Bradlee Dean on Andy Birkey: "He is trying to make me the biggest villain known to mankind"
Heavy metal pastor Bradley Dean Smith is at war with Minnesota Independent reporter Andy Birkey.
Last week, Smith (a.k.a Bradlee Dean) filed a lawsuit against Birkey and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, accusing them of taking an excerpt from his radio show out of context and defaming him by making it seem like he advocated the execution of homosexuals, something Smith says he doesn't condone.
Two weeks before Smith filed the suit, he lamented the media coverage of his ministry in an interview with City Pages for our July 13 cover story, The Benediction of Bradlee Dean. Smith complained about a years-long contentious relationship with Birkey -- and the reporter's role in the conspiratorial "gay agenda."
As Smith told it, much of his frustration with Birkey comes from the Minnesota Independent's coverage of his ministry's annual gala.
"He is trying to make me the biggest villain known to mankind," Smith said. "Every year, he'll call me and say, 'Can I come to your gala.' And the first couple years I said, 'Come on out.'"
When talking about Birkey, Smith repeatedly returned to the subject of the reporter's sexual orientation. Smith talked interchangeably about Birkey and the "homosexual community." He also described a time he confronted Birkey: "I said, 'Tell the homosexuals that we're called to love on you!'"
When that method didn't work, Smith said, he stopped taking Birkey's calls.
"I can't even answer the guy anymore," said Smith. "And the reason I don't answer him, because no matter what I say, I already see what he's going for."
Smith seems to believe that a gay media mafia of sorts is responsible for the bad reception he had gotten in some quarters.
"Who has it been from since Day One?" said Smith. "It's the gay agenda. And 90 percent of it is the gay agenda."
The "gay rights movement" is a term that comes up frequently in Smith's lawsuit. Smith alleges that because Birkey is gay, he has a vendetta against evangelical Christians such as Michele Bachmann.
Because of the pending litigation, both Birkey and the Minnesota Independent declined to comment beyond a statement released last week calling the lawsuit baseless and denying Birkey served any "special interests" in his reporting.
"We are confident that the courts will agree that this lawsuit is completely frivolous and is a blatant attempt to chill freedom of the press," reads the statement.
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