News Release and Action Alert
Antigay preacher prays before passage of anti-gay rights amendment
From Freedom From Religion Foundation: http://ffrf.org/news/releases/ffrf-renews-call-to-minnesota-legislature-drop-prayer/
May 23, 2011
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, on behalf of its 16,500 members including 400 in Minnesota, has renewed its formal objections to opening the Minnesota House or Senate sessions with prayer — any prayer, nondenominational or not — after the divisive appearance and prayer by pastor Bradlee Dean on Friday.
Dean, who has said he thinks homosexuality should be illegal and allegedly has suggested favoring the death penalty for gays, gave an address before the House’s vote this weekend to approve an anti-gay marriage amendment. That amendment was approved Saturday and will now go out as a referendum to voters.
Dean, who had been told that “guest chaplains” are “advised to be nondenominational and inclusionary,” intoned:
“I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this Chamber and it’s not about the Baptists and it’s not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans. Or the Presbyterians the evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination and his name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged. And we pray it. In Jesus’ name,” Dean said. (Read FFRF’s transcript of the entire prayer here.)
Dean is affiliated with You Can Run But You Can’t Hide, whose mission statement is: “To reshape America by re-directing the current and future generations both morally and spiritually through education, media, and the Jdueo-Christian values found in our U.S. constitution.”
FFRF, a state/church watchdog, has taken regular complaints about You Can Run But You Can’t Hide presentations in public schools.
Dean’s prayer created a firestorm Friday, with Republicans huddling in a private caucus meeting for more than an hour, according to the Star Tribune. House Speaker Kurt Zellers called the invitation to Dean a mistake, Majority Leader Matt Dean called the prayer inappropriate and even Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayor, who had invited Dean, distanced himself from him.
In an interview with the newspaper, Dean insisted he wasn’t “anti-gay” and denied approving the death penalty for gay people, but spoke approvingly of an era when homosexuality was illegal:
“We don’t enforce those laws anymore and we wonder why we are going backwards,” he said. “If you were to ask me my position as far as enforcing the laws of sodomy in the state of Minnesota, I would say absolutely yes. Yeah. Yeah.”
FFRF added its objection to prayer to open the Minnesota State Senate in March, after State Sen. Terri Bonoff had asked the Senate to adopt and enforce rules that prayers be nonsectarian in nature. Her complaint followed the over-the-top prayer to Jesus on March 14, 2011 by Pastor Dennis Campbell, of Granite City Baptist Church in St. Cloud.
FFRF, in a March 22 letter to Senate President Michelle Fischbach, asked the Senate to discontinue prayer altogether. FFRF found that of 32 prayers since May 2010 through late March, 84% of officiants were Christian clergy. FFRF pointed out government prayer excludes the 14-16% of the U.S. population that is nonreligious, turning them into political outsiders.
“This controversy proves how divisive religion is in government. Once a legislature opens the door to ‘chaplains’ and ‘guest chaplains,’ it invites a union between religion in government. It invites entanglement. It invites discord,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
“If the Minnesota Legislature is going to invite pastors to pray at them and the public, how can it prevent pastors such as Dean from exploiting this exalted podium to exploit their views? We atheists and nonbelievers would love to be given this kind of access to the legislature, yet only religion, and overwhelming the Christian expounders, are granted this endorsement.
“There is no question that legislative prayer sends an unconstitutional and inappropriate message of endorsement of the views of ministers who are invited to open sessions. His invitation was timed to inflame the debate over marriage equality. The only objections to gay marriage ever offered are religious in nature. Prayer in our government is quite simply a conflict of interest.”
Read March press release asking to drop Senate prayer
Minnesota House Passes Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment
From Lezgetreal: http://networkedblogs.com/ia2eU
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The Republican controlled Minnesota House has tonight voted to have the people of that state decide on the rights of a minority group and vote on the fate of a constitutional amendment would define marriage as only between a man and a woman in 2012.
As demonstrators outside the house chambers chanted, “Just Vote No”, the final vote tonight came down to 70 to 62 in favor of passage, after was nearly six hours of oft times emotional debate.
The bill has already passed the Senate and tonight’s House passage will automatically place the measure on the ballot. Such a measure is not subject to a veto from Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, who strongly opposes the amendment.
The amendment, as approved by both chambers, will now offer a simple yes-or-no question to the states voters: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”
Continue reading at: http://networkedblogs.com/ia2eU
Hate Pays and the Long Haired Whore for Jesus Want Big Bucks
From Talking Points Memo: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/anti-gay_preacher_please_give_me_money_to_hire_a_p.php
Anti-Gay Preacher: Please Give Me Money To Hire A Publicist
May 24, 2011
Controversial preacher Bradlee Dean’s morning prayer on the Minnesota House floor Friday has garnered him so much attention he’s now asking supporters for money to hire a publicist.
“WOW! Did you ever think going to the Capitol to give a prayer paying homage to the Founders, the Veterans and Christ could be so offensive to our politicians?” Dean wrote to supporters, the Minnesota Independent reports. “We certainly didn’t start this fight but we are more than willing to respond! Our small ministry team has been going non-stop the past 72 hours to not only defend the truth but to continue fighting for the foundation that made this nation so great.”
“However, the liberal-biased media has taken this a step further and initiated a full-scale character assassination, attempting to inflict serious damage to the ministry and my reputation. While we are putting up a good defense with the resources we have readily available, we are in serious need of a publicist on a short-term basis.”
Continue reading at: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/anti-gay_preacher_please_give_me_money_to_hire_a_p.php