Bachmann’s preacher friend defends Keith Ellison opponent’s anti-Islam sentiment
Jan Markell, an end-times preacher and longtime friend of Michele Bachmann, defended anti-Islam statements by Lynne Torgerson, Rep. Keith Ellison’s first announced challenger for the 2012 election. In late-June, Torgerson launched her campaign at Tea Party Nation by calling Ellison a “radical Islamist” who “fails to oppose banning Islamic Sharia law in the United States.” Ellison responded by accusing her of running a campaign “based on hate, division, and fear.” In an interview on Friday, Markell defended Torgerson.
She said that Ellison’s faith has made Minnesota conservatives uncomfortable.
“And it stems from his association with Islamic groups that are questionable, including organizations like [the] Council on American-Islamic Relations,” Markell told OneNewsNow. “But Torgerson has been asking Keith Ellison to make a bold statement that the U.S. Constitution trumps Sharia Law.”
In 2006, Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House.
“I guess I wouldn’t say I’m not particularly proud of that, but I’m certainly not going to go to war over it either,” Markell said of Ellison’s accomplishment. “But Torgerson has every right to question Keith Ellison and not be charged with intolerance.”
The media outlet Markell spoke with, OneNewsNow, is run by the American Family Association, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has named a hate group.
Markell raised concerns in 2008 when a talking Mattel doll appeared to be spouting pro-Islam messages in its prerecorded babbling. Mattel insisted that the babbling was simply that — sounds that a baby might make.
Markell is not a stranger to bringing her end-times message to the political world. Bachmann has been a frequent guest on her radio show, including a 2009 appearance when she and Markell joked that conservative Christians had become the new Taliban.
Bachmann appeared on Markell’s radio many times in 2004 and 2005 to speak out against gays and lesbians, a theme that Markell has frequently discussed in addition to anti-Islam commentary.
Markell insinuated — as did many other conservative Christian leaders — that a tornado hit downtown Minneapolis in August 2009 because Lutherans had voted to allow gay and lesbian clergy in the church.
Torgerson ran against Ellison in 2010, garnering 3 percent to Ellison’s 69 percent.