A Minnesota pastor has apologized after sparking the ire of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates by implying that support for same-sex marriage is akin to Nazi Germany.
CBS Minnesota reports that Rev. Brad Brandon asked residents at at least three recent rallies: “How many of you are familiar with what happened in World War II under Adolf Hitler?”
As video footage of one rally attests, Brandon then went on to compare Hitler's anti-Semitic actions to what he believes is happening to Christians who oppose marriage equality now. “What I’m simply saying is that Adolf Hitler took away two fundamental rights from a group of people in order to suppress them," he says in the clip, evidently part of a 40-minute Power Point presentation intended to sway voters to support the marriage amendment. "Those two fundamental rights are the same rights that are being taken away from the Christian community."
According to MyFox 9, Brandon continued the analogy even further, noting: "[Hitler] removed their voices in the public square and removed their control of their own businesses. So, he stopped Jewish people from speaking out in public and he silenced them."
Brandon is the church outreach director for Minnesota for Marriage, the campaign supporting the amendment. If approved by voters in November, Minnesota's existing ban on gay marriage will be placed in the state constitution.
Among those to condemn Brandon's words was Rev. Grant Stevens, Faith Director for Minnesotan’s United For All Families. "To compare one campaign or another campaign or something that they’re doing to Hitler and to the Nazis...what a terrible idea," Stevens told Kare 11.
Autumn Leva, a spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, says that while Brandon's "religious liberties point" was correct, the Hitler reference was not only a "poor analogy" but also out of context and misunderstood.
"He's been instructed to no longer compare the loss of religious freedoms to Hitler and Nazi Germany," Leva told Fox 9.