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Media roundtable; PBS’ Samantha Brown visits St. Augustine

The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.
The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville
The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

The First Baptist Church in Jacksonville is now requiring congregants to sign a statement confirming that their views align with the church’s on the LGBTQ+ community.

In a video message posted on the church’s website, Senior Pastor Heath Lambert said members will have to sign a document affirming that people are “either male or female and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice,” and that “marriage … is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression.”

Members have until March 19 to sign the document to avoid any “interruption” of their membership.

The First Baptist Church has a long history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights, according to reporting from First Coast News. The church opposed the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, for example, which made it illegal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the context of employment, public accommodations and housing.

City Council targets hate speech

A new law in Jacksonville will make it illegal to project unauthorized signs or messages onto public or private buildings without the owner’s permission.

This is in response to a series of racist and antisemitic displays that have been spotted around Jacksonville in recent months.

The City Council approved the legislation 18-1 on Tuesday after an emotional debate over two identical bills.

Classroom libraries under scrutiny

First school libraries were under scrutiny. Now classroom libraries are as well, thanks to a new state law that requires review of books by media specialists, or librarians, to ensure they’re age-appropriate and not pornographic.

With the new law carrying a potential third-degree felony charge, some teachers are preemptively covering their books.

Southbank development canceled

The Downtown Investment Authority has canceled a deal with the Related Group for a Southbank apartment complex at the former River City Brewing site after the Miami-based developer said high interest rates and construction costs made the project unfeasible.


PBS’ Samantha Brown visits St. Augustine

In a new episode of "Places to Love," PBS host Samantha Brown visits St. Augustine.

The episode airs at 11 a.m. Saturday on Jax PBS 7.1 Comcast 8 and 440.

Guest: Samantha Brown.

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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.