Anti-Gay West Michigan ‘Mechanic’ To Host Townhall In Jenison Public School

By |2015-06-09T09:00:00-04:00June 9th, 2015|Michigan, News|

A West Michigan business owner who made headlines in April for declaring he would refuse to provide mechanic’s services to openly gay persons is planning a June 11 event at Jenison Public Schools Center for the Arts.
“This is an event to discuss a lot of issues going on in our nation and our community today. We’re going to talk about how the Constitution is applied today. We’re going to talk about the Holy Bible,” Brian Klawiter, owner of Dieseltec in Grandville, told WOOD TV 8.
Klawiter said his event will feature extreme anti-gay luminaries Bradlee Dean and “Coach” Dave Daubenmire, according to a report on MLive.com.
Dean runs the controversial anti-gay ministry “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International Ministries” in Minnesota. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports Dean renounced his “allegiance to the world,” and declared to become a sovereign citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. Sovereign citizens challenge the right of the government to exist, and in this case, Dean’s brand opposes secular government.
He is also the host of the radio show, “The Sons of Liberty.” Andy Birkey, an LGBT activist and reporter in Minneapolis, has covered Dean extensively over the years. In fact, Birkey was named as a defendant in a $25 million defamation lawsuit brought by Dean against “The Rachel Maddow Show” in 2011. Birkey was employed by the Minnesota Independent at the time, a publication of the American Independent News Network. The news site has since been dismantled.
Dean claims Birkey and then Maddow defamed him when they reported he said on his radio show that he supported radical Muslims’ calls for the execution of gays. Maddow, in a segment on her MSNBC television show, also allegedly made fun of his music and his name, reports SPLC. The case was dismissed by a federal district court in 2012, and Dean was ordered to pay MSNBC’s legal fees of nearly $25,000.
To sue Birkey and Maddow, Dean hired right-wing lawyer Larry Klayman, who has called for a coup against President Barack Obama and filed numerous lawsuits against the Clintons in the 1990s, the civil rights organization reports.
Klawiter, like Dean, claims he does not hate gays, but rather loves them and is obligated to tell them the “truth,” from his Christian perspective.
“In my experience writing about figures like Bradlee Dean, I’ve found that the anti-LGBT rhetoric is often couched in the language of ‘love,'” Birkey wrote in an email to Between the Lines. “They love us so much that they want to save us from ‘the lifestyle’ which their version of God has decided is deserving of eternal torment. I think they really think they are saving LGBT people from hell with this ‘love’ business. Predictably, that love manifests in some odd ways — denial of services, name-calling and shaming campaigns, and lobbying to end equal protection laws, among others. That’s a big part of Bradlee Dean’s message. He says he loves homosexuals. I think his definition of love needs some work.”
As for Daubenmire, he spent the 1990s as a high school football coach. During that time he allegedly used his position to proselytize, and the ACLU sued and won over that issue. So he moved into the right-wing Christian speaker’s circuit, said Ed Brayton, a blogger who monitors extreme religious issues around the world.
In a video from Daubenmire, released by Right Wing Watch, he is seen talking about Jason Collins coming out. Collins became the first openly gay NBA basketball player in 2013.
“I’m one of the few guys you’ll be able to turn onto the camera and say that homosexuality is an abomination,” Daubenmire said. “I don’t hate homosexuals. I hate homosexual behavior. And I hate what it does to families. I hate what it does to individuals. I hate what it does to our society. I hate homosexuality and I am not afraid to stand up and say it.”
Both men say Michigan’s LGBT community should be concerned that Klawiter, who does not have a current mechanic’s license in Michigan, is aligning with Daubenmire and Dean.
“The LGBT community should be worried about this kind of thing because Bradlee Dean and Coach Dave Daubenmire are, even by the standards of the Christian right, very extreme figures,” said Brayton. “They don’t just want to keep gay people from getting married, they want to prevent them from existing at all, at least publicly. They have advocated anti-gay positions that come very close to the religious totalitarianism of Christian Reconstructionism. As experience in the Muslim world demonstrates, theocracy of any kind makes gay people a particular target for punishment, if not outright elimination.”
“The community in Michigan should be concerned if this kind of rhetoric is heard and not challenged,” Birkey added. “There’s an increasing distance between extreme politicized conservative Christianity and the mainstream, but these folks still have the ear of lawmakers. We saw that in Minnesota with Dean when his ministry received donations from a GOP candidate for governor who lost by only a few thousand votes, and when a leader in the Minnesota House asked him to give the opening prayer. It’s important that the public know what kinds of views these religious leaders espouse and that they know who has their ear in elected office.”
Klawiter will hold his event, which he billed as a “true state of the union” in an interview with MLive.com, at 6 p.m. on June 11.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant for this kind of event,” Birkey said. “Show up, record it and share it on social media. Let them speak for themselves. These types of anti-LGBT leaders often do a good job of discrediting themselves with their own word.”

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