By Todd A. Heywood July 13, 2011 Washington Independent
The U.S. District Court for Western Michigan has issued an order in the civil lawsuit against a radical gay rights group that disrupted a Lansing church service in 2008.
The court issued the order Monday against members of both the Bash Back! Lansing group and the national affiliate. Under the order, members are:
1. permanently enjoined from entering any of Mount Hope Church and International Outreach Ministry’s property without written consent from a member of Plaintiff’s pastoral staff, and from harassing or intimidating any of Mount Hope’s church members or staff;
2. permanently enjoined from disrupting a religious service anywhere in the United States by shouting, yelling, throwing objects, unfurling a banner or displaying any other sign not approved by the church, or by otherwise causing a disturbance. The Defendants shall retain their right to engage in lawful First Amendment speech in a public forum;
3. permanently enjoined from conducting a protest on the private property of any place of worship in the United States;
4. permanently enjoined from blocking, impeding, or making unreasonably difficult ingress or egress to entrances and/or exits of any place of worship in the United States;
5. permanently enjoined from blocking, impeding, or making unreasonably difficult ingress or egress onto property by vehicular or pedestrian traffic at any place of worship in the United States; and
6. permanently enjoined from destroying property at any place of worship in the United States.
The order comes nearly two and half years after activists from the two radical gay rights groups infiltrated and disrupted a service at Mt Hope Church in Lansing. The church is a charismatic congregation which has long drawn the ire of the gay community for its advocacy against LGBT people. In an interview with Between the Lines, a spokesperson who would only provide a first name of Andy, explained the protest:
“Direct action makes people nervous, just like direct confrontation makes people nervous,” he said of the reaction to Sunday’s protest. “This is the group who won’t let people get away with that. This church actively teaches hatred. It actively teaches organizing to brainwash queer people back into the closet, ruining their lives and ruining their families. And we’re not going to stand for that. We’re not going to stand by and just talk about how we don’t like it – we’re going to go and actually do something about it.”
The church service disruption drew the wrath of the right wing, and landed the incident on the O’Reilly Factor.
The protests have been characterized as violent by some right wing pundits, however, all the protesters did was unfurl a banner, chant and at one point, two kissed at the front of the assembly. There was also a protest occurring outside the church as well.
Current Fox News Contributor and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee brought the incident up in an interview with Michigan Messenger, pointing to it as an example of violence of gay rights advocates. During that same conversation, he admitted it was not a violent protest as he alleged.
The church filed suit against the groups and its members under the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or the FACE Act. Mt. Hope was represented by the conservative legal group the Alliance Defense Fund.