St. Paul, Minn. (May 20, 2011) – Legislators have expressed outrage as a result of the invitation of a highly controversial zealot to give the opening prayer for today’s House floor session.
Bradlee Dean, Evangelist for the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministry, has a well-recorded history of violent, hateful speech directed at the LGBT Community. African American legislators expressed deep concerns, as this incident rounds out a session that has been viewed by many as especially insensitive to issues of discrimination in Minnesota.
“This is a pattern from Republicans this session,” said Rep. Hayden. “Whether it is African Americans, women, or the LGBT community, Republicans have sought policies that divide us, singling out minority communities for harsh treatment. This latest instance should be a final wake up call to all of our diverse minority groups. We need to work together toward our shared desire for a more equal and just Minnesota.”
Throughout session, religious leaders representing every denomination are invited to give an opening prayer before the start of each floor session. The opening prayer is meant to be inclusive of all religious affiliations, however, during his opening prayer, Bradlee Dean, offered a prayer that was not only religiously divisive, but politically partisan, singling out President Obama, saying:
“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.”
“The people’s house should be a forum that represents the best in us. It should be inclusive, respectful, and compassionate toward all. That did not occur on this occasion,” said Rep. Champion. “It was regrettable to allow a person so fundamentally opposed to the ideals we hold true as African Americans and citizens to address the House of Representatives.”
“Given the laundry list of issues we have seen this session that intend to further divide our communities and state by seeking to restrict the rights of others while ignoring the disparities between us, today’s incident is not only unacceptable, but deeply disappointing,” said Rep. Moran. “This is just a further reminder that our work to eradicate discrimination in our state is never finished and we must continue to press on for the good of Minnesota.”
After the prayer, Speaker Kurt Zellers apologized from the House floor saying “this type of person will never be allowed on the House floor again.”
“I appreciate that Speaker Zellers took responsibility for this unfortunate occurrence,” said Hayden. “But we still have a wide difference of opinion on the kinds of policies our state needs to promote equality and economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.”
Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-63B)
Rep Rena Moran (DFL-65A)
Rep Jeff Hayden (DFL-61B)
Rep Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-58B)