The group pushing the marriage amendment apologized Monday after its director of church outreach told at least a couple small groups that the other side is using techniques similar to Adolf Hitler.
“I apologize that it wandered off in this direction,” said Andy Parrish, deputy campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage. "It’s clearly not what we are talking about in this campaign.”
At an event recorded by the rival campaign, the Rev. Brad Brandon tells a group in Brainerd that Hitler suppressed religious freedom and that religious freedom is at stake in the marriage fight.
“We’re not saying that one side or the other is equal to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities that were committed in Nazi Germany,” Brandon said during a presentation that included a huge picture of the German ruler. “What we are simply saying is that when a totalitarian dictator takes place and wants to suppress the voice of a group…. they use certain tactics.”
The informational sessions were recorded and shared by Minnesotans United for All Families, the lead group trying to defeat the amendment.
The Rev. Grant Stevensen, faith director for Minnesotans United, called Brandon's statements "beyond the pale and has absolutely no place in the discourse surrounding this amendment."
A couple weeks before the Brainerd event, Brandon made a similar pitch at a public seminar in Woodbury, which was attended by at least two other Minnesota for Marriage staffers, including its communication director.
“Adolf Hitler stepped in and said, ‘You know what this is a socialist country and what we need to do here now is have the government be in the control and make decisions for those businesses,'” Brandon said on a separate recording. “Now remember, he did all of this in the name of equality."
After being contacted by the Star Tribune, Parrish said they have instructed Brandon to get back on message. Parrish said he had not previously reviewed or approved Brandon’s speech.
Brandon’s discussion about Hitler “is not representative about how we feel about the other side,” Parrish said. “Pastor Brandon is going to get back on message that kids need a mom and a dad and why marriage is worth preserving.”
Minnesota for Marriage does not have any references to Hitler or the holocaust on its website, campaign literature or commercials.
Brandon could not be reached for comment and the campaign declined to make him available.
In older blog posts and on his previous Word of Truth radio program, Brandon had warned about how some of Hitler’s sometimes subtle and terrifying tactics are mirrored in modern society.
Brandon, head pastor at Berean Bible Baptist Church in Hastings, has endured criticism in previous years for endorsing Michele Bachmann’s presidential bid and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer from the pulpit.