Perhaps you missed the Thanksgiving week YouTube release from the Truth & Liberty Coalition.
Almost everyone did. Through this morning, only 470-some people have watched the deservedly unpopular live-stream show's interview with Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa).
Unfortunately for Gazelka, at least one of those people works for the newly launched Minnesota Reformer website, and took time to catalogue a few of the more startling lines of Gazelka's thinking.
According to its title, the episode's subject is "Awakening God's People in the Workplace & More," and holy hell is "& More" doing a lot of work there.
Host Andrew Wommack, a Texas-born, Colorado-based minister, said Gazelka's appearance makes for a "special broadcast," and -- after some chit-chat about overturning Roe v. Wade and a "Broadway-quality" Christmas play -- seemed genuinely enthusiastic to be interviewing the most powerful elected Republican in this state.
Gazelka was pumped too, saying: "I'm believin' that the Holy Spirit's gonna speak to people about what they may do as a result of our conversation."
Adjust your volume as you may, the Holy Spirit's voice is not audible during the 50 minutes that follow.
Asked by Wommack why it is the "inner cities tend to be so socialistic and Democratic, whereas rural people, nearly without exception, are conservative," Gazelka explains:
"Well, part of it is rural people like to take care of themselves. They’re not interested in government helping them, that’s their last resort. In the inner city, it’s definitely -- there’s higher concentrations of people that are on welfare, that are used to that. And our welfare system has basically entrapped them. And that's the sad thing, because they deep down, inside, they want a job, they want a future that's better than what they have."
As the Reformer notes, this isn't exactly true: Farmers get tens of billions in federal subsidies each year, and the 9 percent of rural people getting federal disability support is about twice the rate of those living in cities.
After some bland analysis of Donald Trump ("he loves America," Gazelka says), global warming (Democrats "want to stop everything"), and taxes ("you reach a point where there's no dollars left from the wealthy"). (Is that a promise?)
At long last, Wommack and Gazelka finally get weird.
After Gazelka describes politics as a "spiritual battle," Wommack says: "You're being tactful about it. I just call it the spirit of Antichrist. Political correctness is nothing but demonic inspired."
Gazelka laughs and says, in a phrase we'd rather not visualize, he's "elbow deep in trying to connect to the gay community."
He continues: "I look at Jesus' life, and he was attractive to the sinner. The sinner loved to be around Jesus. So I had to ask myself that, are the people I'm around, are they attracted to me? Or do I give off something that's not quite Christ?"
As if this conversation needed any more loaded imagery, Gazelka adds: "Sometimes I plant a seed that I know produces fruit down the roads. There's been opportunities I've had to pray with people about their salvation. But it comes from a relationship that's oozing with the love of Christ and the truth of his word."
Does one need to be "elbow deep" with someone "attracted to" them before their "love" oozes and a seed is planted?
Wommack neglects to ask. Instead he says: "That's awesome."
Fieldling a listener question about the movement to ban "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ youth, an issue Gazelka's familiar with both politically and personally. Last year, Gazelka stifled efforts to ban therapy that tells queer youth they're sinners, and should just pray until their sexual orientation does a 180.
As a father, Gazelka sent his own daughter to such therapy, a story they told to the Star Tribune as Gazelka stood in the way of the conversion ban.
Gazelka uses anecdotes to illustrate his understanding of youth sexuality. Both are pretty fucked up.
"I listened to one speaker and he was talking about a lady that was lesbian. And he said, 'Before you judge her, let me just tell you her backstory.' He was a counselor. And he said, 'She was chained to a toilet as a like two, three, four, five year old girl and raped by her dad, for years and years. How do you think she's gonna feel?'"
And then, recalling his interaction with a gay constituent who visited his office:
"I said, 'Can I ask you a question? Were you raised by your mom and dad or was it just your mom?' Because a lot of the time, same-sex attraction, there's not a good connection with the biological parent of... the same sex. And he says, 'It's funny you say that, because my mom and my grandma raised me.'"
If Gazelka thinks there's always a "backstory" to sexuality -- child rape, for example, or estrangement from a biological parent of the same sex -- he doesn't offer one for why his own child identified as a lesbian, despite their parents forcing them into conversion therapy.
The interview ends with a little more climate science denial, mutual appreciation for all that each side of the interview is doing, and information about how to get a copy of Gazelka's book.
Turns out you have to email Gazelka directly and ask. (Only 200 copies remaining!) While you're at it, see if he's got a current address to reach the Holy Spirit.