MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One side of the gay marriage debate in Minnesota says its opponents again used language not suitable for a respectful conversation on the topic.
Minnesotans United, which is fighting to legalize gay marriage, says that Minnesota for Marriage is providing literature to its religious supporters that compares the GLBT movement to Joseph Goebbels and the Nazis.
In a press release Thursday, the campaign manager for Minnesotans United, Richard Carlbom, said:
“This is the second time in less than six months that spokespeople for Minnesota for Marriage have compared our respectful conversation and the loving and committed relationships of same-sex couples to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.”
The comparison in question has to do with a Facebook post made by Minnesota for Marriage. The post links to the website of Minnesota Pastors For Marriage, a group affiliated with Minnesota for Marriage.
Minnesota Pastors For Marriage provides various resources to pastors who are against the legalization of gay marriage. One such resource was a “Sermon Starter,” which states the following talking point:
Homosexuals claim: “We were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay.” They cite old “gay gene” studies predominantly conducted by researchers who are homosexuals…Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual. They essentially practice Joseph Goebel’s (sic) Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually most mindless Americans will believe it.
Carlbom called the this comparison shocking and said Minnesota for Marriage, by linking to it, is contradicting an apology the group made in October. (Note: The link has since been removed, according Minnesota Family Council, which provides the content to Minnesota Pastors For Marriage. In a statement Friday, which can be read, in part, below, Minnesota Family Council regretted the Sermon Starter was posted to the site.)
Last year, WCCO-TV reported that the Rev. Brad Brandon, who was then the Minnesota for Marriage’s director of church outreach, apologized after comparing what was happening to Christians in America to what had happened to Jews in Germany under Adolf Hitler.
Brandon’s apology was posted to the Minnesota For Marriage website. It read:
[I]t 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.
On Friday, Minnesota for Marriage responded, but did not apologize, to those saying they were hurt by the Nazi comparison in the Sermon Starter. A statement on their website read:
Minnesota for Marriage regrets that statements considered by many to be offensive appeared on the website of a separate organization, Minnesota Pastors for Marriage. Although Minnesota for Marriage is not responsible for the content of that website, nor the content on the websites of other supportive coalition members, we nevertheless regret any hurt those statements have caused.
Also on Friday, some faith leaders said the language used in the Sermon Starter is hurtful to both the Jewish community and to the many gay people who were targeted and murdered by the Nazis.
“The introduction of Nazi labels and comparisons into the American political debate sends a collective chill up the spine of the Jewish community,” said Karen Yashar, of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.
Minnesota Family Council, the group responsible for the Sermon Starter content, said it regrets posting the talking point and causing difficulties with Minnesota for Marriage.
A Minnesota Family Council statement read: “We regret any harm this has caused, and wish to clarify that Minnesota for Marriage should not be connected to the content of the documents in question.”