Racism is ever-present in America, and some say the establishment is helping it to grow. That seems like the case here, as a new whites-only church just got permission to operate in Minnesota. NBC News reports that the Asatru Folk Assembly in Murdock, Minnesota has been given a conditional use permit to open a church there.
The population of Murdock is 280 people, although 50,000 signatures have been added to an online petition to stop the church from being opened. “I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we’d like to keep the pressure on them,” said longtime Murdock resident Peter Kennedy to NBC. “Racism is not welcome here."
Jean Lesteberg, a resident in the neighboring town of De Graff, took to the city's Facebook page to vent. “Just because the council gave them a conditional permit does not mean that the town and people in the area surrounding will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” he wrote. The Asatru Folk Assembly has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “neo-Volkisch hate group” that bases “their bigotry in baseless claims of bloodlines grounding the superiority of one’s white identity.”
The Asatru Folk Assembly have been called white supremacists, which they vehemently deny. “We’re not. It’s just simply not true," stated Allen Turnage, a board member of the group. "Just because we respect our own culture, that doesn’t mean we are denigrating someone else’s." Well that's an interesting way to describe racism.