You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International

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You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International (YCRBYCHI) is a United States Christian youth ministry that holds assemblies, including music concerts and discussions with students, in public schools. Founded by Bradlee Dean in 2008, the organization is based in Annandale, Minnesota. YCRBYCHI's mission statement is: "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." [4]

The ministry has received testimonials from school officials and students "that praise the positive impact the assemblies had by stressing the importance of good choices and using a band to grab attention", but has also drawn controversy for using assemblies for religious purposes, misleading school administrators about the nature of the program, and proselytizing its views on abortion and homosexuality. [6] [7] [9] The Southern Poverty Law Center designated the organization as an anti-gay hate group in March 2012. [68]

In September 2013, the You Can Run headquarters building in Annandale was put up for rent and there were reports of departures of the ministry's staff and the disbanding of its street teams. [12] [13]

Ministry activities

Junkyard Prophet

YCRBYCHI is centered around the Christian rapcore - nu metal band Junkyard Prophet, [14] featuring Rene Benton on guitar and vocals; founder Bradlee Dean on drums; and Massey "Mass Dogg" Campos on vocals and bass. [15] [16] Dean, a survivor of multiple drug overdoses and jail incarcerations, broke into music in the 1980s. Since his conversion to evangelical Christianity, he has directed Junkyard Prophet's music toward aiding youths overcoming "trials and tribulations, persecutions, and afflictions...." [16] Dean's wife, Stephanie Dean, a former commercial actress, joins the band for sexual abstinence-themed songs. [14] [15] [17]

The band's sound has been described as "grease-bucket funky, with miter-saw guitar work over a tight, bass-heavy rap/rock hybrid, in the vein of Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit on the secular side, P.O.D. and Pillar on the Christian one." [15] Though the band has been pilloried by many on the political left for some of its views, members of the group have often voiced less than doctrinaire positions. [15] Dean, for example, describes former President George W. Bush as a "punk, lyin' stinkin' kid," while maintaining former Vice-President Dick Cheney is a "straight-up liar" who "will be in Hell pretty soon." [15]

High school assemblies

The organization opens assemblies with a one-hour set from Junkyard Prophet. The set incorporates a fog machine which has frequently set off school fire alarms, [16] while the loudness of this music also led one high school staffer to warn students of permanent hearing loss at a 2005 assembly. [18] After their musical performance, Dean typically gives a lecture where he puts forth his views on teen pregnancy, the Constitution, abstinence, abortion, and their claim that the media has a liberal slant while reporting. [19] During his interactive speech with the assembled students, Dean frequently wades into controversial issues such as gun control, abortion, environmentalism, and education reform. [16] In drawing upon his past troubles with drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence, Dean speaks from his own personal experiences. In these talks he has accused Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the USSR, of being behind " No Child Left Behind ", (Bush's signature piece of educational reform) and the media of promoting a "gay agenda". [16]

Following Dean's talk the assembly splits into three sections. In the first "Under the Influence", the male students are taken aside to speak "on the power of music and the media to 'brainwash' young people, to encourage immoral behavior, and to obscure Truth". [69] The female students are separated for a "Virtue Class" advocating chastity prior to marriage. [69] Students in the Virtue Class have reported being "presented with a 'treasure ches' theory in which they were told that any sort of physical contact with a man before marriage would result in a woman becoming 'leftovers' for her husband". [7] The third program, "Shock Treatment", is for teachers and administrators. In it, they are encouraged to "call bad behavior what it is and punish it". This session also "treats ADD and ADHD as diabolical fictions and emphasizes the importance of setting and adhering to rules and holding children accountable for their mistakes". [69]

Dean estimates "99.5 percent of everything we do in the assembly is accepted by the kids in an awesome way," though he maintains teachers are more resistant to the organization's message. [23] Some students, however, have maintained the assemblies presented cult -like propaganda that "encouraged bigotry and hate-mongering". [7]

Jonathan H. Ebel says "much of the history that YCRBYCH present is, in fact, either highly sanitized, inaccurate, or demonstrably false." [20] (One example of the "fudged statistics and half-truths" present in the program is an anecdote based on a frequently forwarded e-mail that confuses the Declaration of Independence with the U.S. Constitution. [20])

The organization has been at the center of multiple controversies for its school performances, many revolving around its presentation of religious material in public educational settings. [24] During an assembly at Pequot Lakes High School in 2007, students were shown graphic images of aborted fetuses and girls were made to chant about being submissive to their husbands. The assembly made students cry and angered parents. [9] A 2005 Arkansas assembly resulted in the principal later asserting that the group had "misrepresented" its "right-wing message" and that the group "won't be back". [9] A Wisconsin principal, whose school was visited in 2003, later called a second assembly to apologize to the students for allowing YCRBYCHI a forum for "brainwashing" a "captive audience". [9] A Tennessee principal also apologized to students in 2004 "for any controversy or heartache the assembly generated". [7]

Reported fees for school programs have ranged from $1200 to $5000. [9] In the past the organization has reduced or waived this fee if schools are unable to pay. A writer traveling with the group detailed instances in which the band's expenses exceeded its income or it has been forced to spend the night sleeping in cars. [16] The organization, which doesn't mention its aim to evangelize for Christianity in the "Principal Packet" it sends to school administrators, [9] has "repeatedly run afoul of school officials and students in recent years for promising to run a program on abstinence and drug abuse, and mentioning God only when in front of students". [7] Dean has affirmed that the assemblies are "used as a tool to have the hearts of the kids opened to receive ... the Christian message of hard-hitting truth without compromise", [20] though Dean says that school administrators are fully apprised of YCRBYCHI's program prior to the organizations's arrival.

Jonathan Ebel, however, writes, "The full religiousness of YCR is not revealed until event staff offer departing students literature directing them to Web sites that make clear the ultra-conservative Protestant nationalism of the ministry." [69]

The Sons of Liberty

YCRBYCHI paid to air the radio show The Sons of Liberty, hosted by Dean and Jake McMillan, on WWTC Radio in Minneapolis and on the Genesis Communication Network. [26] While still streaming on the GCN website, WWTC canceled the program in May 2011 after the duo aired a lengthy song mocking African Americans. [27] WWTC's manager, protesting that staff members at his station were neither bigots nor racists, reported that "the divisive tone" of the show was objectionable to the "right spirit" of conservatism the station sought. [26] Dean later claimed that the show would reappear on KTLK-FM, a conservative talk station. Though admitting some talks had taken place, KTLK's station manager denied that the show had been signed. The Sons of Liberty was reinstated on WWTC after a three month break. [26] [28]

Political response

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International has been supported by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann [29] and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer's campaign gave the organization $250 in 2008, prompting criticism due to the group's views on homosexuality. [30] [31] [32] Bachmann has praised the organization, appearing as a keynote speaker at their fundraisers. [9] [35] Dean has indicated that both Bachmann and Emmer will appear in his upcoming documentary My War. [36]

In May 2011 Dean was invited to deliver a prayer [37] in front of the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was criticized by members of both parties for the prayer, largely due to the direct references to Jesus and perceived accusations against Democrats and President Obama. His history of statements against homosexuality, though not part of the prayer, also elicited complaints. His address was criticized by Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) representative Terry Morrow, who said that the hope of peace during the prayer had been "crushed by a single person's words." Majority Leader Matt Dean and speaker Kurt Zellers, both Republicans, also denounced Bradlee Dean; Zellers said inviting him to speak had been "a mistake", called him "a man I personally denounce," and said "I can only ask you for your forgiveness ... That type of person will never, ever be allowed on the House floor again." Representative Ernie Leidiger, a Republican who had invited Dean to speak in the first place, later apologized for the invitation and compared Dean's position on homosexuality to that of Nazi Germany. Dean was also denounced by the Minnesota Catholic Conference and DFL representatives Karen Clark and D. Scott Dibble, both openly gay; Clark called Dean "a hateful person". [38] In June 2011, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was sprayed with glitter in Minnesota by gay-rights activist Rachel E.B. Lang who was upset with Bachmann's support of YCRBYCHI. [39]

In April 2012 the Minnesota State College Republican board threatened to revoke the charter of the St. Cloud State University chapter of College Republicans if they host a speech by Dean on campus. The College Republican group was "disgusted with the GOP's threats and voted unanimously to go ahead with the event as planned. While protest ensued, students stayed to hear Dean speak. They said Dean "has a strong conservative message. He’s pro-constitutional, pro-family, pro-vets and he speaks about the core values of the GOP.” [40]

Reception

YCRBYCHI has received numerous letters of recommendations by numerous churches, the American Family Association, Bishop Harry Jackson, Ray Comfort, MN Teen Challenge, Gun Owners of America, and others who praise its opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as its dedication, in the words of former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, to bringing "God and His law back to our public school system." 2004 Presidential Candidate for the Constitution Party, Michael Peroutka, visited their Minnesota headquarters and wrote an article regarding his visit with the group on his website, The American View. Dean has been featured in The New York Times, Fox News, and The Weekly Standard.

The group has also been criticized by media outlets [6] for being anti-gay [50] and anti-abortion to which a group member has responded that they believe what the Bible says and are aligned with the Full Gospel Church. [6] Journalist Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent received the Minnesota Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' Page One Award in 2010 for his reporting on YCRBYCHI. [6] [6] In 2010, the group's connections to Tom Emmer were highlighted on The Rachel Maddow Show; during the episode, Rachel Maddow was critical of statements that Dean made on WWTC about the execution of homosexuals in Muslim countries. The statement, in part, was "Muslims are calling for the execution of homosexuals in America. They themselves are holding up the laws that are even in the Bible, the Judeo-Christian God but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians..." Maddow mentioned Dean's disclaimer on this particular report which said, "We have never and will never call for the execution of homosexuals." [6] In May 2011, Maddow again reported on Dean's statements, this time in connection to Michele Bachmann, a potential presidential candidate at the time. In this report, Maddow did not reference Dean's disclaimer stating he did not call for homosexual executions. She instead stated, "Foreign enemies rising up because Christians are not doing enough to kill the gays," and accused Dean and Bachmann of being "bloodthirsty." [6] Dean has made numerous statements opposing LGBT-rights, including advocating incarceration of homosexuals and going as far as to state that homosexuality is against the law in the U.S. Dean has accused the media, specifically MSNBC, as catering to “progressives, meaning a generally secular, frequently atheist, pro-gay rights, socialist, and big-government market among its viewers.” [56] [57]

In response to media coverage, Dean has written an editorial alleging that his statements were taken out of context, [6] and produced a video which sought to rebut the media's reporting on his statements. Dean claimed her second report prompted death threats. [70] [61] [62] [63] On July 27, 2011, Dean initiated a defamation lawsuit against MSNBC, Maddow, journalist Andy Birkey, and the Minnesota Independent, alleging that they intentionally misrepresented Dean's statements in order to advance a " homosexual agenda ", and seeking more than $50,000,000 in damages. [64] Dean is being represented in the case by famed activist attorney Larry Klayman. In June 2012 Dean was ordered to pay a total of $24,625.23 to defendants MSNBC & Rachel Maddow. [65] In response, Dean contends that "Judges are to enforce the law, not to defend lawbreakers and then award them money”. [63]

The nonprofit civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center designated the organization as an anti-gay hate group in March 2012. [68]

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