Politically Incorrect

Fort Lauderdale's mayor packs a pistol, opposes gay rights, and hopes to hang 'em high

(Hanbury, now a top administrator at Nova Southeastern University, denies Naugle's accusations. "I've been gone two years, and he still seems to enjoy making false allegations against me," he says.)
You never shy away from a fight.
That's not true. I choose my fights. There are too many battles and not enough hours in the day.
Tell me about your mentor, Bob Cox.
Bob served in the city for 20-some years. In 1988 he became mayor, and he retired in 1991, which was when I ran for mayor. He was a person who would speak his mind regardless of the political consequences, and I think people respected him for that. And he said some things that were misunderstood. He was famous for some of his quotes.
He once told a fourth-grade class that all they needed to become mayor was to be "free, white, and 21."
Back in the old days, that was something common to say. As soon as he said it, he caught himself, and then he gave this beautiful speech about how any one of the kids, black or white, could be mayor or President of the United States some day.
He wanted to douse dumpsters with kerosene to keep homeless people from eating out of them.
He said kerosene, but he meant bleach. People say, "Oh poisoning garbage." He just meant Clorox or something like that. He said that Fort Lauderdale shouldn't be a mecca for gay tourists any more than it should be a mecca for vomiting college students. [Laughs.]
You were the lone vote on the Fort Lauderdale commission in support of the Boy Scout policy that excludes gays. Why?
Scouting has been a successful program. It's been around for almost 100 years, and I think it's a shame that it's under attack right now.
And you agree with the policy?
Yeah. Just like with the military. I think it's a commonsense policy that they have, and I don't think it should be tinkered with. I think the welfare of the kids is best determined by their parents. The Scouts have this policy, and I don't want to second-guess them. I don't think the Boy Scouts have said anything I disagree with.
Do you ever fear that gays and lesbians might organize to unseat you?
If I lose votes because of it, so be it. I have supporters in the city, both gay and straight. But my belief that homosexuality is a sin -- if people don't agree, I live with that. I don't have any hatred for people who are gay.
Do you believe that sodomy laws should be enforced?

So homosexuality is a criminal act?
What causes you to believe this?
My religious beliefs say it's a sin. But I'm tolerant of people. None of us are without sin. We've all done things from time to time that we would not be proud of.
Isn't your stance on gays intolerant?
Intolerance would be if you were homophobic and didn't want to have anything to do with any gay people and condemned them. Throughout my career, I haven't been that way. I am certain I have some supporters out there in the gay community.
Should gays be allowed to teach in public schools?
Public schools have a policy that says that's not a problem. I wouldn't want private or religious schools to be forced to have a different policy. Who knows what's next? There's always home schooling.
Have you fallen behind mainstream society in terms of gay issues?
I don't think I'm out of mainstream America. I think my beliefs are similar to most citizens today. Maybe it's a silent majority, but people don't feel that it's right.
OK, let's look at your friends. There's Bob Cox. There's Fred Guardabassi, who sent a letter to the Sun-Sentinel complaining about "fags" and "queers." And you've got Dr. D. James Kennedy, the reverend who basically believes that homosexuality leads to damnation.
Fred's been a leader in this community. I don't agree with everything he does or says, but I respect him just like I respect [gay-rights and city activist] Robin Bodiford. Ask Robin what kind of mayor she thinks I've been.
I have. She agrees with most everything you do, but she wants you out of office anyway because of your views on homosexuality. Have you ever used the word fag?
I don't know if I've ever used it or not. Look at the word gay. Fort Lauderdale in 1963 had an advertising campaign that said, "Fort Lauderdale: The gay place to visit."

Rachel picks something up from a counter. "That's your menorah," Naugle explains. "There're eight candles, and the middle one is to light the other candles, and it represents the eight days of the oil burning."

Mayor Naugle (with daughter Rachel in city hall) is putting all his might -- and his bogus standing as a Democrat -- into putting another Bush in the White House
Colby Katz
Mayor Naugle (with daughter Rachel in city hall) is putting all his might -- and his bogus standing as a Democrat -- into putting another Bush in the White House
"I was very much in awe of my father," says the mayor (pictured here as a young boy)
"I was very much in awe of my father," says the mayor (pictured here as a young boy)


e-mail Jim Naugle: mayorjames@aol.com

You're a hard-core Christian, yet you're raising your daughter as a Jew. Tell me about that.
My wife is Jewish, and she wants Rachel to be raised in the Jewish faith. I respect that. We discussed this when we got married. Our marriage ceremony was performed by a minister and a rabbi. I don't see a conflict. I love my wife very much and accept that she has a different faith. It's important to her.
But Jews don't believe in Jesus, and you believe Jesus is the key to salvation.
[Laughs.] But they do believe that homosexuality is a sin. It wasn't that difficult for me, really. I just feel it's something that people need to reconcile in their own hearts.

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