Brian Johnson | Minneapolis | Religion

Judge: Anti-Gay Pastor Can Distribute Bibles At Pride Event


Earlier this week Twin Cities Pride organizers filed an injunction to prevent anti-gay Wisconsin evangelist Brian Johnson from distributing Bibles during this weekend's gay Pride celebration. The organization spent $36,000 to secure Loring Park for the event. A federal judge heard the case yesterday and his verdict did not favor Twin Cities Pride.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on the ruling handed down by Judge John Tunheim:

Tunheim wrote: "The court's task here is to balance these competing interests to the greatest extent possible--to enable all speakers to exercise their constitutional rights--and then to depend on reasonable and law-abiding people to stay within proper limits."

He wrote that although festival organizers are entitled to decide who may be sponsors and exhibitors, Johnson, 53, of Hayward, Wis., is entitled to speak and hand out literature in a public park. He called these "quintessential activities protected by the First Amendment, so long as he remains undisruptive."

He suggested festival organizers could designate "free speech zones" where people could distribute materials and could prohibit such distribution elsewhere in the park, as long as people could still speak their minds anywhere on festival grounds.

Eileen Scallen, co-counsel for Twin Cities Pride, said free-speech zones are "not a practical solution." She said organizers met with the city Park and Recreation Board after the order was issued and are confident few security issues will arise.

Johnson plans to hand out Bibles at the event alongside his wife.

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  1. Someone should stand next to them with a barrel and a sign - "Collecting Bibles for Burning".

    Posted by: Ron | Jun 26, 2010 2:08:41 PM

  2. I say let them hand out the bibles. Who really cares? The ATL has to deal with these nutjobs every Pride and while the signs can be offensive, they are always on good behavior so as not to be thrown out. Big deal. Let them exercise their first amendment right. Any gay theologians attending the event, feel free to take them on. Otherwise, have a good time, take a bible and throw it in the trash.

    Posted by: Keith | Jun 26, 2010 2:11:51 PM

  3. Is that judge a Bush appointee? "Free speech zones", if you zone it off it isn't free. Why did they even try to stop this guy? If he gets disruptive, eject him otherwise just ignore him.

    Posted by: M. Bergeron | Jun 26, 2010 2:12:22 PM

  4. what needs to happen, then, is that at the next fundie rally or private event that they pay money to obtain the use of public space for, people should be handing out pro-gay literature. Apparently it's okay to disrupt a pride festival because it's about gay rights and has gay people there...whereas if it were the st. patrick's day parade...well, that's different somehow...because they're straight. Justice is broken.

    And yes, recycle these bibles as soon as his stock is depleted right in front of him...

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 26, 2010 2:15:30 PM

  5. Oh, and ignoring these people doesn't work. Don't ignore a's not gonna make him or her go away...ever. Make it extremely unpleasant for him, though. Chant bigot.

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 26, 2010 2:17:26 PM

  6. and an observation would be that the KKK and other hate groups simply don't have the spine to do something like this during, say, the million man march, or parade their hatred in areas where there is a large black population. You know why? They know that if they were to, they'd be killed... That kind of fear is useful, and perhaps these bigots need a little of it, for they have no fear of pulling stunts like this regularly.

    The reason why allies and lgbt people won't be handing out anything pro gay at the next fundotard event held on public space is because of fear...that these whackos will take action and harm them...why isn't the same for our community? Why don't they also share that fear at a PRIDE FESTIVAL (of all places....concentrated lgbt)...just sayin' since we aren't going to change minds and win hearts with this crowd, it's best to make them want to avoid us altogether.

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 26, 2010 2:23:13 PM

  7. "Don't ignore a's not gonna make him or her go away...ever."

    You are so right Tank because we have been trying to ignore you for quite sometime now but yet here you still are.......

    Just what will it take to make you go away for ever?

    Posted by: Derek | Jun 26, 2010 2:45:02 PM

  8. Every gay person in and around this man's church should attend for the next few Sundays and hand out PRIDE literature.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jun 26, 2010 2:46:29 PM

  9. If someone rents out a space from the city, it's no longer considered "public". If you rent out a pavilion at your city park, no one has the right to crash your birthday celebration because they want to preach the bible to you. If they did, you'd call the police, and they'd be arrested.

    I see no difference between this and the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jun 26, 2010 2:47:00 PM

  10. I like the idea of some cross-dressing nuns following them around with that sign about collecting books for burning. Although, I would rather they NOT actually burn them as I am sure there are some gay christians that may not enjoy seeing that. I am NOT Christian, but I do realize not ALL Christians are our enemy and that some of them are us.

    But the shadowing of the 'sermonizers' with the nuns and the sign should get the point across. Have as many people as possible take the books just to put them in the bin with them standing there!

    Posted by: princely54 | Jun 26, 2010 2:55:27 PM

  11. You know what really gets people's goats? It's a bit second-grade, but very effective. Remember how annoying it was to have your younger sibling "copycatting" you? Get a spate of drag queens, in shifts, to shadow him and his wife (dressed like her, if possible!) and copycat him, word for word, at the same volume. See how his bigotry sounds to him coming from someone else's mouth. You could also have a contest for building structures out of the bibles and literature they pass out.

    Posted by: JT | Jun 26, 2010 3:11:13 PM

  12. "I see no difference between this and the St. Patrick's Day Parade."

    Yeah; haven't there been rulings about St. Patrick's Day parades that suggest the exact opposite of this ruling? That St. Paddy's day parades-- even when they're conducted on public streets-- don't have to include people with a pro-gay message if the folks in charge wish to keep them out?

    Is this yet another example of the eternal "gay exception" when it comes to U.S. law?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 26, 2010 3:19:14 PM

  13. If he can pass them out, then I can burn them in front of him, right?

    Posted by: gayalltheway | Jun 26, 2010 3:52:55 PM

  14. You took the words right out of my keypad, Ron! Grab up all thsoe bibles, make a nice pile in front of the creeps and set those bibles ablaze.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 26, 2010 4:09:48 PM

  15. Go to their churches and hand out copies of "Daddy's Roomate" and "Heather has Two Mommies" to their kids.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 26, 2010 4:13:01 PM

  16. No, no. You should take his bible. Ask him if he believes that it’s a guide to everything he does in his life and in his marriage. Then open it up to “Song of Songs” 5:4, and read out the passage. If it’s The King James version it reads:

    “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.”

    If it’s the New American, they cowardly replaced bowels with heart. (I wouldn’t want them doing my surgery).
    Then ask him if he fist fucks his wife or if she fist fucks him. It is the word of God after all.
    Then see where the discussion goes from there.

    Posted by: matthew | Jun 26, 2010 4:22:59 PM

  17. When can we set David Ehrenscunt ablaze?

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Jun 26, 2010 4:40:58 PM

  18. take a bible and rip it up in front of them.

    Posted by: Alex | Jun 26, 2010 5:15:59 PM

  19. Freedom of expression doesn't mean "freedom to hear only what I want to hear."

    It's hypocritical for LGBTQ people to demand equal rights while supporting organizations like Twin Cities Pride, which has attempted to deny them to others. The organization is a disgrace.

    Posted by: Bryan Harrison | Jun 26, 2010 5:26:54 PM

  20. I hope he enjoys the parade!!

    Posted by: chris | Jun 26, 2010 5:36:48 PM

  21. I agree with a good old fashion book burning, but instead of passing out just gay lit, pass out condoms, they hate that.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Jun 26, 2010 5:39:08 PM

  22. certainly are good at talking reckless online. So, are you really ready to rumble with the bible thumpers? Then log the F off, roll up your sleeves buddy, and go kick some serious A. "We" are all right behind you, especially Black gays since according to you they are "killers," right? 'SMH'

    Posted by: yeahisaidit | Jun 26, 2010 5:54:14 PM

  23. Wow. Shocking. Another hate preaching kkkristinista spreading his hate rhetoric under the banner of "free speech". Some of the suggestions in this blog are actually very creative and can be very effective. The drag idea is brillant, the condoms always make the religious zealots just SQUIRM with discomfort. Too bad they're not coming to San Francisco so I could bring a few of my sexy friends,get nearly naked,make out and show tons of physical displays of affection while burning those fucking worthless myth bibles right in front of their bigoted,hateful faces!

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jun 26, 2010 5:57:12 PM

  24. Great. So he won't mind if a few hundred of us drop in Sunday to hand out "The Joy of Gay Sex" books to his parishioners at this church, right?

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 26, 2010 6:11:34 PM

  25. Only a whacked out consumate victim would label me a racist for stating a fact. A public klan rally in south central or harlem would result in a body count.

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 26, 2010 6:13:51 PM

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