Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bradlee Dean - Will He Become Minnesota Presidential Candidates 'Reverend Wright' in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Here is Bradlee Dean giving his objectionable prayer:
"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."
Emphasis added - DG.  I object not only to Bradlee Dean mischaracterizing President Obama's faith.  That is consistent with all of the fallacies that Dean preaches.  This man has no clue about the U.S. Constitution either.  I object to him making his prayer about Jesus when there are people who are atheists and people who practice other faiths in the Minnesota Legislature.  Dean would have us be a Christian theocracy, the way Iran is a Muslim theocracy.  He is a man who preaches hatred and calls it love, who preaches ignorance and intolerance and calls it religion.  He is not even an ordained minister of a recognized faith or an actual church.
MNPublius has an excellent list of the close associations and endorsements of Minnesota Republican legislators here:

IN 2009, ....Representative Michele Bachmann delivered a video message to fundraiser attendees: “It a tough job that you do, but someone has to do it.”
IN 2006, Michele Bachmann led a prayer for Bradlee Dean’s anti-gay ministry
  Bachmann: “Lord, I thank you for what you have done with this ministry”
TIM PAWLENTY is listed as a guest on Bradlee Dean’s radio show, along with many other local Republicans and conservatives:  Photo of Tim Pawlenty with Bradlee Dean’s radio co-host, Jake McMillan
It's not just the homophobic statements, totally INACCURATE statements about pedophilia, which will sink them.  It's not really the Islamophobic statements either (those play to far too large a demographic of the Right's base).  In some respects, Dean is Minnesota's version of Florida's not-ordained self-styled Pastor Terry Jones with the non-existant church who burned the Koran.  No, I think "the Pope is the anti-christ" statements will go far further to sink the aspirations of TPaw and Tea Party Queen Bachmann with the majority of the national electorate:
"IN 2007, former Secretary of State and current Representative Mary Kiffmeyer served as master of ceremonies for an event honoring Bradlee Dean’s ministry
•Mary Kiffmeyer: “They’re not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, and their country, to preach it, and using that exercise of their freedom”
•Bradlee Dean at the same event: The Pope is “a devil disguised as a minister of righteousness”
•Dean’s speech also compared the teaching of evolution to the ideology of Hitler
Mary Kiffmeyer is a real piece of work in her own right; she was Secretary of State in Minnesota under TPaw.  It is a tenet of the faith espoused by Michele Bachmann, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, abbreviated WELS - the faith in which I was raised - that the pope is the antichrist.  Don't take my word for it; it is on their website here:
Scripture does not teach that the Pope is the Antichrist. It teaches that there will be an Antichrist (prophecy). We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy. This is an historical judgment based on Scripture. .... The Joint Doctrinal Committees of the Synodical Conference adopted this statement on October 15, 1958, and reported this to the Lutheran Synodical Conference Convention in 1960. The "Statement on the Antichrist" was adopted by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod at its convention in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1959, without a dissenting vote.
The position of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod goes on for multiple pages. I don't think that is going to play well in a general election.  BOTH TPaw and Bachmann have multiple long-term close political associations with people who support that belief.  The Right was wrong in condemning Wright. I can't wait to watch them wiggle around when that shoe of guilt by association, and support by long term association for controversial views, is on the other foot - one might say, the RIGHT foot - for a change.

Short term, Dean is going to get a lot of attention, which will be interesting as he runs and hides from any interviews which are likely to disagree with him or toss him hard questions.  Long term? I think Dean is pretty well over and done; he has imploded, he just might not know it yet.  The only question many Republicans will he take with him, and how much will he hurt the 2012 presidential aspirations of the candidates from Minnesota.

It couldn't happen to more appropriate individuals.


  1. I agree with your premise about Dean and his statements against the Catholic Church. Also, I don't care for either Bachman or Pawlenty as candidates for the GOP.

    But, I will also say that I disagree with you on Rev. Wright. Some of the statements that he made and the positions that he espouses are detrimental to America and American interests. What kind of person stands before a congregation and asks God to Damn America? Wright is a staunch supporter of reparations for slavery. Do you advocate that as well?

    Mike G.

  2. Welcome Mr. G.

    Rev. Wright fought for this country, as a marine. (Bradlee Dean did not.) He put his life and subsequent service to this country where it counted, in actions. Unlike Dean, Wright has also has multiple degrees, including in theology, and was an award winning pastor of a real church - one in a predominantly white denomination which acknowledged his extraordinry contributions. Dean has nothing like that to his credit; he doesn't even have a real church.

    Wright does not espouse ideas or positions detrimental to the United States.

    He damned not the whole United States, but rather the actions, specifically, of racism. DO you know what specific actions he was referring to Mr.G.?

    He was responding specifically to the actions of the Department of Agriculture which systematically discriminated against Blacks, and some Native Americans, for years, resulting in a dramatic loss of black family farms. He believes in compensations awarded to those people who won judgements for that discrimination, not reparations for slavery.

    It is correct that he was a key note speaker at a COBRA convention in Philadelphia, where he spoke on repair and healing, a subject he has spoken about in other venues, about healing racism. I haven't actually found any statemnt by Wright that he supports reparations.

    Look at the date of this article on that discrimination suit, which went through some particularly difficult legal battles during this time, contemporaneous with Wright's comments:

    And Wright spoke out, well before it was fashionable to do so, against our support for dictators, like Mubrek and others in the Middle East, the same people who now are being overthrown by the so-called Arab Spring. I don't mind him criticizing that, in his comments about 9/11. Or the same thing that Obama and others - including some prior Prime Ministers in Israel - arguing for a two nation solution to the Palestinian problem.

    Dean on the other hand wants to see the rapture later on today, and Armegeddon.

  3. I would be glad for the Black farmers if they actually got the monies due them, but just like any other government program or settlement, it is rife with fraudulent claims and corruption.

    If Reverend Wright is for Equality of opportunity, which I also am, then perhaps I can give him some slack. But if he is one of those who preaches for equality of outcome, then I will be dead set against him and anything he would espouse after that that might have some worth would just be whispers in the wind.

    That's the problem with the promotion of "social justice", it promotes equality of outcome, not just equality of opportunity for all. In other words, equality of outcome means that everyone will be equally miserable.

  4. Maybe Dean and Jack Chick should get together. Chick tracts are the little comic books put out by a very fundamentalist church, I think near San Antonio or Austin, definately in Texas. He also says the Pope is the antichrist, Catholics are blasphemers and going to hell, and D&D is not a game but a recruitment tool of satanists who try to get you to do real magic and real sacrifices.

    The Republican party needs to wake up and get their crap together. It is possible for them to win in 2012 or at least keep the house and gain a bit in the Senate, but not with the clowns that are running. Romney would only be called a conservative in Massachusetts and will not win in the Southern states that normally vote Republican. Bachman and Pawlenty will get eaten by stuff like this. Palin should have spent the last 4 yrs doing something serious and learning more about national government, she had a good rep and was popular until she quit being governor and did a reality show,she needed some experiance and polish and went for money and popularity instead. Honestly the two best candidates right now are Herman Cain and Johnson (gov. of New Mexico) and very few have heard of either of them.

  5. Mr. G. please show me where there is any validity to the claims I have seen made by the right that the cases of the Black Farmers were in fact rife with corruption and fraud. The little I have seen in response to those allegations suggested strongly otherwise.

    I believe the Reverend Wright has led an exemplary life of acting on his faith as a very moral and spiritual man. I don't have to agree with everything he says or every view he espouses to be impressed by that. I am not aware that the good Reverend Wright ever sought anything other than equality of opportunity and individual effort. What you decry however Mr. G. as 'social justice', the same theme I have heard from ill-researched and hateful fools like Glenn Beck, is not what I mean by that phrase, and it is not what I believe most people believe by it. It is rather a right wing staw man argument sir.

    Good points Tuck - neither TPaw nor Bachmann could even carry Minnesota. We know them here.

    And yes, Dean is an idiot; he knows nothing about the constitution that he prattles on about repeating the same misinformation and disinformation from the far right. The MN GOP has funded him for too long and celebrated his brand of hatred to pretend too much dismay now with any credibility. Dean just said it in a too public forum, and now the right here in MN is embarrased because they know damn well the mainstream won't condone it. It's not that they weren't happy to send money Dean's way - he was just selling a house in the suburbs with a pool that was worth over a quarter of a million dollars. But he doesn't have a real church, he isn't a real pastor, he shouldn't have been invited to the state house of representatives to give a prayer on that basis, as well as the rest. The man is in some senses of the word a scam artist who has found a very good way to make money off the right wing base - again.

  6. Ah, the religious element in the nasty stew the GOP is a-cooking! Isn't it amazing that so many Americans seemed to be hooked on religious nonsense spewed by politicians? Deep into the 21st century, The People are continually battered by the religious nuts among us as if it were still Medieval times, the Dark Ages.

    When, if ever, will we, The People, be entirely free from this idiocy?

  7. Sorry, but IMO, Bradley Dean is a micro-local story.
    My definition of “micro-local” is a story that only a small segment of a small group know. We live in a country where more people can name all three of Homer and Marge Simpson’s children than can name one Supreme Court justice … now to make it a local story, ask a Minnesotan to name one Minnesota Supreme Court justice (and if it wasn’t for Alan Page’s Viking connection, if you got one out of a thousand that would be amazing). And to make it a micro-local story, ask your neighbor to name any local judge (heck, even local mayor, city council, schoolboard, county commissioner, etc.)

    Minnesota Political Junkies may know of Bradley Dean … and his “Opening Prayer” at the MN Legislature did make the television news, but man-on-the-street does not know him.

    The Reverend Wright controversy became a story because it was marketed … you had Rush, Hannity and the Fox folks pushing the story … the film clips were on constant replay …. But is there any marketing vehicle for Bradley Dean ? Remember the video of Sarah Palin participating in Thomas Muthee's sermons at Wasilla Assembly of God … that had virtually no impact.

    Actually, Bradley Dean could actually benefit the Bachmann/Pawlenty campaigns … he’s preaching to the choir … feeding those voters the message they want to hear … they will vote based on Dean’s message … elections are all about getting your voters to participate … (btw it will be interesting to see Tuesday’s results of the NY-26 considering a new Siena poll was just released showing Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin, 48-32 (MOE 3.9%) … the older voters seem to be reacting to the Ryan Medicare plan, but will they show up and vote?)

    As a Minnesotan, I wonder if it isn’t time to end the tax exemption status of churches … how many votes did Pastor Brad Brandon of Berean Bible Baptist Church in Hastings deliver for the MN-GOP last November with his “endorsed candidates list” … and these churches are exempt from paying property taxes which means everybody else pays a larger portion because of that exemption. If they exercise “Free Speech”, shouldn’t they help pay for the government that protects that freedom ?

  8. All good points, Minnesota Central. Except that I believe Bradlee Dean has already been on one of the MSNBC shows - Maddow if I recall, could have been one of the others - where his connections and his badly flawed message were given attention.

    While Palin did get something of a pass for her religious connections which were pretty bad, far more extreme as you noted, compared to the actual positions of say Rev. Wright, there was so much MORE to go after that it got small attention.

    I think with at least TPaw, that won't be the case; with Bachmann there is plenty more but Dean really concentrates the ways in which she diverges from the main stream.

    This may be a local story now, but it certainly has the potential to go far further, and I think it will. Whereas I don't think Dean will turn out any larger segment of the far right fringie base than he already does; quite the opposite, I think he may start losing people rather than gaining based on the reaction of the Republican caucus.

    Yes, part of their reaction was not having the same views as Dean but rather getting caught too publicly having them. But it was so public that I think you will see them begin to retreat from pushing some of them so hard in the legislature for at least the near future anyway.

    Perhaps I'm naively optimistic, MN Central; you're a pretty shrewd observor of these things. But I think the Dean story may have better legs than you realize.

  9. You don't want to end the tax exempt status of churches. 99% of the churches in the US are busy doing exactly what a church should be doing, spreading the word and showing charity. That charity part is partially funded by the churches not having to pay property tax and any study I have ever seen shows that church organizations, from any church, are far more effecient than the government at helping the poor. Giving churches a break on property taxes more than pays for itself.

  10. By the way, while we are on the topic of whackadoodles who call themselves Christian, here is an interesting update about Westboro Baptist and their protests.

  11. Ttuck, I agree with MN Central; no of course we don't want to end the tax exempt status of churches, so long as they respect what defines them as churches, which includes certain restrictions on their role in politics. Pulpits have a different place in persuasion than other forums of freedom of speech, and can too easily become hijacked for non-religion purposes with the supposed power of God being attributed to those non-religious purposes.

    I have no problem even with churches as forums for political activity - just so long as it is not DURING church services and by the pastor during worship.

  12. First, THANKS to everyone that read my comment and for offering your own thoughts.

    Let’s take the easy one first … should churches pay taxes ?
    Ttucker says they do good work … yes and so does United Way but then you hear the stories of United Way executives being driven around in limos and you begin to question how they are spending your monies. UW and other charities have to file IRS forms 990 (which donors can view before donating) then you hear about Joyce Meyer Ministries and her $23,000 gold marble toilet and you wonder about why churches do not have to tell donors how they spend the donations. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been investigating this.
    Also, consider the “preacher” who has calculated that the world will come to an end beginning this past Saturday … do you know how many millions he is worth? Google Family Radio network and you will find out.
    IMO, taxes just need to be fair … and if everything is supposed to be on the table for review, then tax exemptions for religious groups should be also.

    Now back to Bradley Dean … yeah, he may have been on Maddow but that’s a limited audience … even if he got picked up by Stewart / Colbert, that probably would sway any votes … you either believe his nonsense or you don’t know. The MN-GOP knew what they were doing when they asked him to pray … yet I doubt that any voter would be more inclined to participate on Election Day because the MN-GOP asked him … instead it will be : Did the legislature do their job by addressing same-sex marriage, voter ID, and Castle laws … if you wanted that, you’re happy … if you thought it was a waste of time, you may listen to the opposition but that still may not get you to vote.

    Dean’s impact on the Presidential nomination process should be nominal … IMO, Ms. Bachmann is not a real candidate … meaning she knows she cannot win … but that is not her objective … Ms. Bachmann’s history has been one that uses the process to influence the platform committee … she failed in 2008 but anticipate that she will get “her” delegates elected in various states such that the 2012 Republican Platform will feature staunch Conservative Values.

    The better “religious” question is about Pawlenty. I know plenty of Roman Catholics that believe that there are only two religions … since Jesus was a Jew, that’s one and the other is Roman Catholic … all the rest are man-made creations (i.e. think of the Joseph L. Smith and the Mormon religion). Roman Catholics are taught that if you marry someone of another religion that they should be converted and that you should never convert. Pawlenty was raised Roman Catholic … but converted when he got married … I know of more than a few Catholic voters that will not vote for him because of that … and in some ways, when you look at John Kasich (Ohio’s governor who was also raised Roman Catholic) and how he used evangelicals to get him elected, you wonder if Pawlenty converted for religious beliefs or political advantage.

    BTW … if you interested, my assessment of Pawlenty’s chance are in today’s edition of the MN Political Roundtable.

  13. I don't think that it is fair to assert that because some abuse the tax exemption for religion by high living - Bradlee Dean comes to mind - rather than for the more compassionate uses that money is frequently intended that we should abandon tax exemption all together.

    There are far more cases, involving larger sums, where tremendous good is accomplished.

    I wouldn't be averse to making how tax exempt money can be spent be more rigorous, in terms of limiting the purposes for which tax exempt money can be spent. I think it is perfectly appropriate to make sending money used for other things - like expensive toilets, private jets, limos and other conspicuous wealth - be subject to the same taxation any individual would be paying.

    To do otherwise would risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the guy who was so certain about the world ending on Saturday that he spent a fortune on bill boards, etc. I would hope his followers are holding his feet to the fire (figuratively, not literally) and feeling properly foolish for believing that nonsense.

    But then I'm reminded almost daily of the right wing propensity to believe some amazingly crazy things - the one world order, the FEMA re-education camps, and pretty much anything that comes out of the mouth of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh and their colleagues.

    It is not ONLY their ignorance - and they have plenty of that - it is their willingness to believe utterly improbable things without a shred of proof.

    The Bradlee Dean story isn't fully national - yet. But it does seem to be growing legs... fingers crossed! Judging by the locations of many of the hits from the statcounter, I think the right is already worried about this story escaping from the boundaries of Minnesota and following TPaw and Bachmann nationally. It's probably not going to do AKlo's opposition any good against her in the 2012 general election; might help him in the primaries though... which would only make it easier for Klobuchar.