White supremacy is unwelcome in Minn.

If you think white supremacy movements are just a problem in the South or in pockets of Michigan, Idaho and Oregon, think again.

The community of Murdock in west-central Minnesota is grappling with a decision about whether to grant a permit to a group that in 2018 made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.

Describing itself as a religion practicing pre-Christian European spirituality, the Asatru Folk Assembly bought an old church in the Swift County town and wants to turn it into a Midwest regional gathering hall. This is a group that would not want any Black members “because they’re not of northern European descent,” a member of the AFA’s board said at the Murdock City Council meeting last week. Clearly segregation is their norm, according to the AFA’s statement of ethics on its website: “We in Asatru support strong, healthy white family relationships. We want our children to grow up to be mothers and fathers to white children of their own. We believe that those activities and behaviors supportive of the white family should be encouraged while those activities and behaviors destructive of the white family are to be discouraged.”

This repugnant philosophy has no place in today’s society. There is a world of difference between celebrating different culture and history as you would in a German Club or Norwegian Club versus a group that holds itself as superior, not wanting to sully its purity by mixing with others who don’t have the same ancestry.

Our region could have ended up as this group’s Midwest home. Before setting its sights on Murdock, the Asatru Folk Assembly was rumored to be looking into buying an old church in New Ulm last year. Members of the group had organized get-togethers in the city, known for its German heritage, in past years. The group never responded to Free Press questions about its interest in establishing a church in the city. Luckily, the sale to the group did not go through.

And many of the people in Murdock have any say, the AFA will not get its permit to gather in the church building, which is now zoned as residential. About 50 of the 275 residents came to the city meeting in opposition to the permit exactly as they should have.

The town should be proud of those who attended and stood up loudly against hate. Let’s hope the council listens to those residents who don’t want their community to become a place where being racist is deemed acceptable.

— Mankato Free Press


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