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Monday, July 21, 2008

Movement Arises to 'Pull Your Pants Up'

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Jul. 21 2008 09:10 AM EDT

For a small but increasing number of Americans, the song “Pull Your Pants Up!” by gospel rap artist Dooney “Da Priest” is not just a song.

“It’s a movement,” as the rapper told the Jackson Clarion Ledger of Mississippi last week after his album “Pull Your Pants Up!” released.

And with new laws recently passed or being considered in a handful of U.S. cities, it might be.

In the south Chicago suburb of Lynwood, village leaders have passed an ordinance that would levy $25 fines against anyone showing three inches or more of their underwear in public.

In Flint, Mich., the city’s police chief has directed his officers to arrest people wearing pants or shorts below their waists or buttocks, and issue misdemeanors, citing the city's disorderly conduct and indecent exposure laws.

And in Riviera Beach, Fla., local police are now able to act on the so-called "saggy pants" law that was put on the books in March after a legal glitch was fixed Wednesday night.

The southeast Florida city had adopted the controversial ordinance just months after nearby Opa-locka became one of the first U.S. cities to ban saggy pants in certain public facilities.

"It's going to be a new day, a great day," Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters told WPTV-Ch. 5. "We hope our young people have gotten the message loud and clear that it is against the law in this city to walk around indecently."

Some – such as the Rev. Jerry Young of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., where an ordinance has been proposed to make it illegal to wear pants below the waistline "as to expose one's underwear" – say it’s a matter of morality.

"It's indecent and improper and our wives, mothers, daughters and sisters in the community don't want to see it," he told the Clarion Ledger.

City Councilman Kenneth Stokes, who proposed the sagging ban in Jackson after talking with Young, further told the newspaper: "Young people are emulating the dope boys, gang bangers and criminals they see and the community doesn't want them to go down that road."

There are some, however, who oppose the “movement.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, for example, said the new policy in Flint gives police authority to conduct unconstitutional searches and seizures, promotes racial profiling, violates due process and interferes with individuals' freedom to express themselves in their appearance.

"Given that Flint has one of the highest crime rates in the country, you would think the police chief would be fighting crime instead of the latest fashion fad," said Michael J. Steinberg, legal director of the state ACLU, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In Jackson, high school senior Greg Sims told the local newspaper he thinks it is “foolish” that the city council is even considering the ban.

Bryan Collins, a sophomore at Holmes Community College in Jackson, also said he didn’t support the ban, though he agrees that those who “get outrageous with sagging” deserve to be fined.

Despite protests and opposition, radio personality Torrez Harris of Hallelujah 95.5 FM in Jackson, one of several radio stations across the nation that plays Dooney’s song, claims support for the “Pull Your Pants Up” movement is strong.

"For every negative person that calls in about the 'Pull Your Pants Up' song, at least 20 positive people call in support of the song and its message," he told the Clarion Ledger.

In South Carolina, the Jasper County Council's proposed sagging pants ban will be up for public discussion Monday during a public hearing and second reading.

The proposed ordinance would ban anyone from wearing their pants more than 3 inches below their hips "and thereby exposing his or her skin or intimate clothing."

The ordinance carries a maximum penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail, reported county attorney Marvin Jones, according to the local Beaufort Gazette.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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