MURDOCK, Minn. (AP) — The metropolis council in a small Minnesota farming group has voted to grant a allow that enables a controversial Nordic heritage church that has been recognized as a white supremacist group to collect at an deserted church.
The vote Wednesday night time got here after the council within the Swift County group of Murdock was suggested by the town lawyer that rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly’s request may violate its spiritual rights. The AFA needs to show the previous Lutheran church right into a Midwest regional gathering corridor.
Council members, assembly on-line due to the coronavirus pandemic, stored video cameras turned off and refused to establish who voted for or in opposition to the allow. It was handed on a voice vote with out a roll name, the Star Tribune reported. One member of the five-person council might be heard voting no.
City Attorney Don Wilcox instructed council members that they confronted attainable authorized motion in the event that they voted in opposition to the AFA based mostly on its beliefs.
“There are certain constitutional protections that apply to religions,” Wilcox mentioned. “I haven’t seen any proof ample to beat the presumption that they’re a faith, whether or not you agree with it or not.
“There’s not a compelling interest in keeping that building from being used for meetings,” he added. “Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean they can’t do it.”
The group has sparked a wave of activism in Murdock, a group of about 300 about 115 miles (185 kilometers) west of the Twin Cities. After the AFA bought the church earlier this 12 months for $45,000, space residents fashioned a gaggle referred to as the Murdock Area Alliance Against Hate and have held a number of protests.
AFA board member Allen Turnage has mentioned the church wouldn’t admit a Black particular person “because they’re not of northern European descent.”
The AFA is amongst teams that search to apply a pre-Christian, European spirituality and, in response to a press release on its web site, it’s pro-white. The Southern Poverty Law Center has added the AFA to its checklist of hate teams.
Turnage mentioned the AFA has about 500 members nationwide, and 20 or so in and round Minnesota.
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