I don’t know what to believe about Keith Ellison, but I do believe he is a drag on the DFL. What is clear: his opponent is a deeply unethical embodiment of the contemporary MN Republican Party.
When Mary Lahammer asked Doug Wardlow if he works for an organization that wants to sterilize or convert gay people Wardlow called this “absolute lies” from a “discredited far left extreme organization.” But a little research shows it is Wardlow who lies:
- His organization, “The Alliance Defending Freedom” wrote a brief supporting a French law requiring sterilization before a transgender person can change gender on their driver’s license.
- The ADF founded the event “Day of Truth”, which promotes “gay conversion therapy“, not to mention school bullying.
The ADF claims to defend “religious freedom,” but in classic Orwellian logic freedom=totalitarianism. To understand the horror of ADF’s vision one need not turn to the dystopian fiction of The Handmaid’s Tale. Instead, consider the film Boy Erased based on Garrard Conley’s memoir. Conley faced physical and psychological abuse at the “Love in Action”–now “Restoration Path”–boot camp. This church sanctioned abuse is still legal in 36 states.
Many criticized American Fascists by Chris Hedges for claiming, without evidence, that the Christian Right propagated violence. But if you are a queer kid in Utah or Alabama, violence and threats of violence are a real part of everyday life. Look beyond U.S. borders and you see the violent consequences of these “evangelists” in countries like Uganda where missionaries supported the death penalty for “homosexual acts” and stirred increased attacks on gay people.
Of course, there are counter-movements within most Christian traditions, including Baptists, the largest protestant denomination in the U.S. In Minn, Lutherans rule, and most ELCA churches in the state now fully include queer folk. Maybe Wardlow would like to visit All Saints Lutheran in his hometown of Eagan. There he might learn what freedom means.