Shame on you, Junkyard Prophet.
The Christian rap metal band from Minnesota had some shocking words last week for a Dunkerton, Iowa, high school audience. School administrators told local media that the group was supposed to talk about “bullying and making good choices.”
Instead, parents said, the band told girls in the audience that “they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins.” In a break-out session for girls, the band told them to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in marriage. Then the girls were forced to chant a mantra about virginity.
What century is this, again? We’ve had several reasons to wonder lately, with Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut, Texas’s controversial ultrasound-before-abortion requirement and the GOP war on contraceptives.
Now enter a little-known band from Minnesota to preach to teenagers at Dunkerton High School, where the band also targeted the GLBT community, showing pictures of Elton John and assailing his sexuality.
They said that the average age of a gay man at death was 42 because his actions “literally kill him.”
And to round out the picture, the students saw photos of fetuses during the assembly’s portion on abortion.
Junkyard Prophet’s Facebook page links to two Christian groups – The Sons of Liberty and the nonprofit ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International – both connected to Bradlee Dean, a minister who is also Junkyard Prophet’s drummer.
Dean hosts a radio show, “The Sons of Liberty,” heard on a handful of stations in Minnesota, Tennessee and my home state, Arkansas.
Last year, he sued NBC, MSNBC and Rachel Maddow for $50 million. He accused Maddow of defamation after she made what he called misleading statements on his views of gay rights and sharia law. He has both supported and denounced Michele Bachmann.
According to the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Web site, the members of Junkyard Prophet have reached 500,000 kids with their message. They’ve sold 40,000 records without a major label. Their message apparently resonates with some.
But public schools are not the place to spread it.
Indeed, Dean says in an audio clip on his ministry’s Web site that he doesn’t like public schools, although he has visited 331 high schools in at least 22 states, generating controversies in Arkansas and Illinois.
On Monday night, Dean returned to Dunkerton for a community conversation at a local church. In a video posted by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, some parents praised Dean for his message and one shouted at him. Outside, girls held signs that read “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.”
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker