Rev. Billy: Outlaw in the U.K. But Running for NYC Mayor?



There’s talk about banning the Rev. Billy in the U.K. Seems strange when he should be focusing more on his run for the mayoralty of New York City. See the video:

Story continues below.

And, indeed, there is a moment coming when Rev. Billy (who I’m going to be following but not endorsing, necessarily) may be able to gain some traction in the 2009 campaign. Per an email I just received from his supporters:

We’re experiencing triumph and tribulation at Union Square in New York City. The NYPD and City Hall have payed [sic] up $23,000.00 to settle their wrongful arrest of Reverend Billy preaching the First Amendment in Union Square on June 29, 2007. We thank co-counsels Norman Siegel and Earl Ward for re-sanctifying the First Amendment in NYC’s traditional Speaker’s Corner!

And yet that Speaker’s Corner, that precious public space, is now in greater danger of corruption. This week, NY State Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon dismissed the petition that kept the Union Square Partnership from converting the Union Square Pavilion into a for-profit restaurant. Devil, get thee behind me!

We will continue putting our bodies in public space and celebrating Union Square as our civic commons. The community plan for the Pavilion will be honored — the Pavilion belongs to all New Yorkers!

How are you defending public space in your community? Talk to us at

And please join us on April 12 at 45 Bleecker in NYC!

Rev. Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir
Sunday, April 12th, 7:00pm
At 45 Bleecker Street, corner of Lafayette in Manhattan.
Tickets $12.00, click here to order!
Email to ask about scholarship tickets.
All Ages! Take the 6 train to Bleecker Street.

The question is: Will the media cover this performance-cum-campaign? What will happen — how brazen will Rev. Billy get — if it doesn’t?