Opponents of marriage equality in Minnesota recently came under fire for comparing the campaign tactics of gay-rights supporters to the tactics of Germanyâ€™s Nazi Party in the lead-up to the extermination of approximately 6 million Jews and thousands of gay people and others during World War II. This is the second time in six months that such a comparison has been drawn during this campaign.
The Nazi link was embedded in a sample sermon distributed by the Family Research Council, an influential religious-right advocacy group based in Washington, D.C, which has been sending the sermon to pastors since 2006. The text has been used in battles over same-sex marriage in a half-dozen states. However, following outrage from Minnesotaâ€™s Jewish community, the group quietly stripped the Nazi reference from the sermon.
In an invitation on its website to attend an anti-gay-marriage event called â€œStand for Marriage Sundayâ€ earlier this month, a group calledÂ Minnesota Pastors for MarriageÂ included the aforementioned sample sermon, which accused same-sex marriage proponents of using Nazi-like tactics. Minnesota Pastors for Marriage, which is fighting a proposed state bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, is funded by the Minnesota Family Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group affiliated with the Family Research Council.
TheÂ documentÂ titled, â€œMinnesota Stand For Marriage Sermon Starter,â€ reads, in part (emphasis added):
Homosexuals claim: â€œWe were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay.â€ They cite old â€œgay geneâ€ studies predominantly conducted by researchers who are homosexuals; studies that have been repudiated by credible research. Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual.Â They essentially practice Joseph Goebelâ€™s [sic] Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually most mindless Americans will believe it.
But shortly after news broke in Minnesota late last month that gay-rights and Jewish groups had condemned the groupâ€™s sermon, the Family Research CouncilÂ edited the sermonÂ to take out the offending section. The above passage was captured by ThinkProgress, which broke the story.
However, the Family Research Council missed a few versions of the unedited sermon including on the groupâ€™s affiliatedÂ â€œWatchmen on the Wallâ€ website.
This sermon was included in aÂ messageÂ from John Helmberger, CEO of the Minnesota Family Council and chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, and Kenyn Cureton, vice president of church ministries at the Family Research Council. Cureton authored the sermon starter.
The Family Research Council is a socially conservative organization co-founded by Focus on the Familyâ€™s James Dobson in 1983. The group has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, because Family Research Council leaders have repeatedly attempted to link homosexuality with pedophilia.
â€œSame-sex â€˜marriagesâ€™ could be performed in Minnesota as early as August 1, 2013,â€ Helmberger and Cureton wrote. â€œThatâ€™s why we are asking you to consider â€˜Stand For Marriage Sunday,â€™ to convey a sense of urgency to your members to call both their state legislators ASAP and ask them to vote â€˜Noâ€™ on Senate File 925 and House File1054. To help you with this, we have created â€œStand For Marriageâ€ materials. To view these materials, click onÂ Sermon Starter,Â Stand For MarriageÂ andÂ Bulletin Insert.â€
Stand for Marriage
The Stand for Marriage sample sermon appears to have beenÂ first published inÂ SBC LIFE, the journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 2006, when Cureton, the sermonâ€™s author, was vice president for convention relations for the Southern Baptist Convention, the worldâ€™s largest Baptist denomination.
By late 2006, Cureton had joined the Family Research Council as vice president for church ministries. According toÂ his biography, the Stand for Marriage kit containing the sermon has been sent to more than 20,000 churches, â€œnotably in California, Arizona, Florida, Maine, and North Carolina in support of their successful efforts to uphold traditional marriage.â€
A version sent to pastors oftenÂ contained a warningÂ about its content.
â€œPastoral Warning: I have preached messages like this many times and it never fails to offend somebody,â€ Cureton wrote. â€œIn fact, Iâ€™ve had people walk out on me during the sermon, and others leave my church membership.â€
He added: â€œThere is no substitute for the pastorâ€™s leadership from the pulpit, preaching the word of God without fear or favor, and applying it to burning issues such as abortion, the radical homosexual agenda, judicial tyranny, pornography, racism, gambling, etc. Remember, Godâ€™s word offends people. Donâ€™t preach it if you canâ€™t handle the consequences.â€
Versions of Curetonâ€™s sermon have been used in many of the state-based battles over same-sex marriage. His sermon was distributed to pastors in California during the battle over Proposition 8, which ended marriage rights for same-sex couples in that state.
According toÂ documentsÂ filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California in the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, Curetonâ€™s sermon was heavily edited for use in California, but the Nazi references remained.
West Virginia for Marriage, a project of West Virginia Family Policy Council,Â offered the sermonÂ to pastors for the Stand for Marriage Sunday in 2009, when social conservatives were pressing for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in that state.
In New York state, aÂ version of the sermonÂ â€“ without the Nazi reference â€“ was used in opposition to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011.
The sermon wasÂ distributed to pastorsÂ last year in North Carolina, where voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Cornerstone Conference Ministry Center still has theÂ sermon availableÂ on its website, complete with Nazi references.
Cureton toldÂ The American IndependentÂ via email that the offending reference will remain deleted from future sermons. He declined to comment further.
Minnesotaâ€™s Jewish community responds
AfterÂ ThinkProgress reportedÂ on the document on March 28, Minnesotans United for All Families, the primary lobbying force in support of the marriage-equality bill, quickly responded, calling the tactics â€œdisgusting.â€
â€œThis just clearly shows that the folks at Minnesota for Marriage have no interest in a civil dialogue. They have no interest in an honest conversation about marriage,â€ Minnesotans United for All Families spokesman Jake LoeschÂ told Minnesota Public Radio. â€œMaking claims that anyone in any way is comparable to Nazi tactics is disgusting. Itâ€™s appalling and has no place in public square or in public discussion about what marriage is.â€
But this was not the first time that gay-marriage opponents in Minnesota have likened the other side to Nazis.
Pastor Brad Brandon last year served as the director of church outreach for Minnesota for Marriage, when it was campaigning for a failed amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and toured the state with a PowerPoint presentation that included Nazi references.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m simply saying is that Adolf Hitler took away two fundamental rights from a group of people in order to suppress them,â€ Brandon, said according to audience recordings provided to localÂ media outlets. â€œThose two fundamental rights are the same rights that are being taken away from the Christian community,â€ he added, alluding to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Brandon and Minnesota for Marriage laterÂ issued a statement sayingÂ that his words were taken out of context and being used by opponents to make the campaign â€œseem to be extreme.â€
And following the more recent Nazi reference, Minnesota for Marriage again accused opponents of using it as a distraction.
â€œThe reality is that there are many, many people of faith who believe based on teachings from the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and other religious texts that marriage is between one man and one woman,â€ Minnesota for Marriage spokeswoman Autumn LevaÂ told theÂ StarTribune, â€œThis attempt to discredit Minnesota for Marriage is really a looking glass that allows Minnesotans to see that those attempting to force gay marriage on this state do not, in fact, care about peopleâ€™s deeply held beliefs.â€
That statement appeared to inflame tensions further, and leaders in Minnesotaâ€™s Jewish community pulled together a press conference on March 29.
Jewish Community Action released aÂ statementÂ saying that it â€œbelieves that to continually make analogous the tactics used to spread a message of hate and drive the near destruction of a people to a campaign which at its core is about love, commitment, and family, is ridiculous. To do it during Passover, a holiday that commemorates freedom from oppression, is shameful.â€
Karen Yashar of the Minneapolis Jewish FederationÂ told reporters: â€œThis vile and repugnant comparison has no room in even the most heated and contentious political debates. The introduction of Nazi labels and comparisons into the American political debate sends a collective chill up the spine of the Jewish communityâ€¦ We call on Minnesota for Marriage to withdraw their statements, and once and for all refrain from using the Nazis or the Holocaust to make their case.â€
â€œWe are troubled by the fact that this is the second time in less than six months that Minnesota for Marriage has made reckless and historically inaccurate comparisons between Nazi Germany, and the tactics which it employed, and the proponents of marriage equality,â€ said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), inÂ a statement. â€œAs we have in the past, the JCRC strongly urges advocates on all sides of deeply controversial issues to refrain from making Nazi comparisons. Such analogies are almost always inappropriate and are offensive to not only the Jewish community, but also the many gay people who were targeted and murdered by the Nazi regime.â€
Shortly after the press conference, Minnesota for Marriage eventually apologized but without taking responsibility for the Nazi reference.
â€œMinnesota for Marriage regrets that statements considered by many to be offensive appeared on the website of a separate organization, Minnesota Pastors for Marriage,â€ the group said in a statement. â€œAlthough Minnesota for Marriage is not responsible for the content of that website, nor the content on the websites of other supportive coalition members, we nevertheless regret any hurt those statements have caused.â€
The Minnesota Family Council followed suit,Â releasing a statementÂ claiming ownership for the documents.
â€œMinnesota Family Council is responsible for the content of the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website. We regret that a sermon and other materials received from another organization and posted to the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website were not properly reviewed.â€
The document in question may have been on the website for at least nine months. Bloggers hadÂ postedÂ about it as early as June 2012.
The group said the documents had been removed from the website. Attached to the apology wasÂ a statementÂ written by Pastor Jeff Evans of Minnesota Pastors for Marriage, which appeared to contradict the apology.
â€œThis attack by Minnesotans United on marriage has very little to do with an ill-advised quotation but rather the continued assault on the religious liberties of pastors to proclaim the full counsel of God about marriage in their pulpits,â€ Evans said of Minnesota Pastors for Marriage. â€œPastors need not apologize about passages in the Bible that some find offensive. On the contrary, pastors answer to their heavenly Father as to whether they speak and teach His Word to a world that needs to hear His good news.â€
According to theÂ Rochester Post-Bulletinâ€™s editorial board, that apology may not be enough.
â€œThe good news is Minnesota for Marriage and The Minnesota Family Council have been trying to distance themselves from the Nazi reference, saying that these materials â€˜werenâ€™t properly reviewedâ€™ and stating the use of the Minnesota for Marriage logo on some of these documents was â€˜unauthorized,â€™â€ the staff wrote. â€œBut after-the-fact apologies wonâ€™t undo all of the damage thatâ€™s been done to these organizationsâ€™ credibility.â€
This article originally appeared atÂ The American IndependentÂ and is republished here by permission, and with deep gratitude.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘We’re in Trouble’: Steve Schmidt Issues Dire Warning About Changed GOP After January 6th Insurrection
Appearing on MSNBC’s the 11th Hour with host Brian Williams, former GOP campaign consultant Steve Schmidt warned that Democrats need to accept that the Republican Party has changed drastically after four years of Donald Trump and the Jan 6th riot — and failure to recognize that simple fact puts the entire country at risk.
Using one of Schmidt’s tweets where he called Trump’s “truth” a “hideous deception” as a jumping-off point, the former Republican warned, “We’re in trouble.”
“Objectively, since the insurrection on Jan 6th, the Republican Party is far more radical,” Schmidt began. “Far more committed to the lie that Trump has told, fully committed to the authoritarian movement.”
“Should the events repeat themselves, the Republican Party is in a much different place than it was this past election with regard to being prepared to subvert the legal and lawful results,” he continued.
“The Democrats have done nothing since coming into office,” he added. “They have done nothing to prevent any of the abuses we have seen, done nothing to harden any of the infrastructures”
He later added, “This is a serious moment.”
‘Something That’s Under Way’: Trump Aims to Use Russian Tactic to Be ‘Installed Without Winning’ in 2024 Says Yale Historian
Former president Donald Trump and his GOP supporters are hoping to rely on a tactic that’s common in Russia to return him to the White House in 2024, according to one prominent expert on authoritarianism.
“As someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is the ‘administrative resource,'” author and Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder told MSNBC on Friday. “What the administrative resource means in Russian is that sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing, the administrative resource.”
Snyder then explained how this mechanism works and how Trump and Republicans might apply it during the next election.
“Historically speaking, what we know about a ‘big lie’ is that because of its very scale, it’s not about truth or not truth; it’s about living in a kind of alternative reality,” Snyder added. “What we’re looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie, actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimizes their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that’s very concerning.”
He concluded by saying that this is a clear and present danger, not merely a theoretical one.
“The scenario for 2024 for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it’s something that could happen. I think it’s something that’s under way, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?”
‘Ghoulish’ Lauren Bobert Branded a ‘Sociopath’ for Attacking Alec Baldwin: ‘Grieving Family Just Lost Their Loved One’
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the QAnon Republican lawmaker and gun rights activist who owns a bar named Shooters in Rifle, Colorado, is being criticized after posting a tweet mocking and attacking Alec Baldwin. The well-known actor who spent several years playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” shot and killed award-winning cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, apparently by accident, with a prop gun on set less than 24 hours ago.
Boebert dug up a seven-year old tweet Baldwin had sent in support of Michael Brown, the 18-year old Black man fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.
She then added a snide and ugly remark and posted it to Twitter, only too happy to use the pain of Hutchins’ grieving family, friends, and industry as a tool to attack Baldwin:
The outrage was palpable, even from a few on the right, like former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications:
If you’re going to tout your Christian faith, how about trying to have some empathy and grace over a tragedy? Don’t remember the part of the gospel that says “anything for RTs” https://t.co/uPT3djTpT7
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) October 22, 2021
A Democratic U.S. Congressman weighed in:
You are a ghoul. https://t.co/owURidfZqo
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) October 22, 2021
This MSNBC correspondent made a keen observation:
Elected official makes joke about gun violence while holding gun in profile pic https://t.co/fO4JMiMUmd
— Cal Perry (@CalNBC) October 22, 2021
And many others:
A member of Congress is using her taxpayer-funded salary to dig up seven year old tweets to troll a man she’s never met in what’s probably the worst moment of his life. “Shame” doesn’t even begin to describe this. https://t.co/BKtSWsADqc
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) October 22, 2021
So you just straight up don’t give a fuck that there’s a grieving family who just lost their loved one and can see you joking about their loved one’s tragic death, huh?
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) October 22, 2021
You really have to be the most ghoulish, heartless, shittiest excuse for a human being to use a tragic accident that cost a young woman her life, to attempt to crack a joke at @AlecBaldwin’s expense. https://t.co/ZddmfIS0XB
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) October 22, 2021
The “party of family values” ladies and gentlemen.
This vile creature is reveling in a tragic death.
She’s using that horrible accident as a weapon in order to attack someone who is undoubtedly suffering.
This is who she is.
She is grotesque.
She’s an embarrassment to Congress.
— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) October 22, 2021
This fact makes me so sad. This is the kind of person we have representing Americans. 😭
— Jacqui White (@jacqwhi) October 22, 2021
This is disgusting. A woman is dead. it’s beyond ghoulish for an elected official to joke about this. https://t.co/4QAqyRtH5X
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) October 22, 2021
Lauren Boebert is a simpleton sociopath. She is a profoundly stupid person who compensates by being a huge asshole.
In hell, she’d be the hostess at a Nazi Hooters. https://t.co/aleoBtHbCd
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) October 22, 2021
The party of ‘Christian values’.
A person died. These people are repulsive. https://t.co/0wbloL9Evz
— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) October 22, 2021
One thing that really binds the modern Republican Party is a complete disregard for the life of human beings. https://t.co/p7QN5yja6C
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) October 22, 2021
You are evil. https://t.co/axvOO20wFL
— drew olanoff (@yoda) October 22, 2021
- News3 days ago
‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’
- News3 days ago
Trump’s New Social Media Site ‘Hacked’ Just Hours After Announcement
- News2 days ago
‘Makes Me Want to Throw Up’: Investor in New Trump ‘Truth’ Network Is Out Now That He Knows It’s a ‘Fake News Business’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM3 days ago
Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists
- BREAKING NEWS2 days ago
Biden Just Announced He Would Support Killing the Filibuster to Get Voting Rights Passed – ‘And Maybe More’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘You’re Going to Be Served Lead You Communist’: Elections Chief Reveals Death Threats After Trump Targeted Him
- CRIME3 days ago
DOJ Adds New Prosecutors for Matt Gaetz Case Who Specialize in Breaking Through ‘Psychological Manipulation’: Report
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘Ghoulish’ Lauren Bobert Branded a ‘Sociopath’ for Attacking Alec Baldwin: ‘Grieving Family Just Lost Their Loved One’