A Minneapolis attorney is at odds with the Christian Action League of Minnesota because of her ads in City Pages, an alternative weekly newspaper.
Attorney R. Leigh Frost got a two-year harassment restraining order in April against the league after its supporters sent her postcards and an e-mail imploring her to stop advertising in the newspaper because it also runs ads for adult-oriented businesses.
"I think it's garbage," Frost said of the group's mailings. "I don't need them to impose their beliefs on me …"
The league is asking a judge to dismiss the restraining order, arguing that Frost is squelching their free speech.
Both sides will argue their case in court Thursday.
League president and co-founder Ann Redding said the group disapproves of ads in City Pages that promote strip clubs and events such as sex columnist Dan Savage's homemade adult film festival.
City Pages is owned by the Star Tribune.
"We are reacting to what they are causing by mainstreaming strip clubs," Redding said. "We have half-a-dozen strip clubs and … they are causing a lot of problems for the people who work there, the people who patronize there and their families."
City Pages Publisher Mary Erickson issued a statement defending the paper's advertising practices.
"Our advertisers choose us, we don't choose them," Erickson said. "City Pages has long been a defender of commercial free speech, and will continue to be."
The league's primary tactic is to send an e-mail alert to about 150 subscribers on Wednesday when City Pages is published.
Redding said she writes the e-mails, asking supporters to contact a business or list of businesses that either advertise in the paper or carry it at a newsstand at their locations. (E-mails aren't always sent every week, Redding said.)
Supporters can send a postcard or e-mail, or call the businesses directly and implore them to end their association with City Pages.
Frost said she received two postcards at her downtown office and an e-mail starting March 18.
On one side, the postcards read, in part, "Did you know your fellow advertisers are strip clubs, porn stores and phone sex ads?"
The other side featured a photo of a man with a blindfold over his eyes and a quote allegedly from Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted when she was a teenager: "All I know is that pornography made my living hell … worse."
One postcard sent to Frost included a handwritten note from Redding that said, "Porn tears families apart. City Pages promotes strip clubs and porn. As a woman, are you ok with that?"
Frost, a family law attorney, rejected Redding's implication, adding that she volunteers for a program that serves low-income victims of sexual violence, and also works on domestic abuse cases in her private practice.
"…I am a strong proponent for protecting people who have been dehumanized by other people, so for them to draw the conclusion that my ad is supporting sexual exploitation is incorrect," Frost said. "I don't see how my advertising encourages sex trafficking when, perhaps, what it does is balance a need …"
Frost said she wrote to the league twice requesting that they stop contacting her, but received a fourth communication — a postcard — on March 28.
That's when she decided to get the restraining order.
"The first thing I did was … I laughed," Redding said of her reaction to Frost's order. "I thought … this was kind of over-the-top."
Redding said she asks supporters to stop contacting businesses that request to be left alone. League attorney Erick Kaardal confirmed Frost's account, but said it's unknown when the last postcard was sent.
Redding has suspended her campaign against other businesses in light of the restraining order, but said her group's efforts have had a "significant impact" on the number of advertisers in City Pages.
"As far as people trying to intimidate our advertisers," Erickson said, "we've seen no discernible effect on our business."