Only church after permission for whites, small Minnesota town says it’s not racist

When church doors open, only white people will be allowed inside.

The message is from the Asatru Foch Assembly in Murdock, Murdock, sending after being allowed conditional use to open a church there and practice its pre-Christianity originating in Northern Europe.

Despite the council’s vote to officially permit this month, residents are pushing back against the verdict.

Protesters have gathered around 50,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the All-White Church from making its home in an agricultural town of 280 people.

“I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we would like to keep the pressure on them,” said Peter Kennedy, a longtime Murdock resident. “Racism is not welcome here.”

The Asatru Lok Sabha purchased the church and is requesting a permit to be used as a regional church in Murdock, Min.Renee Jones via Schneider / Star Tribune AP

Many locals said they support the growing Latino population, which has moved into the area over the past decade due to job opportunities above the church.

“Just because the council gave them a conditional permit, it does not mean that people in the city and the surrounding area will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” Jean Lestberg, who lives in the neighboring town of de Graaf, wrote . City facebook page

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Asatru Foch Assembly as a “neo-Volkis hat group” that “reflects their bigotry in baseless claims of bloodshed based on the superiority of white identity.”

Many residents call them a white supremacist or white secessionist group, but church members deny this.

Lawyer and Asatru Foch Assembly member Alan Turnaidz returns to his seat on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, in Murdock, Maine, after questioning the public.Renee Jones via Schneider / Star Tribune AP

“Were not. This is just not true,” Ellen Turnedge, a Lok Sabha board member. “Just because we respect our culture, does not mean that we are maligning someone else.”

The group, based in Brovesville, California, says education and membership are strictly for European bloodlines.

The church was looking for a new church in the eastern North Dakota area when they arrived in Murdock. It is unknown how many members he has or how many people will attend the new church worldwide.

“We do not need salvation. The group has the freedom to face its destiny with its faith and honor, ”the group wrote on its website about its beliefs. “We honor the gods under the names given to them by our German / Norse ancestors.”

According to the website, his father was “Angels and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings, and, as the sons and daughters of these people, they are united by ties of blood and culture for centuries.”

“We respect the ways that our ancestors saw the world and approached the universe a thousand years ago,” Turnage said.

A small contingent of church supporters in Murdock said the community should be open-minded and respected for all.

“I find it hypocritical, for lack of a better word, for my community to show great hatred for something they don’t understand.” I don’t see a problem with this, “Jessie James, who said he has lived in Murdock for 26 years, wrote on Facebook.

“I don’t want to follow this pagan religion, however, I think it’s important to recognize and support each other’s beliefs,” he said.

Murdock council members said they do not support the church, but were legally obliged to approve the permit, which they did in a 3–1 decision.

Mayor Craig Kavagh said, “We were highly advised by our lawyers to pass this permit for legal reasons,” Mayor Craig Kavanagh said, “We knew that if it was being denied, we would Were going to fight a legal battle. ” Hands that can be quite expensive. “

City Attorney Don Wilcox said it came down to freedom of speech and religion.

“I think there’s a very big feeling in the city that they don’t want that group,” he said. You cannot just stop people from saying whatever religion they want or whatever they want. Do not incite violence.

Stephanie Hoff, whose council term ends this month, cast the only unanimous vote.

“I know we have a legal perspective, and I personally felt we had a chance to fight it. I think we could have fought this had we gone to court, ”she said, basing her argument on proving the loss of the municipality. “I felt that we have a case with the emotional and mental well-being of the city of Murdock.”

The agricultural town located 115 miles west of Minneapolis is known for the production of corn and soybeans, which are shipped across the country. Latino make up about 20 percent of Murdock’s small population. City officials said many workers come from Mexico and Central America.

“We are a welcoming community,” Kennedy said, dismissing the exclusionary beliefs of the Asatru Foch Assembly, “It’s not at all what the people of Murdock think. No one here had a problem with Hispanics.”

AFA bought its building this year on a property in a residential area. Built as a Lutheran church before changing the zoning, it was later converted into a private residence. The Lok Sabha required permission to convert the residence into a church.

The vote has drawn national attention and condemnation.

“It’s ironic that the city council did not want to discriminate against the church, but the church is discriminating against black people,” said Abigail Suiter, 33, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. matter.”

Prominent lawyers disagree on the council’s choices in the vote. Some debates focus on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act, which protects religious institutions and churches from undue burden and discriminatory land-use regulations.

Law said attorney Brian Egan, a municipal law expert on Long Island, New York, said the law prohibits municipalities from discriminating against the appointment of churches in residential areas.

“This is a link for municipalities to run,” Egan said. “One man’s religion of hate is another man of love.”

Other lawyers said the zoning of the property was sufficient to deny the permit.

“They can say that the entire area has become residential, we do not want a church in the residential area because it is inconsistent with our comprehensive plan,” said David Schultes, a constitutional law professor at the University of Minnesota, “… because At that point they are not making decisions based on the approach or content of the speech. “

Lawrence H., a constitutional law professor at Harvard University. The Tribe said the council may be able to prevent the private sale of the property, had it been aware of it, through laws to prevent racial discrimination in property transactions.

“Any institution that proposes to exclude people on the basis of race is allowed to run an operation in the state of Minnesota,” said Trib.

Kavanagh said he only stands by the council’s vote “for legal reasons”.

“The biggest thing that people don’t understand, because we have approved this permit, suddenly everybody feels that this city is racist, and it is not,” he said. “Just because we voted, it doesn’t mean we’re racist.”

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