by Andy Birkey | June 29, 2009 • A Wisconsin couple was arrested on Saturday
for distributing bibles without permission at Twin Cities Pride, Minnesota's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender celebration. After Brian and Doris Johnson, self-described "born-again Christians," were denied a vendor table at the festival, the couple took matters into their own hands and began distributing bibles. When they were told by police to stop because they were in violation of festival rules, the couple continued and were arrested on trespassing charges.
|Andy Birkey lives in Minneapolis. He is an LGBT community advocate and blogs on politcial, social, and community issues. Read his blog at Eleventh Avenue South |
The Johnsons have hosted a table at the festival for more than a decade, displaying models of aborted fetuses and signs with bible verses. While they don't have signs criticizing LGBT people, they would often engage festival goers in heated conversations homosexuality. The couple told WCCO on Friday
that they "believe homosexuality is a sin and God has sent them to share that message."
Because the couple often sparked controversy and arguments, the organizers of Twin Cities Pride denied them a table this year.
"It is not, in our belief, discrimination, certainly not," said Twin Cities Pride chair David Hill. "If anything, we're worried about being discriminated against at our own event."