Organizers for the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Ocean City, Md. are refusing to cancel their scheduled keynote speaker, despite protests by several groups who disagree with his views on Islam, which some describe as extreme.
U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Jerry Boykin first made headlines in 2003 after an investigation by the U.S. Defense Department determined that controversial remarks he made while in uniform casting the war on terror in religious terms violated numerous regulations.
After retiring in 2007, Boykin became a public speaker and has gone as far as to accuse President Obama of creating a "Hitler-style" militia to force Marxism on the American People "and he's made numerous disparaging comments about muslims and the Islamic faith such as this one from 2010: "It should not be protected under the first amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran have an obligation to destroy our constitution and replace it with Sharia law."
More than 700 emails have reportedly been sent to Mayor Rick Meehan and members of the Ocean City Council asking them to un-invite General William Jerry Boykin to the privately sponsored event at the Clarion Hotel. They say it sends the wrong message to potential visitors to the tourist town.
The groups People for the American Way and the Council on American-Islamic Relations have both taken umbrage with Boykin's scheduled appearance, and contest that even though the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast has nothing to do with the town of Ocean City, the Mayor and the resort are inadvertently endorsing what they call "the General's hate filled rhetoric" by allowing him to appear.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says the privately-sponsored prayer breakfast has never received negative attention in its 20 year history, but says he's been assured the General will stay on message Thursday morning, and that Boykin has not said anything controversial in his recent public appearences.