A rock band with a powerful message to teens about making the right choices in their lives has overcome an Iowa town’s blackball attempt, and now is announcing a return to Dunkerton later this month.
The controversy erupted earlier this year when Junkyard Prophet, whose leader, Bradlee Dean, has the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministry, appeared at the local school.
WND reported at the time the resulting furor included a warning from the fire chief that he would close the town’s roads down in order to keep the band from returning.
Dean told WND the controversy erupted when media started reporting on the band’s visit. He contends that he and his band performed, presented their message of making good choices, visited with students and then left, without hearing any concerns.
He said complaints, like that from a mother who said, “They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42,” were based on distortions.
In fact, Jake MacAulay, a spokesman for the band, had said that the average age of death of a homosexual male is 42 years.
Now, according to a statement from the ministry, Dean will return to Dunkerton for a speaking event at the city’s library during the Dunkerton Days fest on July 28.
The event will begin at 2 p.m. and space is limited.
The discussion was scheduled after the city tried to ban members of the ministry team from returning.
“After inquiry by a national First Amendment/religious freedom organization, cooler heads prevailed, and the city agreed not to censor Bradlee Dean,” the group has announced. “The past distortion will be dealt with at a speaking event to take place during the Dunkerton Days celebration at the Dunkerton City Library on July 28th, 2012.”
“Agree with Bradlee or not, it matters to everyone when all government-sponsored speaking venues in an entire town, including the school district, refuse to rent meeting space to a group because of its beliefs and message,” said a statement from the ministry.
The city reversed its position when officials with Liberty Counsel wrote the city, pointing out that the law did not allow officials to censor someone based on their opinions or perspective.
“Religious speech is not a First Amendment orphan – it is just as protected as any other speech,” said Richard Mast, an attorney with Liberty Council, in a statement. “When a government entity creates a forum ostensibly available to all, it can’t suddenly retract the welcome mat because it disagrees with the speaker’s message.”
He said what Dunkerton had done was “a clear-cut case of viewpoint discrimination.”
When Dean decided to book the library for a followup community event to clear up misunderstandings about the school event, which touched both on homosexuality and abortion, he found that the city initially agreed to rent to the library space available to the public.
But when a representative of Dean’s ministry drove to the library to sign the use agreement, the city officials said they had changed their minds and the offer of the library was withdrawn.
That’s when Liberty Counsel got involved and suggested the city make the facility available on a basis that did not include viewpoint discrimination.
The messages presented to the Dunkerton students included that from the following video about homosexuality:
MacAulay quoted rock singer Elton John, a superstar for many young people, who said, “There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with someone of your own sex. I think people should be very free with sex. They should draw the line at goats.”
MacAuley pointed out that John’s moral standard would “draw the line” at bestiality.
He told students, “You can make the right choice.”
Another video shows the band addressing abortion:
Showing an image of an aborted child, MacAuley talked about Planned Parenthood, the largest player in the nation’s abortion industry, and said, “That’s how much they care about that baby.”
“I just wanted to show you both sides,” he said. “If it’s so good and healthy [we should] show people what it is.”
Dean, who has appeared at hundreds of forums with his message of making the right choices, told WND that he had appeared at the same school years earlier and was invited back.
Controversy is not new for Dean. WND reported earlier when he wrote to Barack Obama, asking him to help restore the high standard of biblical marriage – a bedrock of society for millennia – to the nation.
In response, Obama, who has openly promoted homosexuality and other alternative sexual lifestyle choices at every opportunity in the Oval Office, said he appreciated Dean’s “perspective.” He said he takes such opinions “seriously.”
“Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead,” he wrote.
WND also previously reported on Dean’s dispute with Rachel Maddow and MSNBC, documenting when Maddow was served with a lawsuit over her statements.
The lawsuit alleges defamation for Maddow’s references to Dean’s YouCanRunButYouCannotHideInternational ministry.
Most recently, Dean requested that the case be moved to federal court, and the judge in the District of Columbia court demanded that he pay Maddow’s defense attorney fees before she would allow that.
Her statements disparaging Dean prompted his attorney to file a request with the court that the judge be removed from the case.