MN for Marriage doesn't fire Rev. Brad Brandon after repeated Vote No-Nazi comparisons [VIDEO]
Rev. Brandon is the head pastor at Berean Bible Baptist Church in Hastings.
In recent weeks, Rev. Brad Brandon, the director of church outreach for Minnesota for Marriage, has traveled the state giving a presentation where he compares same-sex marriage advocates to Nazis.
Minnesotans United for All Families secretly recorded a talk Brandon gave in Brainerd (some of the footage is embedded below), and after they released the video to the media, both Minnesota for Marriage and the reverend apologized. But despite calls for Minnesota for Marriage to sever ties with Brandon, he's staying on as the organization's director of church outreach.
First, from the Star Tribune, here's some background:
At an event recorded by [Minnesotans United for All Families], the Rev. Brad Brandon tells a group in Brainerd that Hitler suppressed religious freedom and that religious freedom is at stake in the marriage fight.
"We're not saying that one side or the other is equal to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities that were committed in Nazi Germany," Brandon said during a presentation that included a huge picture of the German ruler. "What we are simply saying is that when a totalitarian dictator takes place and wants to suppress the voice of a group.... they use certain tactics."...
A couple weeks before the Brainerd event, Brandon made a similar pitch at a public seminar in Woodbury, which was attended by at least two other Minnesota for Marriage staffers, including its communication director.
"Adolf Hitler stepped in and said, 'You know what this is a socialist country and what we need to do here now is have the government be in the control and make decisions for those businesses,'" Brandon said on a separate recording. "Now remember, he did all of this in the name of equality."
Minnesota for Marriage's Andy Parrish characterized Brandon's Nazi references as "not representative about how we feel about the other side" and told the Strib the reverend would "get back on message that kids need a mom and a dad and why marriage is worth preserving." But Minnesotans United pointed out that Chuck Darrell, communications director for Minnesota for Marriage, provided at least a tacit endorsement of Brandon's remarks by taking audience questions after Brandon's Woodbury presentation.
Footage of Brandon's Brainerd talk shows that some audience members were outraged by the Nazi references even as he made them. After he uttered the "We're not saying that one side or the other is equal to Adolf Hitler" line, a woman who claimed her grandparents were Holocaust survivors interrupted and asked Brandon "not [to] belittle the deaths of six million Jews by putting Adolf Hitler's picture and saying he took peoples' civil rights."
Brandon, in response, tells her, "Well, I know it's an explosive issue," but that doesn't placate the woman. "No, no. He was an insane murderer," she says. Here's the footage:
Yesterday, Rev. Brandon issued an apology:
It was a terrible mistake to even mention Nazism in an attempt to illustrate my point, and I fully understand why many found it to be offensive. In no way was I attempting to equate the marriage debate with Nazism and I profoundly apologize to anyone who felt that was my objective...
My recent public comments that religious liberty is frequently the first casualty of those who seek to impose a political agenda are being taken out of context and used by opponents of marriage to make me, and our campaign to preserve marriage, seem to be extreme. I never stated or meant to imply that those who oppose .... the marriage protection amendment, are somehow equivalent to the Nazis who targeted communities of faith to suppress their voice, often through murder.
He 'never meant to imply that those who oppose the marriage protection amendment are equivalent to Nazis'? Then apparently words no longer have meaning. And while we'd argue much of what Minnesota for Marriage has said during the course of its anti-gay campaign has been meaningless, this represents a new low.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.