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Prominent Minnesota Columnist Calls Al Franken Anti-Christian

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One might think that hate speech within the state Minnesota deserved a time-out after Republican Michele Bachmann's call for an investigation into whether any Democrats had anti-American views in Congress. But apparently it just opened the floodgates to allow all right-wing crazies with a microphone or a pen a chance to spew whatever thought was bouncing around in their head.

Partisan columnist Kristine Kersten for the Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspaper has written columns for the largest Minneapolis paper that have become more and more thinly veiled right-wing attack pieces on everything progressive like "sustainability", equal rights to gay couples, and now claiming that Democrat Al Franken is somehow anti-Christian. Yes, that appears to be the newest mantra of the increasingly desperate religious right-wing of the Republican party.

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In a column cleverly timed after yesterday's Hillary Clinton rally for Al Franken, Kristine Kersten said, "But Franken didn't apologize for another aspect of his trash-talking shtick. He's aimed some of his most offensive material at religious believers, particularly Christians." The title of her column said it all, "Vulgar mockery of Christians: Is this what we want in a US senator?" and referenced some of Al Franken's satire from almost a decade ago.

Ms. Kersten went on to say, "We're used to slanderers of Christianity getting government arts grants. But Franken wants more. He's asking us to send him to what's been called 'the most exclusive club in the world' -- and to serve us there until 2014." Democratic challenger Al Franken is locked in a tight 3-way battle with incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley for one of Minnesota's U.S. senate seats.

Considering both John McCain and Barack Obama made the traditional comedic 'roasts' in good jest last week at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner it seems hard to believe that the right-wing ideologues really don't get satire or sarcasm. But it does seem to be a selective excuse when it will fit some political purpose for them.

Is a satirical commentary on the evils of exploiting Christianity for capitalistic gains so far off base? Have not all the TV evangelist scandals over the years shown a very damning light on the sometimes unholy alliance between capitalism and Christianity? While some of Al Franken's old satirical writings may be hard to stomach, it is usually the hardest for those who can't look themselves in the mirror. There is already a multi-billion dollar industry that specializes on selling Jesus figurines and crosses and t-shirts and other stuff, essentially designed to make a buck off of Christianity. If Kristine Kersten honestly believes there would not be at least one TV evangelist that would try to make a buck off of a traveling exhibit of some sort of proof of the crucifixion then she really is naive and it is exactly these people that Al Franken is satirizing.

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Something that is apparently also lost on Ms. Kersten is the fact that both the incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and his Democratic challenger Al Franken are of the Jewish faith.

Many people have questioned why the Star Tribune Newspaper would hire this resident scholar from the "Center of the American Experiment" who had no previous journalistic experience as a "news" columnist. The "Center for the American Experiment" claims to be a nonpartisan, public policy and educational institution, which espouses conservative and free market ideas. An ideological conservative think-tank might be a more accurate description.

Ms. Kersten is also listed on the payroll of the "Institute on Religion and Democracy Inc." a conservative pseudo-religious think-tank which also calls into question her journalistic objectivity and supposed non-partisanship. The "Institute of Religion and Democracy Inc." carries out the goals of its secular funders and pushes a specific political agenda on mainline churches across the country.

Mainline Protestant churches like the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and United Church of Christ have recently accused the "Institute on Religion and Democracy Inc." of orchestrating attacks carried out by determined right-wing ideologues who use CIA-style propaganda methods to sow dissention and distrust among their church leadership, all in pursuit of a radical political agenda.

The pursuit of this hardline agenda and demeaning of people who do not agree with their agenda, including an unapologetic advancement of traditional Christian "Just War" teachings is certainly not a Christian teaching I remember finding in the in the New Testament.

Sadly the state of Minnesota has been thrown into some type of time warp and has somehow gotten caught in between a 1950's McCarthyism witch hunt and a 1690's Puritan witch hunt. I hope the state can re-enter the 21st century, before November 4th.

Express your outrage by supporting Minnesota's Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Al Franken!

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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)
 

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