Following this morning Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan issued the following statement:
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin was on his best behavior at this morning’s Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. That’s not surprising given the heightened media scrutiny and promises by Mayor Rick Meehan that Boykin would not say anything inflammatory. However, that does not excuse Ocean City officials – Mayor Meehan in particular – for providing a platform to a man who travels the country spreading bigotry and divisiveness.
Boykin himself makes no secret of his views. He has proudly said, ‘Let me tell you something, I am intolerant.’ ‘And you'll find plenty of that if you look me up on Google,’ he continued.
It’s important to note that Boykin is not the first controversial speaker to be featured at the Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Three years ago, the headliner was none other than Maury Davis, a convicted killer-turned-pastor and anti-Islam activist. At a recent conference held at his church in Nashville, Davis called Islam a “cancer.” This raises questions about the type of speakers that Prayer Breakfast director Bruce Spangler is featuring in Ocean City and why the event has the imprimatur of Ocean City’s Mayor.
Mayor Meehan and other Ocean City officials took pains to say that the event was in no way sponsored or endorsed by the city. But with a name like “Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” it’s understandable why reasonable people would find that confusing at best. Ocean City officials should avoid future confusion and controversy by disassociating themselves from the event and removing the Mayor’s imprimatur from the title.