x

Society

Church Identified as Hate Group Gets Permit in Minnesota

December 10, 2020

MURDOCK, Minn. — The city council in a small Minnesota farming community has voted to grant a permit that allows a controversial Nordic heritage church that has been identified as a white supremacist group to gather at an abandoned church.

The vote Wednesday night came after the council in the Swift County community of Murdock was advised by the city attorney that rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly's request could violate its religious rights. The AFA wants to turn the former Lutheran church into a Midwest regional gathering hall.

Council members, meeting online because of the coronavirus pandemic, kept video cameras turned off and refused to identify who voted for or against the permit. It was passed on a voice vote without a roll call, the Star Tribune reported. One member of the five-person council could be heard voting no.

City Attorney Don Wilcox told council members that they faced possible legal action if they voted against the AFA based on its beliefs.

"There are certain constitutional protections that apply to religions," Wilcox said. "I haven't seen any evidence sufficient to overcome the presumption that they are a religion, whether you agree with it or not.

"There's not a compelling interest in keeping that building from being used for meetings," he added. "Just because you don't like it doesn't mean they can't do it."

The group has sparked a  wave of activism in Murdock, a community of about 300 about 115 miles (185 kilometers) west of the Twin Cities. After the AFA purchased the church earlier this year for $45,000, area residents formed a group called the Murdock Area Alliance Against Hate and have held several protests.

AFA board member Allen Turnage has said the church would not admit a Black person "because they're not of northern European descent."

The AFA is among groups that seek to practice a pre-Christian, European spirituality and, according to a statement on its website, it's pro-white. The Southern Poverty Law Center has added the AFA to its list of hate groups.

Turnage said the AFA has about 500 members nationwide, and 20 or so in and around Minnesota.

RELATED

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The white father and son who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood each received a second life prison sentence Monday — for committing federal hate crimes, months after getting their first for murder — at a hearing that brought a close to more than two years of criminal proceedings.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Greek-American Cornell Student Rescues Man on Subway Tracks in the Bronx

NEW YORK – Greek-American Cornell University senior Bryce Demopoulos rescued a man who had fallen on the subway tracks at the Third Avenue-138 Street station on the No.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.