The man known on his birth certificate as Michael Grant claims police “ordered” him to stop preaching at, ironically, Christmas Village in December. After that, he says, he was “dragged across the street” by cops. The last time was way back in 2016, when Philly Mag covered his arrest and subsequent conviction involving an incident at the Apple Store on Walnut Street. Well, Philly Jesus is back, and police are involved once again. But this time, Philly Jesus is suing the police and the city.
Philly Jesus, who is actually 33-year-old Michael Grant, is a bit of a Philly character. Some might call him a buffoon or an attention-starved charlatan. There are those who have deemed him a “homophobic bigot,”thanks to negative statements he made about the LGBTQ community after appearing, in an apparently supportive way, in a big Philly gay pride parade.
But the lawsuit is about First Amendment rights, and, well, as a media outlet, we’re deeply concerned about the protection of First Amendment rights. And if the allegations made in the complaint are true, they’re troubling.