Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A Minnesota college Republican organization has held an on-campus assembly with rocker and Christian preacher Bradlee Dean in defiance of threats from state GOP leaders and now awaits word whether officialdom will lash out further at the minister’s message and his supporters.
The Minnesota GOP, which declined to respond to WND requests for comment, has opposed Dean since he delivered a prayer to the state legislature last year.
“I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this chamber,” Dean prayed, in part. “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. ”
The lawmakers responded by publicly condemning Dean’s faith and re-starting the legislative session so his words would not be in the state record.
Dean also recently was attacked in a dispute that has led to a court case against MSNBC and talk show host Rachel Maddow. She recently asked that the lawsuit by Dean be dismissed. But Dean’s attorney, Larry Klayman, asserted, “Maddow and MSNBC clearly defamed my client. Maddow went way over the line, particularly in her second broadcast by claiming that Dean and Republicans like then-presidential candidate Michele Bachmann are ‘bloodthirsty’ and want to see more gays and lesbians killed. This was outrageous and harmful and for this, Maddow and MSNBC will be held legally accountable.”
The most recent controversy involves the College Republicans of St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn. The students had invited Dean to speak on campus and were warned, according to a radio station report, by state party officials that their names forever would be linked to the event and their careers would be endangered.
The event, nevertheless, was held Tuesday night on schedule, without a sign of any state party official in attendance, according to campus group spokeswoman Liz Isle. She said said the event went very well, with protesters raising their objections to Dean’s campus presence peacefully. A number of them remained to listen to his message.
Isle told WND today the state party threatened that the college Republicans linked to the event would “never get a job.”
Party officials had ordered the campus organization not to have anything to do with Dean, according to reports from sources inside the controversy.
Isle said Dean’s message, like other presentations he’s given in schools, is that God “is not OK with sin,” whether it is homosexuality or another form of behavior condemned by the Bible.
She said Dean clearly is pro-life, pro-Constitution, pro-freedom and pro-conservative.
But she said that after the school group was warned off of Dean by state party officials, there was no further word from the Minnesota GOP, even though at one point it was suggested that the St. Cloud group’s charter would be removed.
Isle said if the GOP withdraws, students are comfortable with continuing as a campus “conservative” group.
She said it was obvious there were serious misconceptions in the media about Dean, but St. Cloud students knew “this isn’t hateful speech” and decided to go forward.
She said a number of students found the state organization’s comments and statements about Dean to be offensive.
“If you are threatening college students, it seems kind of low,” she said. “Especially if we’re trying to do something good on campus.”
Isle said she saw no one from the state party nor has she heard from the group since its last warning not to hold the Dean event.
The Star-Tribune earlier quoted Pat Shortridge, the Minnesota GOP chair, saying, “Sometimes young people need to have better judgment in who they invite to things under the Republican banner. … If you are going to do dumb things, and not take the advice of the state college Republicans and the state chairman of the Republican Party, it might have some consequences.”
Shortridge continued in the newspaper interview, “If people refuse to listen, refuse to follow advice, continue to do things that reflect badly on the party …we got to take a long hard look at what does this chapter look like and it seems like it is out of control and we have people who clearly should not be acting and speaking in the name of the Republican Party, at any level.”
The Maddow case arose when the talk host criticized Dean’s statements about Muslims, homosexuality and abominations in America. Dean responded with the legal claim alleging her editing cast him in a negative light.
Just weeks earlier, Dean’s rock band presentation at an Iowa school – encouraging students to consider right and wrong in their decisions – created a local furor that prompted a fire chief to threaten to close roads to keep the band from returning.
The uproar in Dunkerton, Iowa, made headlines in the LaCrosse Tribune, the WCF Courier and other papers. It’s being characterized as an effort by Dean’s band, Junkyard Prophet, to “gay bash,” which conflicts with the school’s “opinion about intolerance.”
But Dean says the controversy was created when the media started reporting on the visit. He contends that he and his band performed, presented their message, visited with students and then left, without hearing any concerns.
Dean believes there’s an agenda at work in the attacks on the band’s presentation, pointing to a report in the LaCross newspaper in which a mother stated: “They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42.”
Dean said the mother’s complaint was a distortion of a statement by Jake MacAulay, a spokesman for the band, who told the assembled school that the average age of death for a homosexual male is 42 years.
Controversy is not new for Dean. WND reported earlier when he wrote to President Obama, asking him to help restore the high standard of biblical marriage – a bedrock of society for millennia – to the nation.
In response, Obama, who has openly promoted homosexuality and other alternative sexual lifestyle choices in the Oval Office, said he appreciated Dean’s “perspective.” He said he takes such opinions “seriously.”
“Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead,” he wrote.
But Dean told WND at that time that it’s clear that Obama “is at war with America as you know it.”
“He stated election eve 2008 that he wanted to ‘fundamentally transform the United States of America.’ He purposes to demoralize, pervert, weaken and overthrow America and our Constitution, with marriage and our children in his sights.”
Dean’s letter to Obama was prompted by Washington state’s legislation to legalize same-sex “marriage,” a move that already has drawn formal opposition. A handful of other states, through legislation or court fiat, already have opened the doors to same-sex “marriage.”