A controversial ministry that says it preaches Christian doctrine in public schools held a fundraiser in Bloomington Thursday night, drawing a crowd of about 400. At its “Appeal to Heaven” fundraiser, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International offered attendees a preview of its new documentary, a greeting by Rep. Michele Bachmann and a fiery sermon by founder Bradlee Dean, who called liberals “criminals” and urged attendees to fight a “war” for the faith against liberals.
The almost exclusively white crowd had assembled at the Sheraton ballroom in Bloomington to raise funds for the ministry and its outreach to public high schools across the Midwest, a practice that some civil liberties groups say violates the Constitution’s principle of separation of church and state.
Ron Stone, general manager for AM 1280 The Patriot, introduced Bachmann, a longtime supporter of the ministry.
“There’s a huge difference today between Republicans and conservatives,” he said. “She’s a true conservative. She’s not afraid to say she believes in God. She’s taking the bullets that a lot of our Republican men are standing back in the shadows and allowing her to take.”
He explained that Bachmann’s “House Call” rally against health reform last week prevented her from attending in person. “Michele was excited to be here tonight, but due to the events of last week, you can imagine she had to reschedule a lot of things.”
In a four-minute video message, Bachmann said, “I’d hoped to be there, but unfortunately the future that’s being forged here in Washington, DC … is one that saddles today’s youth with tremendous debt, a diminished world presence, and diminishes their God-given freedoms.”
She praised You Can Run’s mission. “It a tough job that you do, but someone has to do it. I thank God that he has given you the strength and the resolve to fight for our timeless values.”
And she reiterated her support for their work evangelizing in public schools. “We can’t overlook the outright rejection of God in the public school classroom, and the outright scorn of Christianity in our public square,” she said. “Moral relativism is exalted and faith in Christ is derided.”
Attendees also got a glimpse at the group’s documentary film called “My War,” which chastises America’s educational system for not teaching from a “Judeo-Christian” perspective and rails against atheism. In one clip, a teacher asks a student whether God exists if he can’t be seen. Another student chimes in: Since she couldn’t see the teacher’s brain, it must not exist either.
The highlight of the night was a lengthy sermon by Bradlee Dean calling for Christians to pick up arms against secular government that he said was foisting of socialism on the nation’s people.
“We are a Christian nation regardless if you like that or not. The Bible says we are called as ministers of the flame, the fire,” he said. “We are called to war. We are called to fight the good fight of faith. In other words, what I’m trying to say is, I’m a trouble maker, okay?”
“It’s time to say, ‘We are done complaining, and it’s time to start fighting.’ But you say, ‘I don’t know what what I’m going to look like with a sword in my hand,'” he said. “You are going to look great!”
Then Dean offered sharp words for those he disagrees with.
“We are not a land of liberals. We hear this all the time. Why don’t you just call them for what they are? Criminals. Why don’t you just call them for what they are? Socialists. They are contrary to our constitution,” he said.
That prompted a round of “Amen!” from the attendees.
“We are not a land of homosexuals,” he shouted. “God said ‘Adam and Eve’ not ‘Adam and Steve.'”
Then, referencing one of President Obama’s openly gay appointees, he said, “We all know about [Kevin] Jennings, the new czar for safe schools, is a blatant homosexual. Oh, by the way, he wanted me to send you a message: ‘Go F- yourselves!’ That’s what he said. He wrote a book called ‘Queering the Elementary Schools.'”
One woman shouted in the audience, “Oh, no!” Others shook their heads in dismay.
“Yes. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks.”
Jennings did write the foreword to a 1999 book called, “Queering Elementary Education.” In those three pages (his entire foreword is available on Google books), he talks about eliminating homophobia in the schools and says, “When eight-year olds already know that “gay” equals “bad,” we shouldn’t be surprised when they get old enough and mean enough, they act out that message by tying one of their peers to a fence and beating them to death,” referring to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard the previous year.
The Minnesota Independent could not substantiate the claims by Dean that Jennings told him to tell the 400 people assembled Thursday night to “Go f- themselves.”
As he wrapped up the sermon, he thanked the attendees. “You guys, you got just a little bit of the message we give to youth all across the nation.”
Tickets went for $50 and tables of 10 for $500. At 40 tables, the fundraiser likely brought in over $20,000.