Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

March 21, 2012

Today’s Flashback — The Price of Conviction — Sometimes

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

(The number of readers of my blogs has surged. I am going to periodically provide “re-runs” as a convenience for those new readers who may be searching the archives.  I will refer to these “re-runs” as Today’s Flashback.)

Anita Bryant was a name known and respected around the world.  She was Miss Oklahoma 1958 and second runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1959.  For eleven years she traveled the world with the Bob Hope Holiday Tours.  She was known as America’s sweetheart.  For three consecutive years Good Housekeeping named her “The Most Admired Woman in America.”  Gallup Poll listed her among the top ten women in the world.  For twelve years she was spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Growers.  For seven years she was spokeswoman for Coca-Cola.  For eleven years she was co-host for the Orange Bowl Parade.

Quite a resume!  When we got to know her, she was also wife and mother.  She had married Bob Green and they became parents of four children.  We recall the wonderful days of their lives and the joy they gave to others.  In 1977 life changed drastically for the family.  She was enlisted, because of her Christian convictions, to be a spokesperson to repeal a local ordinance in Dade County, Florida that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The ordinance was repealed, and she became a nationally known figure in the political debate across America.  The gay community launched an unprecedented attack against her.  A boycott of Florida orange juice began.  Gay bars even ceased offering orange juice in drinks and substituted apple juice.  Anita was mocked across America.  Because she became a controversial person, many invitations to sing and entertain were withdrawn.

Because of the boycott of orange juice, the Florida Citrus Commission terminated her contract.  America realized it immediately.  No longer did the commercials appear featuring her singing and then stating the commercial’s tagline:  “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine.”  Some of us still recite that line!

We recall those sad days when life so changed for the family.  I recall Bob and the four children sitting in church and their faces lacking the joy and spirit that had been so common to them.  After the service he spoke of how difficult life had become.  Anita still attempted to travel and represent the anti-gay movement across America.  Shortly before they were to relocate and experience such dissolution of the family unit, Judy and I were invited to dinner at their home.  They sought love and encouragement from the Christian community.  Support came to them from across America, but the intimate encouragement from those needed most in their lives was not there.

Anita Bryant and her family paid a tremendous price for their conviction.  Did they know it would cost them so much?  I doubt it, but whatever the cost, they were determined to be faithful to their convictions.  Whether one knows the costs or consequences of taking a stand on their biblical beliefs, one must still take that stand!

I recall her saying as she faced such persecution and opposition,  “I have learned to obey God, regardless of the consequences.”  Shouldn’t that be a commitment for us all?

“We must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)  “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”  (Psalm 143:10)  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  (Colossians 3:23,24)



1 Comment »

  1. I remember Anita Bryant and turmoil that her family went through at that time. Even though I was a teenager I thought how strong her faith was and how committed she was to God. Thankful for strong people with strong convictions of faith.

    Comment by Linda Schrack — March 21, 2012 @ 8:38 am | Reply

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