I'm told that no one has ever seen the Minnesota Independent's Andy Birkey and Minneapolis City Pages' Nick Pinto together in the same room, so those who mistakenly suspect that they are the Hannah Montana and Miley Stewart of Bradlee Dean reporting can be forgiven.
For years, Birkey has picked up where bloggers at Dump Bachmann began, chronicling Dean's virulently homophobic ministry. If you don't read his work at the Minnesota Independent, start now. Minnpost's Daily Glean has rightly called him "the go-to guy for news on the gay marriage referendum," and his thorough investigations will be a great asset for those working to defeat the Bradlee Dean bill when it comes up on the ballot in 2012. (See, for instance,Minnesota Anti-LGBT Group Spouts, Then Hides, Timeworn Lies, the SLPC Hatewatch report that cites Birkey's recent uncovering of the Minnesota Family Council's balderdash)
But although the amendment has drawn some of Birkey's attention away from Dean, the City Pages has stepped up to the plate. Today, Pinto scores a homer in Bradlee Dean uses "suicide prevention" to raise money for anti-gay ministry, relating two first-hand accounts of Dean's Street Teams monkey show working the unsuspecting at a BP station on Lexington in St. Paul.
Recall the discussion that Michael Straumann had with the Street Team working at the Hutchinson Walmart (recounted at Bluestem here) in which the Deanistas denied the problem of high teen suicide rates among LGBTQ youth while claiming to be oppressed by anti-bullying campaigns. To raise money under the pretext of suicide prevention, while fighting a self-described "war" against LGTBTQ people raises the bar on bait-and-switch for all hucksters.
But Dean's activities aren't just a con; they're hurtful to children who are learning about their identity. Talking to Straumann, the Street Team members shared Dean's notion that being gay was no different than being a murderer or rapist--and Straumann said he tied up their time in hopes that they wouldn't get a chance to mess up local children.
When City Pages spoke with Dean by telephone yesterday, he said there's nothing deceptive about presenting his ministry to potential donors as a suicide prevention or drug-abuse prevention organization.
"We do address the topic," Dean said. "We do tell the kids that, you know what? Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. So it is a part of our ministry."
His claims aren't persuasive to Julia Miller, who regrets giving $5 to You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International -- not least because her friend who committed suicide was gay.
"When I realized that was the group I had given money to, I felt sick to my stomach," Miller says. "Other people need to be made aware of this, so they don't make the same mistake I did."
It's likely that Walmart isn't going to be the only business that tells the Street Teams to take it elsewhere. Kudoes to all of those who've worked for years to bring the facts about Dean's "ministry" to light. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Photo: While the Dean Street Teams might have thought they were justifying the ways of God to men, I'd say it's more like Paradise lost by light of a dashboard shot in the Hutchinson Walmart.