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Radio host threatens to oust Minn. lawmaker over invocation objections

JTA

March 22, 2011 | 10:17 am

A conservative radio host suggested that he would work to unseat a Minnesota state senator who opposed a pastor’s invocation in the statehouse for being nonsectarian.

An invocation earlier this month by the Rev. Dennis Campbell, a conservative Baptist, mentioned Jesus Christ three times. Campbell’s invocation had prompted state Sen. Terri Bonoff, a Democrat who is Jewish, to ask the body’s leadership to change the standard letter given to clergy to say that it requires prayer to be “interfaith and nonsectarian” rather than the current “request.” Bonoff told The Associated Press that the invocation made her “highly uncomfortable.”

Campbell told Conservative radio host Bradlee Dean over the weekend that Jewish members of the Senate should not be offended by the prayer since Jesus was a Jew. He also said he thought that America’s Founding Fathers would have supported the prayer.

Dean is the founder of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, a Christian youth ministry that holds assemblies in public schools. He suggested that Campbell’s ministry work against Bonoff’s re-election in 2012.

“Maybe what we need to do is get her name eradicated,” Dean said, according to the Minnesota Independent. “She’s looking to get rid of who we are as a people. Well, then, why don’t we help her possibly leave?”

Campbell described what happened after the invocation.

“After the prayer we were ushered out to the back room there and I had one or two people that opposed the prayer—and they were both Jewish folks—to one of them I said, ‘I want you to know that as Christians that we really love the Jews,’ ” Campbell told Dean and his radio sidekick, Jake McMillian. “He made a comment that they weren’t interested in our love so much as respect.”

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