Minnesota Town (Murdock) Approves Permit For White-Only Church, Says It’s Not Racist

When the church doors open, only white people will be allowed inside.

That’s the message the Asatru Folk Assembly in Murdock, Minnesota, is sending after being granted a conditional use permit to open a church there and practice its pre-Christian religion that originated in northern Europe.

Despite a council vote officially approving the permit this month, residents are pushing back against the decision.

Opponents have collected about 50,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the all-white church from making its home in the farming town of 280 people.

“I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we’d like to keep the pressure on them,” said Peter Kennedy, a longtime Murdock resident. “Racism is not welcome here.”

Many locals said they support the growing population of Latinos, who have moved to the area in the past decade because of job opportunities, over the church.

“Just because the council gave them a conditional permit does not mean that the town and people in the area surrounding will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” Jean Lesteberg, who lives in the neighboring town of De Graff, wrote on the city’s Facebook page.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Asatru Folk Assembly as a “neo-Volkisch hate group” that couches “their bigotry in baseless claims of bloodlines grounding the superiority of one’s white identity.”

Many residents call them a white supremacist or white separatist group, but church members deny it.

“We’re not. It’s just simply not true,” said Allen Turnage, a folk assembly board member. “Just because we respect our own culture, that doesn’t mean we are denigrating someone else’s.”

The group, based in Brownsville, California, says teachings and membership are for those of strictly European bloodlines.

The church was looking for a new church in the eastern North Dakota region when they came across Murdock. It’s unknown how many members they have worldwide or how many people will attend the new church.

“We do not need salvation. All we need is freedom to face our destiny with courage and honor,” the group wrote on its website about their beliefs. “We honor the Gods under the names given to them by our Germanic/Norse ancestors.”

Their forefathers, according to the website, were “Angels and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings, and, as sons and daughters of these people, they are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by centuries.”

“We respect the ways our ancestors viewed the world and approached the universe a thousand years ago,” Turnage said.

Murdock council members said they do not support the church but were legally obligated to approve the permit, which they did in a 3-1 decision.

“We were highly advised by our attorney to pass this permit for legal reasons to protect the First Amendment rights,” Mayor Craig Kavanagh said. “We knew that if this was going to be denied, we were going to have a legal battle on our hands that could be pretty expensive.”

City Attorney Don Wilcox said it came down to free speech and freedom of religion.

“I think there’s a great deal of sentiment in the town that they don’t want that group there,” he said. “You can’t just bar people from practicing whatever religion they want or saying anything they want as long as it doesn’t incite violence.”

The farming town about a 115-mile drive west of Minneapolis is known for producing corn and soybeans, which are shipped across the country. Latinos make up about 20 percent of Murdock’s small population. Many are day laborers from Mexico and Central America, city officials said.

“We’re a welcoming community,” Kennedy said, rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly’s exclusionary beliefs. “That’s not at all what the people of Murdock feel. Nobody had a problem with the Hispanics here.”

The AFA purchased its building this year on property in a residential zone. Constructed as a Lutheran church before the zoning was changed, it was later converted to a private residence. The folk assembly needed the permit to convert the residence back to a church.

“It’s ironic the city council didn’t want to commit discrimination against the church, but the church is discriminating against Blacks,” said Abigail Suiter, 33, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It’s very telling of where the priority is and whose lives matter.”

Prominent lawyers disagree on the council’s options heading into the vote. Some of the debate centered on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which protects religious institutions and churches from unduly burdens and discriminatory land-use regulations.

Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said the council might have been able to prevent the private sale of the property, had it known about it, through laws focused on forbidding racial discrimination in property transactions.

“No institution that proposes to exclude people on account of race is allowed to run an operation in the state of Minnesota,” Tribe said.

Kavanagh said he stands by the council vote “for legal reasons only.”

“The biggest thing people don’t understand is, because we’ve approved this permit, all of a sudden everyone feels this town is racist, and that isn’t the case,” he said. “Just because we voted yes doesn’t mean we’re racist.”

Source: NBC News

‘I Still Believe In Our City’ – Artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s Public Art Series Takes On Anti-Asian Racism In Brooklyn Subway Station

On Tuesday, New Yorkers commuting through the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station will find it transformed with vibrant portraits of Black, Asian and Pacific Islander people along with anti-discriminatory messages like “I did not make you sick” and “I am not your scapegoat.”

The series is the work of the neuroscientist turned artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya (pronounced PING-bodee-bak-ee-ah). In August, Ms. Phingbodhipakkiya was named a New York City Public Artist in Residence through a program that has partnered artists with city agencies since 2015. She is one of two artists currently embedded with the city’s Commission on Human Rights, which invested $220,000 in this campaign.

Ms. Phingbodhipakkiya’s “I Still Believe in Our City” series was created as a response to a grim statistic. From February to September, the Commission received more than 566 reports of discrimination, harassment and bias related to Covid-19 — 184 of which were anti-Asian in nature. It’s a troubling spike not just appearing in New York, but in Asian-American communities across the country.

“My goal with this art series was to turn these hurts into something beautiful and powerful,” Ms. Phingbodhipakkiya said in a phone interview. She added, “I really wanted to find a way to say, despite everything we have faced as Asian-Americans and New Yorkers, that I still believe in New York.”

From Nov. 3 to Dec. 2, the series of 45 pieces will be displayed in the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, a central hub that serves a diverse group of commuting New Yorkers. Ms. Phingbodhipakkiya said that it was also the site of a reported, Covid-related bias incident in March, when a 26-year-old Asian-American man reported he was spat on.

A description of that incident has been included in one of the pieces, alongside portraits of Asians and flowers that Ms. Phingbodhipakkiya said have symbolic meanings in Chinese and East Asian cultures. Other panels offer information and historical context about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and statistics about Asian-owned businesses.

Source: NY Times

Only 10 Cities Have Won Multiple Titles In A Year – Los Angeles Now Tied With New York For The Most

Since 1903, 10 cities in the United States have had their clubs win multiple titles. This includes teams from seven major leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, WNBA, NWSL).

A good deal of Los Angeles’ multiple titles were won by basketball teams. The Lakers and the Sparks won titles in 2001 and 2002.

The Galaxy have contributed the most of any Los Angeles team, with titles in 2002, 2012 and 2014 in such years. The NHL’s Kings also won championships in 2012 and 2014.

Los Angeles is the only city to have three teams win a championships in a single year – with the Lakers, Sparks and Galaxy capturing crowns in 2002.

Much of New York’s success can be attributed to its baseball teams, with the Yankees contributing four titles to multiple-title years. Since championships in 1986 by the Mets and the NFL’s Giants, New York has been dormant.

Source: LA Times

Hong Kong Mall Hilariously Replaces Racy Scantily-Clad Pin-Up Girls After Takedown Complaint

A mall frequented by locals in Hong Kong has addressed furor surrounding provocative illustrations of scantily-clad women… by somehow making them more outrageous. 

The nine-story Dragon Centre at Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po had been recognizable for its racy billboards by illustrator Elphonso Lam Cheung-kwan depicting pin-up girls in swimsuits, sportswear, and school uniforms. 

The risqué appeal became part of the mall’s branding, and nuances of it were even added to buses. 

However, not all locals were receptive to this sort of aesthetic. According to the Hong Kong Standard, district councilor Nicole Lau Pui-yuk from the conservative Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong pushed for the artworks to be taken down following complaints from parents, who thought the imagery was inappropriate and raunchy. 

The artist responded that the illustrations had been approved by the Obscene Articles Tribunal, and suggested that the graphics would only be indecent if the viewer’s thoughts were indecent in the first place. 

Nonetheless, disgruntled parents got what they wished for—though not exactly in the way they had imagined. Instead of wholly replacing the imagery, Dragon Centre kept faithful to its cheeky branding by parodying the original graphics. 

Source: DesignTAXI

For the first time since the Great Depression, a majority of young adults (ages 18-29) in the U.S. now live with their parents — Report

As COVID-19 swept the country this year, millions of young adults retreated to familiar territory: living at home with mom and dad.

A majority of young Americans ages 18 to 29 are now living with at least one of their parents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data. About 52% of this age group, 26.6 million people in total, were living with their parents in July, compared to 47% at the same time last year. This number surpassed the previous record of 48%, which was set in 1940, during the Great Depression.

Since the proportion of 18 to 29 year olds living at home hit a low of 29% in 1960, the number has risen over the decades, jumping to 36% in 1990, to 38% in 2000 and 44% in 2010. However, the increase this year is notably sharp, and tracks with the trajectory of the pandemic; while about 46% or 47% of young adults lived at home through 2019, in 2020 the number jumped to 49% in March, 51% in April and 52% from May through July.

Source: Time

Tim Hardaway & Charles Oakley React to 60% of NBA Players Going Broke

In this clip, Charles Oakley and Tim Hardaway reacted to statistics that NBA players typically go broke within 5 years after leaving the league. Charles stated that he wasn’t sure about players going broke around that time, and he went on to speak about the various businesses that he’s started over the years. He also warned players against trusting their agents completely to look after their money. Tim then went to speak about the “Dream Dribble” product that he’s been working on, and you can watch the ad above.

Brooklyn Nets Player Spencer Dinwiddie Starts GoFundMe to let Fans Determine His Next Team

“I’m simply creating this GoFundMe as my commitment to my previous tweets. As of now 2625.8 BTC (bitcoin) is roughly equivalent to $24,632,630 USD (U.S. dollars). If we hit the target then I will allow the fan base to determine my next team decision and sign a one year contract at that destination. If we do not hit the target goal then I will be donating 100% of this campaign to charity. Fan engagement comes in all shapes and sizes, lets have fun folks!”

Source: USA Today