MARCH 23: Rally for decency

decency1
ON THIS DATE
in 1969, seventeen-year-old Mike Levesque and other teenage members of his church discussion group hosted a Rally for Decency that brought 30,000 flag-waving youngsters to the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, for a celebration of God and Christian values. The rally was sparked by Levesque’s disgust with The Doors’ singer Jim Morrison, who had been arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior, indecent exposure, profanity, and drunkenness while performing in Miami 18 days earlier.

One of the event’s organizers, eighteen-year-old Julie James, claimed the rally wasn’t a protest, saying, “We’re not against something. We’re for something.” Still, announcements for the event decreed that “long-hairs and weird dressers” would not be welcome.

After the rally, Levesque received a letter of congratulations from President Nixon. The Freedoms Foundation National Awards Program in 1970 gave him its highest national honor and a cash award of $5,000.

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