There have been recent stories of the Bradlee Dean so-called ministry's 'Street Teams' being kicked out of parking lots at Walmart and other locations, and claims that they operated under false pretenses, using a false name. It appears to be a major source of their money, money which pays for Dean and his family to be living a life of luxury in a $400,000 home in Annandale and which has subsidized Dean courting religious right politicians like Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty, and Tom Emmer. Dean has appeared with his colleagues at the 2011 convention, apparently with a table / booth for free, at the invitation of Tony Sutton, chair of the MN GOP.
I'm sorry to say that another friend and blogging mentor, Mitch Berg, right wing radio personality and right wing blogger, has been another staunch supporter of Dean, regardless of how hateful the statements Dean made were.
The Dean home in Annandale listed for sale by local realtors for just under $400,000, on acreage; note the pool; all money that doesn't appear to be spent on kids at risk for drugs or suicide. Well, it appears to be money spent on the Bradlee Dean and his own family kids, but not on kids at risk in schools across Minnesota or anywhere else apparently:
Here is a YouTube video of the advert for the paid street team who Dean sends out to panhandle and apparently scam for him in the name of religion and helping kids, so he can live it up:
For those who haven't followed the story of Dean, he's also been kicked off of local radio for his incredibly offensive statements, embarrassed the GOP on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and for years has been the darling of Minnesota conservatives. He is the Minnesota equivalent in many respects of the hateful Koran burning Terry Jones in Florida or the equally heinous Fred Phelps of Kansas, except that the Minnesota Right has embraced and supported him far more than either Jones or Phelps were recognized in their home states. Dean is like Jones and Phelps in that he is not formally trained by any recognized seminary, he has effectively no actual regular physical church, he is not part of any formally recognized denomination, and he does not appear to have been ordained so far as I can tell by any credible religious body. Like Phelps and Jones, he promotes a version of scripture which is not accepted by any well-recognized respected religious body, views which are extreme, and he espouses equally extreme right wing political views.
My friend Sara, (who has supplied many of the ideas and news stories that have been the basis for posts here on Penigma and the other blogs for which I write - most recently, the source of the punt-the-geek game), was solicited by one of the Bradlee Dean street teams at the Murphy USA gas station in Cambridge, MN in April of 2010. She paid by check, and has shown me her canceled check from the transaction.
I first learned of this in June of 2010, when I saw a Bradlee Dean CD on the dashboard of her van as we were on our way to a dog show together. I asked her about it, and she told me then of how she was approached and what she was told. She repeated the story to me again before I wrote this post.
She was told by the street team, people who are simply hired employees rather than members of any church, that the money they were raising was for kids. When my friend asked what kind of things they did, she was told it was for after-school programs for kids, to keep them out of trouble. The street teams did not accurately in any way represent the philosophy or the activities of Bradlee Dean or his organization in seeking donations. In exchange for a $20 donation, she received the CD, which she still has, unopened. She feels scammed, ripped off, lied to by the street teams Bradlee Dean pays to go out to solicit funds.
At no time did the street team accurately represent the views of the Dean organization. Had they done so, my friend Sara, (a Religion major from a MN Lutheran College, and therefore rather better equipped than most of us to recognize a sham Christian minister and ministry which makes claims to be like Luther) is adamant that she would not only never have given them a penny, but that she would have vigorously protested their presence to the gas station on the spot.
When I told Sara about Dean's claims of homosexual pedophilia and his other false statements about homosexuality, those positions more than any of his other statements, would have ensured she did not in any way, much less financially, support Dean or his organization with a donation. As Sara put it, assholes like Dean and his views on being gay are far more likely to result in gay teens being bullied and harrassed, and in leading them to be unnecessarily conflicted about their sexuality; Dean's views are far more likely to contribute to teen suicide than to save anyone from it.
I am encouraging my friend Sara to report her experience to the Minnesota AG Lori Swanson, to the IRS, and possibly other agencies. Bradlee Dean not only has no place on Minnesota radio stations spouting his inaccuracies and hatred, I believe from what I have read, and from the account of her experience from my friend, that Bradlee Dean should not have a religious tax exempt status with which to scam people into making this kind of donation.
Dean is now off the radio; lets also get him out of the (in my opinion) fake religion biz.
Dean seems part of the cult of personality that exists on the political right, on large and small scale, where individuals so long as they mouth the appropriate dog-whistle themes are able to promote themselves to relative wealth. I believe for the well being of our state, and our nation, we need to push back against these people who promote lies, who promote hate, and who live off - live very well - by doing so.
Shame on Dean and his organization, and shame on those who support them and encourage them and defend them. If nothing else, let us all make an effort to ensure they do not avoid the responsiblity of having supported Dean in the past with their glib revisionist history. Let us all hold them accountable for their support for and alliance with Bradlee Dean.