Religious freedom is certainly an essential concept in America and much of the world, but it’s also a value that has paved the way for bigotry under the guise of holiness. In 2020—the year that can basically be summarized in three letters: WTF?—a small Minnesota town recently voted to allow a white supremacist church to be established in order to be fair to any and all organizations that want space to practice their faith.
The Star Tribune reports that on Wednesday night, the Murdock, Minn., City Council voted anonymously (yes, anonymously) to grant permission to a white supremacist group to use an abandoned Lutheran church as its third gathering facility in the United States.
The group, Asatru Folk Assembly, has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, according to the Associated Press.
From the Tribune:
Meeting online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council kept its video camera turned off, meaning that other meeting attendees couldn’t see the members’ faces. Despite repeated requests from the online audience, council members refused to identify who voted for or against the permit, passing it on a voice vote without a roll call. One member on the five-person council could be heard voting no.
“We as leaders of the city of Murdock want people to know that we condemn racism in all forms,” Mayor Craig Kavanagh said before the council voted in favor of an organization that religious scholars have identified as a white supremacist group.
Before the vote, the council was advised by city attorney Don Wilcox that rejecting the group’s bid to provide a home for its whites-only place of holy racism could open the city of around 275 residents up to litigation.
“There are certain constitutional protections that apply to religions,” Wilcox said, the Tribune reports. “I haven’t seen any evidence sufficient to overcome the presumption that they are a religion, whether you agree with it or not. There’s not a compelling interest in keeping that building from being used for meetings. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean they can’t do it.”
This all leaves us with a few questions, starting with: What the hell (pun intended) goes on in a white supremacist church?
Do the pastors deliver their sermons wearing KKK robes? Do they believe Jesus is white because Black Jesus would have died in a noose instead of on the cross? (They also probably figure Black Jesus would have resurrected three weeks later instead of three days; CP time and all.) Do they put raisins in their communion wafers? If a Black church moves next door, how many crosses do they get to burn before it’s definitely considered a fire hazard? Do they end their prayers with, “a-white-men” instead of a general “amen?”
For a little insight on the group’s ideology, here’s more from the Tribune:
The AFA is among a growing number of groups that seek to practice a pre-Christian, European spirituality. The AFA is unabashedly pro-white, according to statements on its website.
“We in Asatru support strong, healthy white family relationships,” according to the group’s statement of ethics. “We want our children to grow up to be mothers and fathers to white children of their own.
“We believe that those activities and behaviors supportive of the white family should be encouraged while those activities and behaviors destructive of the white family are to be discouraged.”
Not going to lie: For 2020, this sounds about white.