A controversial Christian preacher who's openly expressed anti-gay views gave the opening prayer at the state House, eliciting a strong reaction from lawmakers, including Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and yielding an apology from House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove).
In the opening prayer, Bradlee Dean, who runs You Can Run But You Can’t Hide Ministry, made a controversial reference to President Barack Obama.
"I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this chamber and it’s not about the Baptists and it’s not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans. Or the Presbyterians the evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination and his name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged," Dean said.
Dean has a long history, much of it documented by the Minnesota Independent, of controversial statements.
"In this time of divisiveness, it's disgraceful and appalling to see the Speaker of the House of Representatives—the body that is supposed to represent all Minnesotans—invite hatred into the opening prayer,” Dibble said in a statement. “Instead of providing a message of inclusion and hope, the House began this day with hate and discrimination."
Dibble said it was a sad commentary on the House Republican's approach to equal rights for all Minnesotans, a reference to the upcoming vote on an anti-gay marriage amendment.
In a point of personal privilege, Zellers condemned the statements and apologized for the choice of Dean (See video).