Hastings minister's Hitler reference draws outcryby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A group of Twin Cities religious leaders called for an apology for a same-sex marriage ban supporter's comments that compared gay marriage advocates' tactics to those used by Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany.
Hastings minister Rev. Brad Brandon was taped at a recent Brainerd meeting saying Hitler suppressed religious freedom of expression and that is what's at stake in the current marriage debate. Brandon is church outreach director for Minnesota for Marriage, which supports a constitutional amendment proposal on the November ballot that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
A group of religious leaders said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon the comparison was shocking and inappropriate. They called on Brandon and his organization to apologize.
Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman said that sort of reference should only be used when talking about World War II.
"We are shocked at the misuse of Hitler and the Nazi regime," Zimmerman said. "I have to say as the Jewish community, this comparison is never to be used in any other situation."
Minnesota for Marriage spokeswoman Autumn Leva said the Hitler reference was wrong and her group, as well as Brandon, apologized earlier.
The religious leaders said they had not seen an apology.
Some supports say the comments have been misunderstood and blown out of proportion.
"It absolutely has been blown out of proportion. And Pastor Brandon's comments have been taken out of context, too," Leva said.
"I think the point here is that there are consequences to redefining marriage."