Update: Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge pushed back on the claims, saying that it is an independent organization with an independent board of directors. The organization said that it believes one of its founders from more than 30 years ago was connected to Assemblies of God, but there is currently no connection or affiliation.
The left-wing media went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar Thursday for an earmark she requested in 2008 for an “anti-LGBT” fundamentalist group that runs an addiction treatment program in Minnesota and across the country.
Minnesota Teen Challenge is operated by the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, according to The Intercept, which uncovered that Klobuchar requested $500,000 for the group in 2008. Klobuchar said the money would be used for “the Minnesota Teen Challenge to expand their drug prevent education efforts for teenagers.”
The outlet mentioned only in passing, however, that Rep. Keith Ellison, now Minnesota’s attorney general, joined Klobuchar in requesting the funds.
“The Senator joined several members of the state delegation, including Jim Ramstad and Keith Ellison, in submitting the request for a Minnesota program to prevent drug abuse,” her office said in a statement at the time. “As a former prosecutor, she has long been concerned about the impact of drug abuse on both individuals and the community, and she has worked with a range of groups that work to prevent and treat drug addiction.”
An application form for Minnesota Teen Challenge from the time of the funding request described “homosexuality” as one of the “problems” an addict might be experiencing. The group also invited “former lesbian” Janet Boynes to speak at an event—Boynes has described homosexuality as “sinful and like an addiction,” according to LGBTQ Nation.
State Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) spoke out in opposition to the group in 2013, saying “they’re asking for public dollars to further their religious beliefs.”
“When a gay person is immersed in an environment like that, they can’t help but think there’s something deeply wrong with them,” he said. “Some of those homophobic values are inseparable from their approach. It does not work for the GLBT person … it’s fine for those at Teen Challenge to believe what they want, but should taxpayers pay for those beliefs?”
The group has also described Halloween, Harry Potter, and Pokemon as “gateways to drug addiction” and Satanic.
Attorney General Ellison has set himself up as an advocate for LGBT communities and frequently attacked his Republican opponent, Doug Wardlow, as homophobic during the 2018 campaign. Wardlow previously worked as an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and Ellison often pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled ADF an “extremist group.”
“Wardlow has proudly worked for an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled an anti-LGBTQ ‘hate group,’ testified against allowing trans students to use the restroom of their choice, and called the United States Supreme Court’s decision legalizing marriage equality a ‘totalitarian impulse,’” Ellison’s attorney general campaign said in one statement.
Ellison continued to criticize Wardlow even after winning the election for working for an organization “that said that their religious liberty entitled them to discriminate against other people who their religion didn’t approve of.”
Ellison announced in October that his office will take the case of two Christian videographers in Minnesota back to federal district court.
“Telescope wants to breach common decency on the grounds of ‘free speech,’” Ellison said of the company in a press release. “But their right to believe what they want is already fully protected. What they’re asking for is a license to discriminate against LGBTQ folks that could open up a can of worms for everyone.”
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