Minnesota Town Approves Request From Church to Be Whites-Only

A white-only church that was approved in Murdock, Minnesota is seeing pushback from the community at large, which has now created a petition to stop it.

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A church in Murdock, Minnesota was just granted a conditional use permit to operate a white-only church in the town.

NBC News cited that the Asatru Folk Assembly—which originated in Northern Europe and allows only white people to practice its religion—had the permit approved by the Murdock City Council this month. The organization has been labeled a "neo-Volkisch hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. While it is unclear what went into the council's decision to approve the permit, the church is already seeing pushback from the community at large who has now created an online petition with nearly 130,000 signatures to stop it from operating in the small 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," longtime Murdock resident Peter Kennedy said. "Racism is not welcome here."

The Hill also pointed out that the Change.org petition has grown considerably in signatures since it was created earlier this week. When asked by NBC if they saw themselves as a white supremacist or separatist group, the Asatru Folk Assembly denied these claims, saying that they just "respect our own culture."

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

Many people in the community and neighboring towns have also been very vocal on Facebook about their disapproval of the church receiving the permit, and that they plan to fight the decision.

"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, wrote on the city’s Facebook page.

After their decision to approve the permit for the church, Craig Kavanagh, the mayor of Murdock, said during the meeting that the town "condemns racism," despite this decision seeming contradictory to that.

"We as the leaders of the City of Murdock want it to be known that the City of Murdock condemns racism in all of its forms: Conscious, Unconscious, any place, any time, now and in the future," Kavanagh said.

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