Ken Avidor has a diary up at Daily Kos that should send shivers down your spine. Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is requesting a $500,000 earmark for Minnesota Teen Challenge. What is that you say?
MNTC is a ministry of the Assemblies of God. MNTC believes that Halloween, Harry Potter and Pokemon are gateways to drug addiction. MNTC has fostered close ties with many politicians, mostly Republicans such as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Tim Pawlenty (Tim Pawlenty's wife was a MNTC board member).
You can see the religious batsh*ttery in the Teen Challenge literature on the right (click for the full PDF). Teen Challenge, btw promotes Exodus International's "pray away the gay" ministry. Check out its Student Handbook, which includes under Conduct: "Students must conduct themselves in a manner pleasing to God. There shall be no smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, or homosexual behavior." The application also asks: "Have you ever engaged in homosexual activity? "
Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent has been covering this
If you accept taxpayer money, you have to accept that you're going to receive public scrutiny. That simple point seems to be eluding Minnesota Teen Challenge (MNTC), the faith-based drug treatment program which secured a federal earmark in early 2008 arranged by Rep. Jim Ramstad and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for its "Know the Truth" program which aims to prevent drug use.
Operating close to the border of church and state, the group's members are unrealistic if they think their work is not going to get attention.
...The point of my article was not to suggest that MNTC was not successful or beneficial, as Scherber implies. Rather it was to point out the overtly religious nature of the organization and that the program has historically been controversial. In the interest of brevity, I left some examples out. For instance, MNTC's stance on Halloween verges on the comical ("Halloween is a day set up totally for Satan ... The more people who go out dressed as demons, ghosts, witches and goblins, the more glory Satan receives"). Scherber's claim that the Holy Spirit told an MNTC bus driver to avoid the 35-W bridge on the day of its collapse in August 2007 is touching but, let us say, unverified.
I don't question that faith-based programs can be very effective for those that share the programs' faith. Faith is a huge motivator in people's lives. I think MNTC has been very effective for the clients it serves. However, I don't think it's appropriate for judges, prosecutors or public defenders to suggest the program as an alternative to jail.
Ken says the MSM in the state has completely ignored this story; Dump Michelle Bachmann has been covering this as well. I'm still wondering why tax dollars should go to a whackjob program like this -- church/state separation is definitely on the table here.
Why look -- here's our soon-to-be-former President hailing Teen Challenge! Watch the video; counting down to January 20th...
Dump Michelle Bachmann pulled this unhinged interview with a Teen Challenge graduate from its newsletter.
At Minnesota Teen Challenge, we have an increasing number of residents who have been involved in occult activity. We help individuals break the bonds of sorcery and witchcraft as well as drugs and alcohol.
Q: What does Halloween mean to the Satanic church?
A: "Halloween is a day totally set up for Satan. It's our biggest recruitment day of the year, so we usually meet a couple days beforehand to pray for an abundance of people to be out on the streets. The more people who go out dressed up like demons, ghosts, witches and goblins, the more glory Satan receives."
Q: What evil things would you do on Halloween?
A: "We would have people put curses over candy and place jewelry with demonic symbols in Trick or Treat bags. When the kids take it willingly, it opens the door for demonic attack. Kids would be sick for weeks after Halloween. Drug dealers were out in full force. We would all try to recruit at least one person to come back to the Satanic meeting. Usually, we would just try to impress them with different displays of demonic power, like levitation and casting spells."
Q: Which Halloween experience was the scariest?
A: "Different moons require different sacrifices. One Halloween, we received a letter from the head church in San Diego with blood and a crow's foot on it. This meant that there had to be a human sacrifice. The leader of our group walked over to an older, unimportant man and handed him a knife, saying: 'You know what you need to do.' The man took the knife and split his stomach open, letting his intestines spill out on the ground. He screamed in agony, and as he fell to his knees he cried out, 'Satan, take me home!' We would never sacrifice a Christian, because that would bring glory to God. It would be disgusting. Satan was our God, and we wanted all the glory to go to him."
Q: What made you want to leave the Satanic church?
A: "I began to question Satan's power when our plans would be wrecked by my Christian mom. We would plan something for months, then my mom would find out about it and somehow stop it with her prayers. I couldn't understand how this tiny woman could stop the whole Satanic church. Then when people started dying, I really wanted out. The suicide rate in our town went out of control, and kids began killing their parents. I was haunted by images of that Halloween when Satan required one of his own to die. I couldn't understand why Satan would want to kill his own people."
This crap better not slip through the cracks and receive funding next time around.