Forty-three years ago today: The headline blared: “National ‘Gay’ Group Active in Ft. Valley,” Macon Herald, (Thursday, March 20, 1975): 1. The Birchite paper quoted Presiding Bishop James Dees, Anglican Orthodox Church, suggesting that my husband Ernest Clay and I had caused a local tornado.
We did. That’s queer power for you! We took good aim too, taking the steeple off the white Baptist church whose pastor had excoriated us.
A dean and colleague at Fort Valley State University lived next door. He said that with credentials like that I should apply to head the school’s Department of Agriculture. A friend asked Ernest and me to kiss in her garden so that her greens would grow.
The funny bone of most citizens atrophied. The following year the vestry of my parish asked me to “find some other place to worship.” I explained that I was there not at their invitation, but at the invitation of the Lord of the feast. Sunday after Sunday the vicar refused to share The Peace with me, and the Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta summoned me for discipline saying that I was “disturbing the peace and good order of the church.”
My friend Father Richard Younge in San Jose, California warned me not to get a big head about this attention: “It takes no special magic to cause a tornado in central Georgia. Instead, try making rain in the Mojave Desert.”
“Happy are you when people shall say all manner of evil about you falsely regarding your faith in me. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”