Friday, July 06, 2012

Minneapolis Bible Ban at Gay Pride Day Lifted

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Brian Johnson, a Christian evangelist and taxidermist from Hayward, WI, a last-minute temporary injunction allowing him to distribute Bibles and deliver the Gospel's saving message to homosexuals at the Twin Cities Pride Festival -- an annual event at Loring Park in Minneapolis, MN.

For background, read Judge Rules Christians Arrested, Now Free to Evangelize and previously Christians Arrested at Twin Cities Homosexual Festival

-- From "Man wins last-minute appeal to distribute Bibles at Pride" by Jim Adams, Minneapolis Star Tribune 6/24/12

His legal route back to the park was convoluted. Festival organizers' attempts to ban Johnson from the park had resulted in a Minneapolis Park Board plan to restrict his Bible distribution to a booth on the edge of the festival. Two weeks ago, his request for an injunction against that ban was denied by a U.S. District Court judge.

But Johnson's attorneys immediately filed an emergency appeal, saying the Park Board's plan violated his constitutional right to free speech in a public place. They asked for a quick decision, one in time for the upcoming Pride Festival.

On Thursday, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction that allowed Johnson full access to the park Sunday, said his attorney, Jonathan Scruggs of the Alliance Defense Fund of Memphis, which defends religious liberties. Scruggs said the appeal will be argued in federal court to determine whether Johnson has access to future Pride Festivals.

Johnson's lawsuit said he has distributed Bibles at the annual event since 1995 and had no problems until 2009, when the organization refused to rent him a booth after an exchange about his views on homosexuality.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court Allows Man to Distribute Bibles at Gay Pride Festival" by Jeff Schapiro, Christian Post Reporter 6/25/12

"[The festival officials] did not like his beliefs regarding homosexual conduct and the Bible and they rejected his application," Jonathan Scruggs, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney working on Johnson's case, told The Christian Post on Monday.

Instead of getting a booth, Johnson tried to distribute Bibles while walking around the park during the event in 2010, but was arrested for doing so. After receiving a letter from the ADF explaining why it was Johnson's constitutional right to distribute literature on public land, the MPRB agreed and allowed him to do so once again.

But Pride Fest officials countered by filing a lawsuit, which resulted in a settlement between the MPRB and Pride Fest organizers in which special zones were created where people could distribute literature. Scruggs says, however, that the compromise wasn't fair to Johnson.

The physical zones that were established were outside of the event, and wouldn't have allowed Johnson to reach his "target audience," said Scruggs. Even worse, the compromise still restricted Johnson's free speech rights.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge says man can't hand out Bibles at Twin Cities Pride fest" by Dan Browning, Minneapolis Star Tribune 6/11/12

Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis issued a 41-page order [in early June] denying Brian Johnson's request for an injunction that would force the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to allow him unfettered access to the festival grounds, reasoning that his constitutional challenge was unlikely to succeed.

Dot Belstler, Twin Cities Pride's executive director, said the ruling came as welcome news.

Festival planners sued the Park Board in 2010, seeking an injunction that would head off Johnson's plans to return to the festival, but lost when U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ruled that a broad restriction based on the content of Johnson's speech would violate his rights under the First Amendment. He returned to the festival.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.