So the religious zealots have, we hope, left town by now. From Thursday to Saturday, speakers from across the religious right spectrum descended upon Brandonâs Bell Shoals Baptist Church for the Family Impact Summit with workshops like âthe homosexual agenda,â âGlobal Warming or Global Whiningâ and various other topics to a captive audience of pastors and proselytizers. They also had some neat schwag, like the t-shirt below.
(Watch for my upcoming Urban Explorer covering an Equality Florida protest held before the conference).
I attended the first night of the summit and met Michael Freincle, a young man from Equality Florida who had paid to go through the full three days of the conference.
âI want information,â said Freincle, 20, who has the fortune of being both Jewish and gay. âTheir words donât end at the church doors.â
He knows â Freincle has lived his whole life three minutes from Bell Shoals, one of the Tampa Bay areaâs largest and most politically active congregations.
âGrowing up, this is what I had to hear,â he said.