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More God in schools: Bradlee Dean’s side-door approach

Yesterday, this space carried a story about the Good News Clubs, an effort to preach the Gospel to children that enters public schools throughout Minnesota through the front door, its evangelizing mission proudly front and center and a stack of federal court decisions in one hand.

Bradlee DeanBradlee Dean

Today, we refer you to a side-door approach being used by Bradlee Dean, the controversial combination hard-rock shock-jock whose opening prayer last year at the House of Representatives sparked widespread outrage for asserting, among other things, that President Barack Obama is not a Christian.

In case you missed that moment of notoriety, Dean is the head of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International and the subject of headlines for asserting that gays should be jailed, were responsible for the Holocaust, molest dozens of people before being caught and that Rep. Keith Ellison is using support for gay marriage as a gateway to enacting Islamic Sharia law in the United States.

‘Shock treatment’

He is also the head-banging front man for the metal band Junkyard Prophet, with which he travels to schools around the country to deliver “shock treatment” performances. Thinking they are getting a bargain-priced anti-drug rally kicked off with a kid-enticing concert, school administrators routinely accept his offer to stage rallies in high schools.

What they actually get is a blistering diatribe about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, abortion, pornography, “impure thoughts” and, of course, homosexuality. After forking out up to $1,500 for a service that’s sometimes portrayed as a $15,000 value, administrators find themselves apologizing to students and parents.

Superintendent Jim Stanton of Dunkerton, Iowa, is the most recent occupant of this particular hot seat following a three-hour Dean-led assembly held in the community’s high school two weeks ago.

According to the television station KWWL, “Students say the assembly started well. The band played some great music and most students agreed with their message.

” ‘They were a rock band, and they talked about music that had bad influences on kids,’ said high school junior Kenzley Ricklefs.

“But then things took an unexpected turn. The group switched their message from music, to negative opinions about the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community.

“’They started talking about homosexuality, and that’s when I really got offended,’ Manahl said. ‘I got a little emotional. I wanted to walk out. But I’m like – keep your calm, listen to what they have to say.’

“Then they split into smaller groups – girls, boys, and teachers. The guys got a lesson in the constitution and Christianity. The conversation in the girls group was very different.

“’I’m a Christian, so I believe in most of the things that they said. Like, they talked about if you’re unpure in your past, it’s your past. You can create a new future for yourself,’ senior Ashley Satterlee said.”

A second assembly

Stanton held a second, unplanned assembly last week to take responsibility for what he called “a poor decision” and to clarify the district’s stance on some of the topics raised:

“’We work hard to teach tolerance in our classrooms,’ [he] told students at a second assembly Thursday afternoon…. ‘That’s not what we were anticipating, and when we called the other schools where they had been, why wasn’t this mentioned?’”

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Dean, too, held a second Dunkerton gathering at a local church at which he defended his performance.

Before Dean’s supposed surprise performance at the Capitol last spring, most of what had been written about him existed only in the blogosphere, posted there by folks with pretty clear, critical opinions. Minnesota’s own, has the most exhaustive archive of Bradlee Dean writings, video and audio from his radio show (as well as the habit of sending same Learning Curve’s way).

And an intelligent dissection of Dean’s recent appearance can be found at “Off the Record,” a blog about religion, politics and equality maintained by Iowan Andy Kopsa.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/15/2012 - 11:22 am.

    Where are the Constitution Police when you need them?

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/15/2012 - 12:38 pm.

    “Side door”

    Sigh. I find it interesting that there are so many “conservative Christians” who… aren’t.

  3. Submitted by Nick Magrino on 03/15/2012 - 12:42 pm.

    Well, I guess it’s good to see the superintendent of Dunkerton, Iowa schools doing a better job handling homophobia than the superintendent of Anoka-Hennepin…

  4. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 03/15/2012 - 01:08 pm.

    People like Dean are the biggest threat to Christianity

    Once you establish the precedent that the dominant religion should have undue influence in the public sphere, you set the stage for the next guys religion to take over when you are no longer the majority.

    Dean is out for personal glory. Everything that comes out of his mouth is about his glorious battle against the powers of evil. We get it. You’re a super hero.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/15/2012 - 01:55 pm.


    I’m sorry but is it too much to ask that a school official “google” the folks they’re bringing in so they have some idea who they are?

  6. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/15/2012 - 02:51 pm.


    Anyone that brings a bargain-priced group into a school without doing a shred of research needs to be nailed to the wall. I admit that my blood boils to know that the kids were separated by gender and the boys get a lesson on the Constitution and Christianity, while girls get a lecture on purity. Wow. Just…wow. Of course, there are commenters on this site that would readily agree that females are incapable of complex thought and decisions. But its one thing for someone to try to convince obviously intelligent people that women are incapable of thought…it’s another to allow kids to be exposed to that tripe. “We didn’t know” is no excuse.

  7. Submitted by Dan Bosch on 03/15/2012 - 07:25 pm.

    Divide and Conquer?

    An anonymous student on the KWWL site posted this account, “Like KWWL said, they split us up into separate groups of guys, girls, and teachers. None of the controversial matter they talked about like God and Anti-abortion came up until we were in our separate groups and the teachers were in their own meeting with their speaker so there was no adult supervision to stop any of this from happening.” Quite strange that this was allowed and that the teachers needed their own group session.

  8. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/16/2012 - 09:09 am.

    Bradlee Dean

    Is ALL about the glory of Bradlee Dean,…

    and has NOTHING to do (and no CLUE about) the God whom Jesus called “dad.”

    The only “god” Dean worships is the one he has created in the image of his own personality dysfunctions. His only goal is to wound others until they are inflicted with those same dysfunctions so that he will NEVER have to face up to the reality that God is trying to bring to his awareness:

    the reality that there’s something wrong with Bradlee Dean,…

    and those who DISagree with him are the ones who are faithfully and genuinely experiencing God’s presence and faithfully following God’s guidance after the example of the life, ministry, and teachings of Jesus,…

    (whose life was and is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than his death).

    That a school district would allow Dean free, unsupervised, access to their students so that he and his minions might make a massive attempt to damage and wound them until they can comprehend no other perspective but his own is unconscionable, irresponsible, and demonstrates a horrible combination of ignorance and neglect on the part of the staff responsible for arranging such an event and ignoring their supervisory duties while the event was occurring.

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