In 2008, Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) requested $500,000 in taxpayer money to go towards an anti-drug program run by Minnesota Teen Challenge, a group with anti-LGBTQ views that is also associated with the world’s largest Pentecostal group, the Assemblies of God. The Pentecostal denomination is fundamentalist and very anti-LGBTQ.
While it’s unclear if Minnesota Teen Challenge ever received the money, it was meant to fund their “Know the Truth” program for “drug prevention education efforts for teenagers.” The group also called “Halloween, Harry Potter, and Pokémon” gateways to drug addiction” and listed homosexuality as a problem similar to drug addiction.
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Minnesota Teen Challenge doesn’t use trained addiction counselors or medical professionals for “Know the Truth” — it literally just has a bunch of ex-addicts talk to teenagers about their experiences. The group says it speaks to over 58,000 students a year in over 160 high schools and middle schools statewide.
That’s especially worrying considering just how bonkers Minnesota Teen Challenge actually is. The Intercept explains that one of the organization’s pamphlet said that Halloween is “a day set up totally for Satan” and that the “more people who go out dressed up like demons, ghosts, witches and goblins, the more glory Satan receives.”
Minnesota Teen Challenge’s newsletter also explains some of the “evil” Halloween activities, which include human sacrifices and curses that make children “sick for weeks,” while “drug dealers were out in full force.”
“Pokemon is loaded in demonic symbolism and evil power,” the newsletter states.
The application form for Minnesota Teen Challenge at that time listed “homosexuality” among “problems” that the applicant might be facing, like drug addiction.
Even worse, the group once invited an “former lesbian” Janet Boynes to speak at one of its events — she has called homosexuality “sinful and like an addiction.”
Despite this, Minnesota Teen Challenge claims on its website, “We are chemical dependency program; we do not discriminate based on sexual orientation.”
Though Klobuchar fought for the repeal of DOMA and has criticized the Trump administration’s anti-transgender military policy, in 2009 she opposed marriage equality, preferring second-class civil unions for same-sex couples instead.