Last night, the Red Mountain Tea Party hosted its second speaker in a row who heads an organization found on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups.
Bradlee Dean, called an activist, author, and radio show host in fliers publicizing the event--and called "rabidly anti-gay" by the SPLC--presented to the Mesa Tea Party branch just two weeks after the group brought in New Yorker Pamela Geller, whose name made the SPLC list for her anti-Islamic views.
Heidi Beirich, Director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, says her full-time job is to track hate groups and extremists; she helps to create the list that named both Geller and Dean. SPLC updates its list each February, and it is Beirich's job to assess whether groups named previously should remain on the list and whether new groups need to be added.
Dean's name first came across her desk through his ties to Michelle Bachman, and he was added to the list in 2012. "It was a pretty cut and dry case," Beirich says.
Dean's Minnesota-based group, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, lists its mission as "to reshape America by re-directing the current and future generations both morally and spiritually through education, media, and the Judeo-Christian values found in our U.S. Constitution." Dean makes presentations at high schools across America through the organization.
Last night's speech was held at East Valley High School, but the Tea Party crowd mostly consisted of senior citizens. Much of Dean's speech indeed centered on his view that Judeo-Christian values must remain at the center of American democracy. But there were tangents.
Dean, a six-foot-five-inch Christian rocker with hair to his waist, consistently referred to President Obama using his middle name, Hussein. Dean said Obama "is emulating dictators to a T," particularly with his ability to engage America's youth, and compared the president to Mao Tse-tung, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
"Obama's allies are America's enemies," Dean told the crowd, later adding, "The only allies that stand with Barrack Hussein Obama in this country are the radical homosexuals, communists, and atheists."
At one point Dean addressed the SPLC, calling founder Morris Dees "a loser to the max."
New Times even got a special shout-out, as Dean wanted the audience to be aware of the "state-run media" and its reporters, who "work for the devil himself." Dean pointed out this New Times reporter to the crowd and threatened to sue her if she misstated any of his words or took them out of context.
Dean isn't playing around. He famously filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against MSNBC and host Rachel Maddow after she featured clips from his radio show commentary on Muslims who call for the execution of gays. Dean claims Maddow omitted a line in which he said he does not support the killing of gays. He eventually dropped his lawsuit when it became clear he would possibly be responsible for Maddow's legal fees.
Dean addressed that controversy at last night's meeting, beginning by calling Rachel Maddow "him." He maintained that Maddow took his words out of context, then, in front of the crowd, told this New Times reporter: "You work for an organization like that. And you know what that is? Radical Islam, because it's exactly how they play the same game. Mark my words. This homophobic stuff, every step of the way what's right behind the gay agenda is sharia law."
At the meeting, Dean made clear his views on homosexuality, the very ones that landed him on the SPLC's list.
"Homosexuality isn't a sin. It's an abomination," he said. Dean said Obama has appointed over 200 "radical homosexuals" to important office and said Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Justice Elena Kagan, was personally responsible for "queerifying Harvard."
Dean referenced the days when homosexuality was seen as a crime against nature and a mental illness, one that schoolchildren were encouraged to report to authorities.
The night concluded with a standing ovation for Dean, after Dean did politely request that attendees not harass any reporters in the audience.
Beirich expressed concerns about the Red Mountain Tea Party's choice in speakers. "Most Tea Party groups claim not to be motivated by racism or animus in any way, and I believe that's true," she said. "But this is like hater number two to come to their meeting. It means that they are welcoming these kinds of extremist views."
Randy Hatch, the Red Mountain Tea Party's Chairman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The group's next meeting will be held December 6. The speaker has not yet been announced.
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