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Ministers announce support for Naugle

BY PETER BAILEY, pbailey@miamiherald.com

A coalition of Broward County ministers gathered Tuesday to outline their plans to support Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's recent criticism of gay sex in restrooms, parks and other public places.

The predominantly black coalition of about 10 says its ultimate vision is to ``transform Fort Lauderdale and Broward County into the Bible Belt of South Florida.''

In hopes of reclaiming the ''city's Biblical heritage,'' the group's leaders say they plan to undertake measures ``to ensure immoral behavior is not tolerated in the city or throughout the county.''

''We as a body of Christ support the mayor because he is addressing a moral crisis,'' said Mathis Guice, director of the men's ministry at Koinonia Worship Center. ``People have to understand we're in a spiritual war with Satan.''

''We're not bashing homosexuals. We love them but they need to repent and we're here to help them,'' said Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center.

Guice, Dozier and others said they decided to form the coaltion after witnessing television ads proclaiming the county as a ''gay-friendly'' tourism destination.

''Friends from the faith community have decided to join me in support,'' said a smiling Naugle, who appeared at the ministers' meeting at Fort Lauderdale City Hall. Naugle was rebuked by gay activists nationwide after proposing that Fort Lauderdale spend $250,000 on a single-occupancy toilet for the beach to cut down on men having sex in public restrooms -- activity he claimed is rampant.

Initially, the city said only two people had been arrested for sexual activity in a public restroom since 2005. But Naugle recently said that number is at least eight, including a recent arrest at Holiday Park and five men who were nabbed a few years ago in Mills Pond Park.

On Wednesday, activists who have taken issue with Naugle's comments were outraged, saying he had launched a religious offensive.

''We're not asking for any spiritual blessing or acceptance from a religious institution,'' said Waymon Hudson, head of Fight OUT Loud, a nationwide non-profit that focuses on gay rights. ``His attacks boil down to discrimination and bigotry.''

Hudson said his group has garnered support from several clergy members who call the mayor's remarks ``hateful.''

''Naugle speaks on behalf of a small minority,'' said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida. ``We believe the broad majority of people in Broward want to welcoming to everyone in society.''

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I'm sorry but it seems like the people publicly fighting on our side are TERRIBLE spokesmen. They always manage to talk a lot and say absolutely nothing.

We need to find these arrest records and find out exactly who it is that is being arrested. I suspect that the profile of the average toilet troll will not look anything like what Naugle is painting.

I suspect that the average person who has been arrested will look a lot more like Bob Allen, Larry Craig and NAUGLE himself (straight identified, married, with kids) than it will look like you or me.

It's time to stop fighting this like frickin sissies. It's time the gloves come off!

To Zeke and others,

Here's a place to start: http://ci.ftlaud.fl.us/police/CITYWIDE%20AND%20DISTRICTS%20JULY%202007.xls

But since there are no public restrooms on the beach, I doubt that there's going to be anyone with an arrest record. It's kinda like the voters in 2000 that were purged for their felonys they were gonna commit in 2004. Now that crime prevention Florida Style!! Good hunting.

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