Federal Court Affirms Christian’s Right to Distribute Bibles at Homosexual Pride Festival

Born again Bible pdST. PAUL — The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the right of a Minnesota Christian to distribute Bibles at Twin Cities Pride Fest, a celebration of homosexuality held each year in Minneapolis.

In 2012, the Minnesota Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) had issued a regulation prohibiting literature distribution during the free festival, which is held in Loral Park, a public area that is open for all to utilize. The rule thus barred Brian Johnson, an area Christian who sought to evangelize at the event, from distributing Bibles to attendees as he had planned.

According to the new restrictions, Johnson had the choice of either giving away Bibles outside of the festival in a free speech zone, or leave the copies at a “material drop” area within the festival for attendees to take if desired.

Frustrated with the prohibition, Johnson contacted the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) to request assistance. Attorney Nate Kellum then filed for a federal injunction, seeking an exemption for Johnson during the 2012 and 2013 events. Kellum had argued in legal briefs that the area designated for literature distribution outside of the festival was largely vacant and unfrequented, and that the material drop area was unmarked and thus unknown to attendees.

The injunction had to be appealed to the 8th Circuit as U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis ruled that the MPRB provided “ample alternative channels of communication” for Johnson to share his message. He noted that Johnson could still hold signs at the festival and talk to attendees, as well as advise them that he had left Bibles in the material drop area.

Last year, the 8th Circuit agreed with Kellum and reversed Davis’ denial of the preliminary injunction, allowing Johnson to attend the 2012 and 2013 Pride Fest events. On Wednesday, after fully reviewing the matter on its merits, the court remanded the case back to Davis for a final ruling in accordance with its findings, advising that it believed the MPRB rules would have caused Johnson “a loss of First Amendment freedoms” if the injunction was not granted.

In a 2-1 decision, Judges Steven Colloton and Roger Wollman, appointed by George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan respectively, rejected the claims of the MPRB, which asserted that the restriction served to prevent congestion and ensure safety at the festival. Colloton and Wollman opined that the rule served no legitimate government interest, but rather was an unconstitutional infringement upon Johnson’s freedom of religious expression.

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The dissenting justice, Kermit Bye, appointed by Bill Clinton, stated that he understood the board’s desire to “maintain an orderly flow of people,” and found the regulation to be reasonable.

“We are pleased that the appellate court recognizes the fundamental freedoms at stake for Johnson,” Kellum commented in a news release announcing the victory. “In a public place during an event open to the public, Johnson has every right to share his views and contribute to the marketplace of ideas – just like everyone else.”

Kellum said the court’s decision will now clear the way for Johnson to freely distribute Bibles at future Twin Cities Pride events.

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  • michael falsia

    I am always asked what gives me the right to impose my beliefs on others? My answer is always what gives you the right to restrict what others may want to hear and decide for themselves? This stupidity that we cannot approach others with ideas that others find offensive is itself an intrusion and encroachment upon the rights and liberties of others! It is in effect a subtle form of discrimination and tyranny! For example when those who were delivered from the grip of homosexuality by the power of the gospel and whose lives have been restored to the God ordained natural state of proper gender relations usually have a burden and heart concern for those who are enslaved to this sin in particular. Not that this sin is any more compulsive than other sexual sins or any beseting sin for that matter, but because of the nature of homosexuality both morally and psychologically as it effects the very nature of man and woman inextricably linked to person-hood does this loom ever so large among those who genuinely struggle with this problem. In many cases those who have experienced conversion and sexual restoration reach out in ministry to this segment of our population only to be met with fierce opposition from those who have taken it upon themselves to prevent such ministries from making any effort to address the gay community as if they have the authority to determine what others of their own kind should be exposed to? If a fellow homosexual dares to seek out counsel from Christian ministries etc. very often they become subject to some of the most cruel and vehement hatred from their peers. In other words they reserve the right to dictate what others should feel about their own private sexuality. And anyone who dares to question it is regarded as a traitor and an enemy to that community! Defectors are intolerable and they wish to obliterate even the right of those to even think about homosexuality as immoral and unnatural insofar as it concerns themselves! Now who gives anyone such right and audacity? And yet it seems that certain people reserve the right to impose themselves in a way they forbid to others? This holds true in just about every area of human experience no different than those who cried for liberty and free speech during the 1960’s and who now are doing their utmost to suppress all those whose view of life differs drastically from theirs! The 60’s radicals are some of the most intolerant people you can meet today. So yes Christians have a right and obligation to pass out literature and Bibles to all and any who by their own volition desire to receive such materials and no one has the right to dictate what people can hear, study and decide for themselves! In New Jersey Governor Christie signed into law the prohibition for any Practitioner to offer services that would suggest that homosexuality is abnormal by offering treatment that would lead them into a heterosexual lifestyle? Even if it was sought voluntarily by one who wished to understand why they desired something that their mind tells them is absurd and distorted? Given the fact that many homosexuals admit that they can be attracted to the feminine gender and often are does raise a deeply legitimate concern and conflict within themselves. This also applies to the many factors that drive people into this practice which also contributes to personal inner conflict. But by a Government Fiat struggling homosexuals and lesbians are not allowed to seek treatment no matter how much they wish to overcome this personal trial! If that’s not cruel and inhumane I don’t know what is! This is why freedom is our most cherished commodity in a pluralistic society where relativism reigns supreme. Christians are not the only ones evangelizing society are they?