Federal Court Rules Against Lansing Gay Activist Group

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

It's November 9, 2008 and Sunday service at Delta Township's Mount Hope Church appears to be proceeding as usual.

But then several protestors disguised as members of the congregation suddenly stand up and start chanting "It's okay to be gay!". They then throw fliers into the crowd while two women in the group kiss just in front of the pastor's stage. A giant banner is unfurled from the balcony and one of the demonstrators pulls a fire alarm before leaving.

It was the work of gay activist group "Bash Back! Lansing". An internet post from the group days later says they targeted Mount Hope Church because of its use of "hell houses" around Halloween that featured anti-gay portrayals.

Mount Hope Church sued "Bash Back!" in federal court and two and a half years later it won the case.

Under the ruling which came down Monday, "Bash Back! Lansing" and its associated national group "Bash Back!" cannot protest inside of Mount Hope Church or any other place of worship in the country.

If the group violates the court's order, it is subject to fines of $10,000 and likely would be held in contempt of court.

Dale Schowengerdt with the Alliance Defense Fund, who represented Mount Hope Church in this case, told WILX the church was pleased with the ruling and expected it would deter similar protests in the future.

WILX attempted to contact "Bash Back! Lansing", "Bash Back!" and individual defendants listed in court documents, but some could not be reached for comment while others did not respond to requests for comment.

The WordPress blog page associated with "Bash Back!" appears to have been taken down sometime since the incident.

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  • by Mike Location: Lansing on Jul 14, 2011 at 09:23 AM
    While I agree this protest was a tad extreme, Jason and Scott did a great job of showing what a stereotypical homophobe is like. While everyone may not accept gays and lesbians refuring to them "as those people" and "sick idiots" will not stop these more extreme and more attention grabbing protest.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM
    I'm glad they won, this is a terrible way to try and make your point. I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I don't go around judging people. Don't be a hateful person by calling someone homophobic because of their beliefs.
  • by Cristy Location: Lansing on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM
    While I don't agree with what they did in the church, being a lesbian I don't agree with the hell houses the church puts on either. So I hope this brings attention to both sides. You shouldn't be act out in a church, you also shouldn't judge people.
  • by Lansing_Guy Location: East side on Jul 13, 2011 at 06:42 AM
    I'm all for gay rights but this is exactly the kind of idiocy that sets the movement back. Acting like a fool in front of people who think that you're a fool only reinforces that perception. I think the Mt. Hope Church does some ridiculous things, too, but it's their right to do so.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2011 at 05:45 AM
    Sorry but while I don't like the church either, the idiots were on the private property of the church. Really stupid move.
  • by Scott Location: Lansing on Jul 13, 2011 at 04:12 AM
    We have got to get these people under control.
  • by Jim on Jul 13, 2011 at 03:23 AM
    I’m sorry, but the protest just sounds like a stupid display in public. What did they expect to happen as a result? I don’t go to Mount Hope church, but I’m glad they won.
  • by Jason Location: Jackson on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:25 PM
    Good! Glad to hear it. Sick idiots.
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