Saturday, May 07, 2016

Church Sues Over Misrepresentation of Its Views On Same-Sex Marriage

A Hudsonville, Michigan church this week filed a false-light invasion of privacy lawsuit in Michigan state court against a gay rights activist whom it accuses of falsely representing that the church supports same-sex marriage. The complaint (full text) in Jenison Bible Church, Inc. v. VanderLey, (MI Cir. Ct., filed 5/3/2016), contends that when Bradlee Dean, a controversial Christian speaker opposed to same-sex marriage, was scheduled speak in the area, defendant Daniel VanderLey arranged a demonstration against him and sought to have local churches join it.  VanderLey sent demand letters to local churches, including Jenison Bible Church, telling them that unless they affirmatively opted out, VanderLey would arrange to have a sign saying that the church "stands for love not hate" displayed at the anti-Bradlee Dean rally.  The complaint contends that this public distortion of Jenison Bible Church's views on same-sex marriage and sexual immorality negatively impacts its ability to share the Gospel and damages its reputation in the eyes of other churches, it neighbors, and those potentially interested in joining the church. The suit seeks an injunction, a published retraction and a public apology. [Thanks to Brian D Wassom for the lead.]