Anita Bryant Goes Dancing

By Tom Moody

Anita Bryant Is Upset By Photo Of Her At Disco

Singer Anita Bryant was “rather upset” when a photograph of her dancing with a minister was distributed, the minister said.

“It was the first time Anita has ever gone to a disco, and she was exploited in it,” said the Rev. Russ McCraw of Montgomery, Ala., a close friend. “She’d like to have her privacy like anyone.”

Miss Bryant, 42, who opposed gay rights in Florida, was visiting friends in Atlanta when she and McCraw went dancing.

McCraw, who serves homosexuals, said he and Miss Bryant were “just having a good time” when they stopped briefly at the night spot. Louisville Times 6-29-82

In view of the fact that many religious people, including some Christians, try to defend dancing, this news clipping raises an interesting question: Why was it “newsworthy” that Anita Bryant was seen dancing?

A few years ago, Anita Bryant was receiving national attention (and often, ridicule) for some of the forthright moral stands she was taking. She made no secret of her religious and moral beliefs. Her career was probably severely damaged by her stand. She was recognized by many as a symbol of morality and decency.

Now, even though she has discontinued her crusade, and apparently compromised some of her former principles, it was still considered an oddity and a news event when Anita Bryant went dancing. It was not preachers, elders, or other “super-righteous prudes” who saw this as news, but the wire service and the newspaper editors. Could it be that people of the world see dancing as a contradiction in the life of someone who claims to be upright and pure in thoughts and actions? (Even though some members of the church seem not to realize this.)

Would it have made the news if Anita Bryant had been seen eating dinner with someone? What if she had been seen playing putt-putt golf, or going -to a Walt Disney movie or riding a bicycle? Would these activities have been reported to the nation? But she went dancing. This was news, because it seems unusual for someone who is supposed to be of high moral character.

The definitions of “lasciviousness” include: “indecent bodily movements” and “unchaste handling of males and females” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, pp. 79-80). Who can deny that this describes modern dancing? Lasciviousness is condemned in the word of God as a “work of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) and is closely associated with fornication and uncleanness (Mark 7:21-22; 2 Corinthians 12:21).

Guardian of Truth XXVII: 6, p. 203
April 7, 1983