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"Looking for Common Ground at the Baptist Temple"

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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-06-09 11:31 AM
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"Looking for Common Ground at the Baptist Temple"
An excellent piece by Julia O'Malley in this morning's Anchorage Daily News re the upcoming antidiscrimination ordinance.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want Jerry Prevo to like me as I was driving to the Anchorage Baptist Temple on Wednesday afternoon.

Sure I was gay, and he knew I was gay, and he was a hard-line Evangelical Christian pastor who'd successfully led every Alaska anti-gay measure in my lifetime. But I looked totally normal in my church clothes. I was smart, I was funny, I was from his neighborhood. What wasn't to like?

My plan was to talk with him about why he was fighting an effort to add sexual orientation to the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. I promised myself that I would really try to listen to him. I crossed into the East Side, where I grew up, passing Value Village and Max's Beefy Burgers and the flower shop. Maybe, I thought, Prevo had some valid points about the ordinance being poorly written. Maybe we could find some common ground.


Driving out of the parking lot, my stomach hurt. How was it, I wondered, that in a town where people were uniformly respectful of me as a gay person, we couldn't make that respect part of city code?

I turned into my grandparents' old neighborhood and wound around to their house. The garage was open and I half expected to see their red Oldsmobile in there. But they've been dead for years.

I'd convinced myself the world had changed since 1975, that the forces of logic and personal connection had moved hearts and minds, that Anchorage was just as much my town as it was Prevo's. But for the first time in my life, as I stared at what used to be my grandparents' front yard, I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure at all.

I plan to be at the assembly meeting Tuesday night. I'm sure Pervo will be bussing in his minions.

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