In late September, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R–Minn.) will travel to a greyhound racetrack on the outskirts of Kansas City, Kansas, to speak at the Freedom Jamboree, a five-day festival billed as "the first national nominating convention" for the tea party. Bachmann, who is considering a run for president, will be joined by some familiar faces—WorldNetDaily editor and arch-birther Joseph Farah will be there; so will Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of Arizona’s harsh immigration law.
One confirmed speaker, however, is not like all the others: Bradlee Dean is a Minnesota radio host, anti-gay activist, and drummer for the band Junkyard Prophet, voted "the second-best unsigned band in the nation" in 1996 by Heaven's Metal magazine. Dean is likely the only scheduled speaker with a tattoo of Abraham sacrificing Isaac on his forearm; he is almost certainly the only scheduled speaker who has ever gone more than a decade without cutting his hair—a lifestyle decision that gives him a more-than-passing resemblance to Poison's Bret Michaels.
But over the last five years, Bachmann, the politician, and Dean, the metal-head, have formed an unlikely but powerful alliance. Bachmann has helped raise money for Dean’s traveling youth ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International; guest-starred in his television series; and prayed for his ministry to multiply 10-fold. Dean, for his part, has embraced Bachmann, whose district includes his suburban community of Annandale, as an ally against the gay agenda. But his inflammatory rhetoric and past links to an anti-government organization make Bachmann's own controversial views seem downright pedestrian—and raise serious questions about the congresswoman's choice of associates.
A staunch social conservative, who found his calling after one-too-many close calls with hard drugs, Dean's ministry travels to public schools across the country to perform what it calls "shock treatment." After an opening performance from Junkyard Prophet—"the type of music your kids can relate to"—Dean delivers his faith-based pitch to students, on topics ranging from alcohol, to abortion, to pornography and "impure thoughts." As the Minnesota Independent has chronicled extensively, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide's performances have sparked walkouts from students and public apologies from school administrators, who thought they were spending $1,500 for an anti-drug lecture. (As one student put it, "It seemed like total propaganda. It was like a cult.")
On his radio show, Dean has alleged that gays were responsible for the Holocaust, and that gay men will, on average, molest 117 people "before they’re found out."
Dean reserves his most incendiary rhetoric for gays, whom he believes are actively working to undermine the Constitution. He's argued that homosexuality is not only immoral, but actually a federal crime. When President Obama nominated Sharon Lubinski, who is openly gay, to be a US Marshal in 2010, Dean argued that Obama had acted illegally because "homosexuality is against the law in the United States." (Although some states have refused to take the laws off the books, the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas ruled that homosexuality statutes were unconstitutional.)
Last fall Dean raised eyebrows when he suggested that Rep. Keith Ellison (D–Minn.), who is Muslim, was using support for gay marriage as a gateway to the enactment of Islamic Sharia law in the United States. "I would say to the homosexuals: You better keep your eyes peeled," he said. "You are playing the fools. I knew there was a correlation. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. And the homosexuals are using the Muslims to do it, and the Muslims are using the homosexuals to do it."
On his radio show, he's alleged that gays were responsible for the Holocaust, and that gay men will, on average, molest 117 people "before they're found out." He's also suggested that extremist Muslims who call for the execution of American gays are morally justified. "If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that," Dean explained. "[Homosexuals] play the victim when they are, in fact, the predator." He has since clarified that he does not support executing gays, and that his remarks were intended as a brotherly warning to gays to change their ways.