Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
So – remember that time that group (ruled a “hate group” by the Southern Policy Law Center) from Minnesota called You Can Run But You Cannot Hide headed up by “Minister” Bradlee Dean came down to Dunkerton High School and showed videos of aborted fetuses under the guise of teen empowerment assembly causing Iowans to (rightfully) freak out with lots of news coverage and serious shock waves in the Dunkerton school district?
Well, they are back in Iowa – just this last weekend – accepting donations for their “ministry” at a Newton Hy-Vee. This from a Newtonian who witnessed the thing first hand:
I am pissed! I gave them $5 earlier today because they CLAIMED they were taking donations for a ministry geared toward suicide prevention and drug abuse prevention! I marched right down there and caught them leaving and they STILL claimed that none of the money I gave them is to dispense an anti-gay agenda! I got the name of the group (which I should have done FIRST) :You Can Run But You Can’t Hide and googled it on my phone while in HyVee. What I found made my blood boil: the group is out of Minnesota and does school assemblies in which they make the girls chant a submissiveness toward their future husband, show videos of aborted fetuses and spread a hateful message about homosexuality. Several schools were misled with the same anti drug/suicide agenda which they only found out to be a lie after the assembly. Expecting a call from the HyVee Mgr who approved their presence tomorrow!
Interfaith Iowa has already reached out to the store manager and encouraged them to research the group and the true message they are sending: anti-gay hate.
So, will keep you posted as more develops. Keep your eyes peeled Iowans – and keep on your guard Hy-Vee Corporate, you don’t want anyone to go Boycott Blue Bunny on you.
This just in! From the intrepid Ken Avidor at Dump Bachmann (and from City Pages):
Memorandum and Order Granting in Part Defendants’ Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and Denying Plaintiffs’ Combined Motions for Reconsideration and Sanctions Entered on the Docket 6/25/12. Signed in chambers 6/25/12. Electronically filed via CaseFileXPress on counsel for the parties 6/25/12. Plaintiffs shall pay to Defendants fees and costs in the amount of $24,625.23 within thirty days.
The plaintiffs are Bradlee Dean and You Can Run International. The defendants are MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, The Minnesota Independent and Andy Birkey.
Since Ken Avidor broke the news this weekend, the judge’s ruling seems to have sent a ripple of joy through the blogosphere — particularly bloggers like Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorenson and Phoenix Woman, who, like Avidor, have been following Dean’s every movement.
Perhaps, as Mr. Avidor suggested to me in a twitter exchange – maybe Dean is raising money in Iowa to pay off Maddow and the MN Indy’s attorney fees? As a sort of point of pride for me, when I wrote an article about Dean in Dunkerton – I got a cease and desist letter from Dean’s attorney. Cut a little close to the quick maybe?
After the Dunkerton nightmare this open letter was issued to Iowa schools:
We are writing to inform you of a group working in Iowa to invite itself into your school to hold an assembly for your students. We have concerns about this group and their presentations as a presentation given at a public school assembly last week sparked criticism and concerns from students, parents, teachers and administrators. Iowa schools work hard to create environments where all studnents feel safe and welcome, where bullying is not tolerated. However, Bradlee Dean’s Junkyard Prophets and You Can Run But You Cannot Hide presentations undermine thaose goals as they are sectarian and divisive.
In hindsight, administrators of the school acknowledge they wish they had completed a more thorough check on Dean and his organization and the school district has since apologized for the assembly. But it is hard to undo some of the harmful effects the event had on students. It is clear Bradlee Dean’s group was not forthcoming in revealing what they would present. School administrators thought the subject matter of the assembly would be “provocative lyrics in music and making good choices.” Instead, the group focused on its personal religious and highly controversial views about the Constitution, Christianity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and teen sexual activity.
The message presented at assemblies such as this can make students feel uncomfortable, unaccepted, and unsafe. Holding a school–sponsored assembly of this nature also creates the appearance that the school itself is endorsing the message given to students. From both educational and constitutional standpoints, such an endorsement is inappropriate, given that statements made by the group reflected the beliefs of a particular religious sect to the exclusion of others. Both the U.S. and Iowa constitutions prohibit such an endorsement.
Bradlee Dean, Junkyard Prophets, You Can Run but You Cannot Hide and their real purpose can be found easily on the internet. We urge you to continue to gather necessary background information about any group wishing to come into your school and hold assemblies for students. Assemblies like the one last week have no place in our public schools.
Iowa Safe Schools
Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa
Iowa Pride Network