioners to "renounce their ugly and ignorant homophobia or suffer public humiliation."

The fraudulent manifesto ends with a crude threat: "WARNING: If all of these things do not come to pass quickly, we will subject orthodox Jews and Christians to the most sustained hatred and vilification in recent memory. We have captured the liberal establishment and the press. We have already beaten you on a number of battlefields. And we have the spirit of the age is on our side [sic]. You have neither the faith nor the strength to fight us, so you might as well surrender now."

What drew the ire of the Christian Coalition was the vote by the Dade County Commission on December 1, 1998, to expand the anti- discrimination protections of the Human Rights Ordinance to include gays.

The fraudulent "manifesto" is being distributed along with a package of materials urging the churches to help collect enough signatures to place repeal of the gay civil rights measure on the ballot.

bkunst3.jpg - 8.90 K Bob Kunst Miami Beach Oral Majority Director Bob Kunst told GayToday he's convinced that since "the Right Wing Republicans blew it on Clinton they're now, once again, coming after the gays. Twenty-three years ago Dade experienced the first attempt by Anita and Falwell to repeal the ordinance."

"The thorny voter-education problem now is,—as it was then," says Kunst, "that in order to retain the ordinance when the voting starts, voters have to vote against the passage of the referendum because the opposition, in this case the Christian Coalition, gets to present itself as the 'For Vote' because it first gathered the signatures."

Oral Majority's Director told GayToday his group will also "lead a petition drive for signatures so that we get the 'For Vote' which is far more likely to win in either scenario. At the ballot box this is the only strategy that will work."

Both the Oral Majority and the Christian Coalition will need to collect at least 50,000 signatures each in order to validate 30,000 legitimate ones.

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