Guest Column. The Mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, and the St. Pete City Council have done much to promote the gay community and agenda in St. Petersburg. They have afforded tens of thousands of free police and sanitation services to the St. Pete Pride Parade. Appointed an LGBT liaison for the city and also raised the political gay “pride” flag over city hall. Given the precedent, a member of the community has asked for another flag to be raised over city hall: that of the pro-life movement. Surely, saving the lives of babies in the wombs can be seen equally or even more profoundly as an act of love as has been purveyed by gay activists.
As expected, the city of St. Petersburg has refused to fly the Pro-life flag. That Activist, Scott Mahurin, offers the following insights.
By Scott J Mahurin
St Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is known for making much of his commitment to diversity. He is the first Mayor of St Petersburg to march in the Gay Pride parade. He is the first Mayor of St Petersburg to appoint an LGBT liason for the city. He is the first Mayor of St Petersburg to publicly stand for gay marriage. In both 2014 and 2015 he raised the Gay Pride flag at City Hall. Before raising the flag, Mayor Kriseman stated this action demonstrated his commitment to equality for all the citizens of St Petersburg. At the first flag raising, he said “We are a city of diversity, of inclusion and a city of tolerance. Everyone is welcome.”
In light of this, I wrote to the Mayor last September, applauded his commitment to diversity, and asked that he raise the “Pro-Life” flag over City Hall beginning on September 24, to coincide with St Petersburg’s 40 Days for Life Campaign. 2014 marked the seventh year that St Petersburg’s pro-life community has joined with hundreds of other cities across the country in peaceful vigil to end abortion. Our 8th campaign will begin this fall.
It should go without saying that a city committed to true diversity would be willing to raise the “pro-life” flag, if for no other reason than about 50% of the citizens of St Petersburg consider themselves pro-life while less than 5% of St Petersburg residents are gay.
But, sadly, I received no response from the Mayor or his office. I included in my letter a petition that was signed by 150 citizens. But sadly, I received no response from the Mayor or his office. After several weeks, several members of my organization, and myself, left messages with the Mayor’s assistant Lisa Brekke. Approximately 20 messages were left with Ms. Brekke. I received no response from the Mayor, Ms. Brekke or from anyone in their office.
Diversity means a great deal of things. One of its definitions involves a willingness to allow for opinions that you may not share yourself. Whatever your personal views on abortion may be, diversity requires that all views are respected. Otherwise, it is not diversity. It takes more than one opinion in order for true tolerance to exist. Whether or not the Mayor is pro-life, or whether or not, you personally are pro-life, is not really the issue.
The issue that a great number of citizens in St Petersburg ARE PRO LIFE. And they want their voices heard. Therefore, I have several questions.
Do the Mayor and City Council believe the voices and rights of one group are more important than all others?
Why has the Mayor and his assistant not responded to my request?
Who determines what flag will be raised by the Mayor and by what standard is this determined?
Is this bad manners on the part of the Mayor’s office or part of a larger issue of discrimination?
Sadly, with such a lack of response from the Mayor’s office, we’re all left to wonder for ourselves.
Scott J Mahurin is the Founder and Director of Florida Preborn Rescue, a pro-life, non-profit, 501c3 organization based in St Petersburg, FL. He holds degrees in History and Philosophy from the University of Idaho. Mr. Mahurin has been involved in Christ-centered sidewalk counseling in Florida since 2008, and founded Florida Preborn Rescue in 2012. He founded FPR in response to the 64 abortion clinics operating in Florida, making it the 3rd largest abortion state in America. Currently, he is raising financial support to become a fully-funded, Christ-centered sidewalk counselor on the streets of St Petersburg, FL. Mr. Mahurin lives in St Petersburg, FL with his wife Rebecca and his three daughters.