Earlier this month, The Root reported that in Murdock, Minn.—a small city of around 280 residents—white nationalist group Asatru Folk Assembly was granted permission via city council vote to turn an abandoned Lutheran church into a whites-only church for worshipers to...oh, I don’t know...be white and racist together in the name of whatever Klan-ish deity they pray to.
Well now, members of the community and others are speaking out against the church for people who dry clean reusable nooses, and they’re making it clear that racism is not welcome in their town.
According to NBC News, people who don’t wish to live near a church for people who would call the police on Black Jesus for turning water into wine without a permit, collected 50,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the group and their church from calling Murdock home.
“I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we’d like to keep the pressure on them,” said Peter Kennedy, a longtime Murdock resident. “Racism is not welcome here.”
Many locals said they support the growing population of Latinos, who have moved to the area in the past decade because of job opportunities, over the church.
“Just because the council gave them a conditional permit does not mean that the town and people in the area surrounding will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” Jean Lesteberg, who lives in the neighboring town of De Graff, wrote on the city’s Facebook page.
Of course, not all residents oppose the discriminatory church. Twenty-six-year Murdock resident Jesse James—whose real name is Jesse James even though he probably hasn’t even run his own gang of outlaws or robbed a single stagecoach—cited religious freedom in his opinion that the church should be allowed to stand.
“I find it hypocritical, for lack of a better term, of my community to show much hate towards something they don’t understand. I for one don’t see a problem with it,” James wrote on Facebook, NBC reports. “I do not wish to follow in this pagan religion, however, I feel it’s important to recognize and support each other’s beliefs.” (Either he thinks “pagan” is pagan for “no niggras allowed” or he’s missing the point of why people oppose this church.)
As we previously reported, Asatru Folk Assembly has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. According to NBC, the SPLC said the group masks its “bigotry in baseless claims of bloodlines grounding the superiority of one’s white identity.”
The group denied that characterization while describing itself in a way that fits the characterization damn near perfectly. More from NBC:
“We’re not. It’s just simply not true,” said Allen Turnage, a folk assembly board member. “Just because we respect our own culture, that doesn’t mean we are denigrating someone else’s.”
The group, based in Brownsville, California, says teachings and membership are for those of strictly European bloodlines.
“We do not need salvation. All we need is freedom to face our destiny with courage and honor,” the group wrote on its website about their beliefs. “We honor the Gods under the names given to them by our Germanic/Norse ancestors.”
Their forefathers, according to the website, were “Angels and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings, and, as sons and daughters of these people, they are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by centuries.”
“We respect the ways our ancestors viewed the world and approached the universe a thousand years ago,” Turnage said.
In other words: They only allow the purist of lily-white caucasian bloodlines in their church for people who think some guy named Jim Crow is just another innocent victim of cancel culture.
Murdock Mayor Craig Kavanagh also cited religious freedom as the reason the city council had no choice but to approve the church.
“We were highly advised by our attorney to pass this permit for legal reasons to protect the First Amendment rights,” he said. “We knew that if this was going to be denied, we were going to have a legal battle on our hands that could be pretty expensive.”
“The biggest thing people don’t understand is because we’ve approved this permit, all of a sudden everyone feels this town is racist, and that isn’t the case,” Kavanagh continued. “Just because we voted yes doesn’t mean we’re racist.”
I mean, I guess.