Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Religious right summit draws prominent speakers
Conservative Christians from around the nation come to Brandon.
By S.I. ROSENBAUM, Times Staff Writer
Published September 22, 2007
Former U.S. senatorial candidate Katherine Harris talks about Christian citizenship during the Family Impact Summit at Bell Shoals Baptist Church.
[CHRIS ZUPPA | Times]
[CHRIS ZUPPA | Times]
A.T. and Margie Herring, of Pinellas Park, try to decide where to got next during the Family Impact Summit at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. "We have the same family values that are being expressed, like-minded" Margie said of why they attended. "We also want to make a difference in life, traditional family values."
BRANDON -- In a fluorescent-lit, ice-cold room, Dr. David Prentice explained the dangers of cloning.
One building over, a young schoolteacher earnestly lectured on the religion of the Founding Fathers. Down the hall, lawyer John Stemberger passed out petitions to ban gay marriage.
In its first day, the Family Impact Summit at Bell Shoals Baptist Church covered the full platform of the Christian Right, from "Life Issues" to "The Homosexual Agenda" and "What Every Christian Should Know About Islam."
The summit featured some of the national movement's biggest names. It included a rare appearance by former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris as well as Bobby Schindler, the late Terri Schiavo's brother.
With a congregation of more than 6,000, Bell Shoals Baptist has always been a politically active church. Two years ago, when a bikini bar came to Valrico, Bell Shoals members stood outside with picket signs. For years, the church has hosted candidate lunches at every election.
But this is the first time it has drawn attention from national groups such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and Exodus International.
Many of the guests said they had never heard of Bell Shoals -- or Brandon -- before they were invited to speak here.
"It's a little out of the way," laughed Rena Lindewaldsen, who teaches law at Liberty Univerity in Lynchburg, Va. "But you know, God does things in unexpected ways."
The audience turnout was smaller than expected: fewer than 130 people. Many were senior citizens; almost all were white. And nearly all of them shared a vision of a culture tilting out of control.
"Our grandchildren are growing up in a world where morals don't seem to mean anything anymore," said Anne Overholt, 71, of Largo.
It's a familiar sentiment among conservatives, but some of the speakers demonstrated new, more progressive tactics to advance their agendas.
Leslee Unruh, of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, told of how she headed a successful bid to ban abortion in South Dakota by reframing the debate as a feminist issue.
"We're not saying 'abortion is wrong,'" she said. "We're taking women by the hand and saying 'let us help you.' The days of standing by abortion clinics with pictures of dead babies, that's over."
Later, at a "Homosexuality and Ministry" panel, Nancy Heche, mother of actress Anne Heche, counseled a man not to confront his gay relative.
Just bless him and pray for him, she said.
After lunch, Harris took the podium in a conference room to a standing ovation, telling the crowd it was "glorious to actually be here in Florida."
Harris, whose public appearances have been scarce since her losing bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006, said later that she has been traveling and taking care of her family.
Speaking at an auctioneer's pace, she advised the audience on what to expect if they ran for office.
"I come before you not as an exemplar of Christian citizenship, but as one who has learned lessons from the fire," she said.
Prepare to be attacked in the press and to feel the burden of responsibility, she said.
She told them to educate themselves on the upcoming presidential race, but not to read newspapers. "They're not going to write stories in the newspapers that are news, they'll editorialize," she said.
Schindler also spoke, saying that he saw Roe vs. Wade as having laid the groundwork for his sister's death in the emotionally charged fight over the decision to withhold life support measures from the comatose woman.
"If we don't value the sanctity of human life, how can we value anything?" he asked.
Sprinkled amongst the conservative audience were a few on the other side of the cultural divide, among them Phyllis Hunt, pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa.
She said the experience was educational. She had even bought some books.
Someday, she said, she hoped there could be reconciliation between conservative and liberal Christians.
"This is a group of people that's defining and deciding what Christian moral values are, and who is Christian," she said. "But when you strip away all of Christian rhetoric, ... the most fundamental principle of all Christianity is love."