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ADF Sues Michigan Group For Disrupting Church Services

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2009
Photo from the

The Alliance Defense Fund, an a Scottsdale-based anti-gay legal group, has filed a federal lawsuit against the “Bash Back!” anarchists who invaded a church during morning worship services near Lansing, Michigan. Here is the ADF’s statement:

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit in federal court Wednesday against a radical anarchist group that openly advocates the use of riots and crime to further its views in favor of homosexual behavior. ADF attorneys filed the suit on behalf of Delta Township\’s Mount Hope Church against the group “Bash Back!,” which invaded the church\’s building during a worship service on Nov. 9 of last year.

“The use of violent threats and criminal behavior to make a political point should never be acceptable in America,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “Bash Back! revealed how dangerous the homosexual agenda is to our First Liberty, religious freedom. ADF filed this suit to stop Bash Back! and other activist groups from invading churches, disrupting worship, silencing pastors, and terrifying adults and children who attend religious services.”

A local news account of what happened is here. The ADF cites a clause of the “Freedom to Access To Clinics Act,” which was intended to protect those who provide or obtain abortions. That clause also protects places of worship by prohibiting actions by anyone who:

(2) by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship;

What “Bash Back!” did was clearly inexcusable and against the law. It was also abyslmally stupid. My dad used to tell me that even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think this is the first time I’ve ever said this about the ADF, but the ADF and Mount Hope Church are very much in the right. “Bash Back!” clearly and deliberately violated Mount Hope’s First Amendment rights and should be held accountable for it.



May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Not that I am supporting this group but I wonder if any of the church members realize that what they felt that morning many young gay people feel every day of their lives.

May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Unfortunately, the anti-gays will use this as further ammunition on how much we “hate” Christians and will do everything we can to destroy society. For our part there will be some hand wringing for a while to see who will say what. While I am not condoning what they did, do these people get nervous when a certain Kansas group pickets funerals? I guess I am a little tired of us not being able to just say, “These people do NOT represent the gay community. We are just as appalled by their behavior as you are. Stop trying to make it seem that they are only following “the gay agenda”.”.

May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Is Bash Back a gay advocacy group, an anachist group, or both?

Please don’t tell me they are are members of some anarco-sydicalist commune.

a. mcewen
May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Bash Back means nothing to me. It’s a counterproductive group of pseudo revolutionaries who does the lgbt community more harm than good. It’s transitory visibility at its worse. I hope we do what we can to distinguish legitimate lgbt groups from this group.

Rick in Kansas
May 15th, 2009 | LINK

Given the ADF’s string of losses in challenging NY Gov. Patterson’s executive order recognizing out of state same sex marriages, the “good christian lawyers” really need a win against teh gays to bolster their flagging image. So why not take on such an easy case as this? They aren’t likely to get a dime out of the community’s version of wannabe anarchists, but they get a nice symbolic victory of defending this “poor beseiged church” against the evil homoSEXuals and that can’t hurt in their own fundraising efforts.

May 15th, 2009 | LINK

One of the fun things about Bash Back is that they are anti-gay marriage activists. Straight (pun intended) from their myspace page…

“State recognition in the form of oppressive institutions such as marriage and militarism are not steps toward liberation but rather towards heteronormative assimilation.”

Personally I think we need to make very clear that they are Maggie Gallagher’s problem, not ours.

May 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’d love to see those pink-hooded fools try to pull that in a black church in a black neighborhood.

May 16th, 2009 | LINK

I totally agree that Bash Back was in the wrong, but just as a point of clarification, they can’t violate a chruch’s first amendment rights. The first amendment guarantees the freedom to practice religion free from government interference.

Saying Bash Back violated the church’s first amendment rights buys into the same line of reasoning that allows any people like Carrie Prejean to say their first amendment rights are violated because others disagree with them.

May 16th, 2009 | LINK

I’m not supporting the actions of Bash Back. However I find it ironic the ADF is suing citing a law they and their ilk commonly claim violates their “religious freedoms” since it requires them to remain a certain distance from clinics and women seeking reproductive health care services. (Apparently it’s necessary to make physical contact with a woman to “provide abortion alternatives” and they pine for the good old days when they could get right into a woman’s face and beat the Love Of God into her. )

Timothy (TRiG)
May 18th, 2009 | LINK

Interrupting church services was a part of the Suffragette Movement.


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