Last summer, I did some spider-hunting around Murdock, Minnesota. It’s the typical slow, sleepy, small rural town (with spiders! But that’s every town). It’s unfortunate claim to fame now is that Asatru moved in and bought a church dedicated to the premise that white people, especially northern European white people, are better than others. They probably assumed that this would be a fine, comfortable fit with the predominantly German and Scandinavian folk of Minnesota.
Except the townfolk are less than thrilled with the city council choosing to approve the founding of a church.
The decision alarmed many residents, particularly residents of color who until recently lived comfortably in the majority-white town. Ms. Barron said she and other mothers had discussed taking turns to watch their children when they play outside. When the elementary school asked Latino families to participate in a video production, Ms. Barron said, many declined.
“I don’t feel threatened right now. But I feel worried,” she said. “What worries me is losing our sense of peace.”
Many residents fear that similar groups will try “to get some sort of toehold here because they feel this is some refuge where they can come and foment this hate,” said Pete Kennedy, 59, an engineer who has lived in the town for about 50 years.
Town leaders have insisted they had no choice but to grant a conditional-use permit, or CUP, because of legal protections that forbid governments from using land-use regulations to impose a substantial burden on people trying to practice their religion.
Interesting. I wonder if they’d feel the same principled concern when a new Baptist church, or Plymouth Brethren church, or Lutheran church, or Catholic church petitions for approval to take over some real estate in town. This is not to imply that the Asatru church should be allowed to do their thing (they are truly repulsive), but that what I’ve seen around towns in this region is that every vacant building is quickly occupied by yet another cult. When our movie theater in Morris went out of business, a group of fundamentalists threatened to buy it and turn into yet another church! Fortunately, they were foiled by a local co-op.
Maybe city councils around here should question every application by every religion to take over productive real estate and replace it with untaxable dead voids in our city planning.
By the way, here’s what it costs to start a church in rural Minnesota.
In June, it was sold to the Assembly for $45,000, according to county records.
Sheesh. You mean instead of paying off a lawyer I could have bought a whole church?