Prayer and Protest Over Gay History Bill at South LA Church

Churchgoers at Southern Missionary Baptist were met with a signature drive, not an offering plate, to kick-off a repeal of Senate Bill 48.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law requiring public school textbooks to include historical contributions of gay people in July.  But the message in this sanctuary was that the governor went too far.

"A sinister new law, not a bill, that our beloved governor signed, aimed directly at young impressionable minds of our youth," said Ben Lopez, of Traditional Values Coalition.

"We've been praying and praying for some leadership, that the Lord would bring up someone to promote this gospel," said Barbara Lesure, a Prayer Warrior, who prays for others. "And we think our prayers have been answered."

Outside, activists claimed they were turned away from the church, yet proud to have worked for the textbook changes.

"The curricula change would be not only about LGBT, but about every community that's made a great contribution to the state of California," said Rabbi Steven Jacobs, an Equality California board member.

Milton Davis is with the Jordan Rustin Coalition. He joined Rabbi Jacobs outside the church.


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"It's all happening at the local level. No mandate on what must be taught, what must be put in anything. The discretion of age-appropriate materials that must be included,” said Davis.

Spearheading the charge against SB48 is the Rev. Xavier Thompson. He insists gays are welcome in his church, but they do not have a place in children's textbooks.

"We have an understanding," he said. "They don't agree with me, and I don't agree with them. I love them unconditionally."

The process for devolopment and review of instructional materials is dormant because of budget reductions, but State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in July that the department "looks forward to curriculum that reflects the diversity of our state."

Later that month, the Secretary of State gave opponents of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act the ok to collect signatures in an effort to place a referendum on the 2012 ballot. The referendum would call for the repeal of the legislation.

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