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Friday, January 16, 2004

Urban Ventures Bears False Witness

posted on the Minneapolis Rumours list.

I checked out the nonprofit status of Urban Ventures. As I posted below, the report from the Charities Review Council shows them having a 501(c)3 nonprofit status with no mention of their religious affiliations. Interestingly, I also found this other web site for Peace Church openly regarding UV as a faith-based agency. Well, well, well - it seems as though they want their cake and eat too and they pick and choose accordingly as to who their audience is and what they reveal - including flyers put through the schools.

As a director of a nonprofit myself (that is personally affected by the flyer moratorium in the schools) I find it appauling that they have gotten away with this for so long. When an organization flagrently misrepresents themselves like this, one can see why us legitimate nonprofits are so tightly scrutinized - one rotten egg makes everyone question if we've all gone bad - thanks loads Urban Ventures. I hope the attorney general is looking into this.

Liz Greenbaum

EY: That's why they get the nickname "Urban Vultures".

Urban Ventures: Different Stories to Different Audiences

The Peace Church in Minnesota suggests Urban Ventures as a good Christian Ministry.

Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation is a faith-based agency that works to rebuild an inner city neighborhood in Minneapolis. Urban Ventures seeks to restart the neighborhood's economy while at the same time offering assistance in job training, family support and poverty services. The RCA is committed to Urban Ventures, as it provides a significant portion of Pastor Tim Overweg's salary, while asking Synod of the Heartland Churches to provide additional assistance. Contributions to the Urban Ventures project will go toward Tim's salary.

But according to the Charities Review Council:

Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation (“Urban Ventures”) is an organization of servant leaders focused helping community residents and businesses develop assets and capacities in ways that help build a livable sustainable neighborhood. Founded in 1993, Urban Ventures’ efforts are focused in its “Opportunity a ten-block area along Lake Street, just east of Interstate 35W, in the Central and Phillips neighborhoods. Urban Ventures is a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code. It is eligible receive tax-deductible contributions. Urban Ventures current in its annual reporting to the Minnesota General’s Charities Division.
Urban Ventures states its mission as follows: To build successful community in our city through developing youth leadership, strengthening families, and creating viable work opportunities.

Why Governor Ventura Vetoed Urban Ventures Project

Posted on Minneapolis Issues.....

Gov. Ventura decided to veto the Colin Powell Center when he was informed that it was intended for a religious ministry. The discussion was never about the ministry itself.

Gov. Ventura felt strongly that religious ministries should not be given or loaned monies by the state of Minnesota.

Jim Bernstein
(Commerce Commissioner during the Ventura Administration)

Anti-Gay Activists Find Bush not Anti-Gay Enough

Reportedly this story was covered in Worldnet Daily - but I cannot find a link to the Worldnet Daily website.



PHILADELPHIA ? REPENT AMERICA, an evangelistic ministry based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Columbia Christians for Life in Columbia, South Carolina have released a new website calling Christians across the nation to re-think voting for George W. Bush in the upcoming presidential election. was launched on the world-wide-web today to provide Christians with articles, information, and commentaries on Bush?s pattern of anti-Christian behavior in the last several years, and is challenging them not to remain in bondage to the two-party system. was developed to serve as notice to Christians across the nation that President George W. Bush over the past few years has compromised his "Christian faith" by promoting evil and openly supporting wickedness. However, Christians believe that they have no other choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils. "So many well-meaning Christians continue to reject the Truth about President Bush for the sake of conservatism. As Christians, we are not conservatives, but disciples of Jesus Christ who recognize and proclaim where right and wrong come from, therefore we must vote righteously,? stated Michael Marcavage, a field preacher with the Philadelphia-based REPENT AMERICA.

?The Bible says ?He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD? [Proverb 17:15], stated Steve Lefemine, director of Columbia Christians for Life. ?President Bush has repeatedly, and continues, to justify the wicked; from advancing the homosexual agenda, to funding abortionists, to praising Islam, to signing unconstitutional bills into law that further socialism and shred our Bill of Rights,? Lefemine continued.

?We are not talking about an error or two that Bush has made in his time as president, rather a pattern of ungodly decisions to embrace and promote evil,? stated Marcavage. The scripture declares, ?Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.? Matthew 7:20 ?Bush claims to be a Christian, but his works do not attest to this,? Marcavage continued. In Titus 1:16 the scripture says, ?They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.?

?We invite Christians to take a look at the website and investigate for themselves the documentation and history of Bush?s anti-Christian words and deeds,? Lefemine said. ?In the November 2004 elections, my prayer, hope, and plea with Christians is to vote for righteousness,? he says. ?The Bible says that ?Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people? [Proverb 14:34]. Christians should stop wasting their votes on people who will not stand up for righteousness.?

Lefemine said, ?If Christians will repent of the unbiblical practice of voting for evil, even the lesser of evils, and vote for righteousness, inspecting, say, the Constitution Party candidate and others to discern whether they have biblically-based, constitutionalist positions, then we will most wisely position ourselves to receive God?s blessing, power, anointing, and deliverance, for the healing of our sin-sick land.?

?As for President Bush, we call him to repentance and encourage all Christians to pray for him,? Marcavage said.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Still More on the Vultures

The urban vultures website
says this about their Exec Vice President Ralph Bruins. It is rather ironic that they mention his experience in banking, since that carreer was cut short by a conviction for embezzling.

Ralph E. Bruins
Mr. Bruins currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation. He is married to Sue and has four children.

Mr. Bruins spent 25 years in commercial banking and finance. His accomplishments include the reorganization and turn around of two banks.
He oversaw a ten-fold increase in revenues of an insurance subsidiary.
As Director of the bank's parent company, he counseled on other investments and real estate holdings. As President and CEO of the Summit Bank of Richfield, he managed growth from $10,000,000 in assets to $40,000,000 in eight years.

He positioned the Summit Bank of Richfield as one of the first pilot banks in the nation certified for an SBA loan program. Mr. Bruins established a secondary SBA loan market in Minnesota, and a working relationship wit the State Board of Investments to create safe ways to invest state employees retirement funds in Minnesota small businesses. These programs led to his 1980 election to the White House Conference on Small Business.

The Urban Vultures Thread Piles on.....

from the Minneapolis Rumors list.....

I know for a fact they were not just teaching morals - they were pushing Jesus and Christianity BIG time - I know two Jewish children this happened to (one of them is the one who blew the whistle by saying something to her mother who obviously became livid). She found out about the program through a flyer in the schools.

I just looked up their mission statement:

Urban Ventures states its mission as follows:
To build successful community in our city through developing youth leadership, strengthening families,
and creating viable work opportunities.

Nowhere in their mission statement does it say anything about their religious overtures. So according to the IRS they are illegally misrepresenting themselves and should have their 501(c)3 nonprofit status revoked. As a religous organiation they would not have 501(c)3 status. Interestingly enough they passed the Charities Review Council with flying colors.

As Director of ArtiCulture I spoke at the board meeting the other night. We have 19,000 brochures sitting here because of the change in policy. I pointed out that we and other organizations have artist residencies in the schools - we are working with schools directly and for the moment because of one bad egg organizations such as ours are affected deeply.

Liz Greenbaum

EY: Urban Vultures is one stinky rotten egg. The School Board should have known better. I called a number of school board members to tell them about this organization.

More on the Urban Vultures

When Jesse Ventura was governor, he line item vetoed the Urban Vultures Colin Powell Youth Center - after Central Residents called his office and requested that he do so. This is a post I sent to the Minneapolis Rumours list on the topic when this was going on.

Urban Ventures, Minneapolis, MN

Urban Ventures serves the Central and Phillips neighborhoods of south central Minneapolis. The area has the highest crime rates in the metropolitan area, and is plagued with prostitution, drugs and alcohol dependency, father absence and violence.

EY: Thanks alot to Urban Ventures. It really doesn't help to have them promoting the Central neighborhood in this manner.

The description continues:
Rev. Tim Overweg is the Director of Leadership Development for Urban Ventures. The goal of Leadership Development is to develop students who by their senior year in high school are so committed to Jesus
Christ that they can survive and thrive in any environment.
Every week James and Allen come to Urban Ventures for Bible Study, tutoring and meals with Tim and his family, and some basketball in the driveway! These two boys and many others are targeted by the Leadership Development staff for Bible study and discipleship, Scripture memory, mentoring, leadership development, retreats, summer camping and community service.

EY: I find it interesting that the Minneapolis delegation: Senator Linda Higgins, Senator Linda Berglin, Representatative Neva Walker and Rep. Martin Sabo are supporting public funding for an organization such as this. If Sabo is in support of something like this, he should also support Bush's faith based initiative. I'm curious whether it's clear that "Bible study and discipleship, Scripture memory, mentoring, leadership development, retreats, summer camping and community service." are not going to be part of what the state
and federal funds are going for.

Ventura should veto this puppy as soon as it reaches his desk.

Eva Young
Central Neighborhood

Urban Vultures in Pawlenty's Bonding Proposal

from a post to the Minneapolis Issues list by David Piehl

Urban Ventures, a faith-based south Minneapolis non-profit has been in the news twice lately.

First, their "Colin Powell Center" is slated to receive $4.2 million of taxper funding through Pawlenty's (proposed) budget. The Colin Powell center, named after the Republican politician, has apparently impressed the current Republican state government, anti-glbt rhetoric and all. It's my
understanding that this is expected to be part of the city's bonding, which normally happens through a
prioritization process at the local level. The Urban Ventures request has not been prioritized at the local

Second, Urban Ventures made the news regarding literature that children bring home from school.

Here's the article:

Minneapolis may ban nonschool leaflets

Excerpts from the article:
Urban Ventures, a south Minneapolis nonprofit group, runs a summer soccer program. Practices include a 10-minute "chalk talk" by coaches. It's aimed at building character but might include a Bible verse, said Mark-Peter Lundquist, Urban Venture's program director.

But a complaint from the parent of a soccer player led the district to bar Urban Ventures from distributing leaflets through schools last fall for its traveling basketball team tryouts -- cutting in half the number of kids turning out, Lundquist said.

That turned into a temporary prohibition against all outside leaflets while the policy was being revised. Cheri Reese, the district's communication director, said it was growing uncomfortable with its lack of knowledge about some of the groups for which leaflets were going out.

Giles said he has grown increasingly uncomfortable with the current selective approval policy.

Another issue, he said, is that the district could be exposed to negligence claims for not looking into an after-school activity because parents assume the district approves what leaflets promote.

David Piehl

Lawmaker at 'homo-fascism' event unmasked

from the Spivak & Bice Gossip Collumn in the Milwaukee Journal Sentenel

Posted: Jan. 13, 2004

Cary Spivak & Dan Bice

State Sen. Tom Reynolds has finally come out of the closet.

A gay rights group last month called for an investigation of the unnamed state senator who attended the 2003 International Conference on Homo-Fascism - a meeting of extremists opposing "the sodomite agenda."

At the time, the conference organizer, Ralph Ovadal, confirmed that a Wisconsin officeholder had been at the October meeting in Milwaukee, but Ovadal wouldn't unmask the guy, saying the pol wanted to remain anonymous.

Last week, Reynolds reluctantly came clean.

"It sounded interesting," said the West Allis senator who owns a small print shop. "I don't know much about them. I do a little printing for them."

Fliers for the meeting, organized by Wisconsin Christians United, warned of what it saw as a growing threat to the civilized world.

"In many Western nations, a form of fascism has taken root and presents a clear, present, and growing danger to Christian liberty and the Church of Jesus Christ," said the flier, labeled "A Firebell in the Night," found on WCU's Web site. "This force for evil may justly be referred to as 'homo-fascism' due to the fact that those espousing and driving it have as their goal to demonize, marginalize, and silence any criticism of or opposition to homosexual acts and the sodomite agenda."

Reynolds said he stuck around for less than a half hour at the meeting, held at an undisclosed location, listening to a single speaker. He said he didn't pay the $25 registration fee.

Pressed for his view on the conference and the issue of gay rights, the first-term Republican was guarded, stammering out an answer.

"(They hold) the Bible view that it's a sin and people need to turn from it," Reynolds said, referring to the attendees' view on homosexuality. "I guess I agree 100 percent with that."

Which raises the obvious question: Why didn't he step forward and acknowledge that he was the senator who went to the event? Specifically, couldn't Reynolds, instead of hiding behind Ovadal, have stood up last
month and said, "I was there - so what?"

Explained Reynolds, "Any reason why I didn't do that? Boy, I'd have to be introspective to come up with an answer to that one."

Translation: If he really does have an answer, he's not about to share it.

EY: I haven't heard of a group quite this nutty in Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Does Cheney Flip Flop on Gay Marriage?

Vice President Cheney in an interview with the Denver post said he would support the President's position on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The Denver post followed up this interview with story about local reaction to the statement.

Two days after Vice President Dick Cheney said he would support a presidential push to ban same-sex marriage, Denver's gay community reacted with disappointment.

"There are good and decent people in the gay community, just like there are in any other community," said Don Johnson, a Denver resident who said he is married to his partner of 38 years. "(Cheney's) comments are a slap in the face to people in the gay community. We expect the same rights as any other citizen."

In an interview with The Denver Post on Friday, Cheney said he would support President Bush if he backs a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

But the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party cautioned people Sunday not to misunderstand the vice president's message.

"They are looking at it as an anti-gay position, but it is not," said state GOP chair Ted Halaby.

Halaby explained that Cheney, in the past, has said that states - not the federal government - should decide the legality of gay marriage.

He said Cheney's position has evolved, given recent court decisions such as November's Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is permissible under its constitution.

Cheney told The Post last week that he was prepared to support the president if Bush concluded that federal action is needed.

EY: It's good that the reporter asked the Colorado Republican Chair for comment.

Meanwhile the Post's columnist, Jim Spencer commented on Cheney's position.

In an interview with Denver Post Washington bureau chief John Aloysius Farrell, Dick Cheney said he would back any presidential move to amend the Constitution and make same-sex marriages illegal.

In doing so, the vice president climbed into bed with folks who think his daughter is a pervert, no better than a person who abuses children or has sex with animals.

I heard from several of those people recently when I wrote that the country has more important issues to deal with than an anti-gay marriage amendment.

"Homosexuality is just one of the illnesses plaguing mankind that individuals have to deal with," wrote one of the vice president's new pals in pietism.

"It is deviant behavior. It is sexual immorality from which God tells us to flee."

"And as for tolerance," said another of the veep's new peeps, "what a crock of you know what. ... We don't tolerate rape, sex with children, child pornography, murder, assaults, theft, drugs, racism, etc."

These Bible-pounding saviors of sanctimony don't just judge Mary Cheney. They also judge her parents.

"No, I do not fear homosexual couples," wrote one of the 21st century pharisees. "Instead, I feel sadness for the very difficult childhoods that each of them must have experienced. In the majority of cases, homosexuals never received the appropriate love from their fathers."

The column concludes by quoting readers who oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment and find Cheney's position troubling:

"I am a heterosexual, white, married Republican and think I need to weigh in on the rush for a constitutional amendment regarding the basics of marriage," wrote a guy from Centennial. "The Constitution is a document written to give us rights, not take them away. The document is not the place for morality plays."

Neither is the White House.

At least one of my readers was counting on the vice president to make that point.

"When the Lynne and Dick Cheneys of the world - parents of gays and lesbians - finally come forward to their own cohorts and say, 'This is wrong,' I hope we will see a much brighter and less hateful country and Colorado," she said.

Looks like it's going to be a while.

EY: Good column and well worth reading.

Cult Leader Moon on Gays

I have a friend who was a victim of the Unification Church - a cult - and isn't it interesting that so called "Christian" conservatives don't speak up about Moon. He owns the Washington Times and the United Press International.

John Gorenfeld has the scoop:

Well, Washington Times/UPI publisher and GOP patron Sun Myung Moon does that kind of daydreaming too, except with some very different ideas of what he'd do. As posted this week by Moon's webmaster, here's theTimes owner -- the man behind the flagship of Republican newspapers -- laying out what life would be like if he were king.

There will be a purge on God's orders, and evil will be eliminated like shadows. Gays will be eliminated, the 3 Israels will unite. If not then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring but this is what happens. It will be greater than the communist purge but at God's orders.

This brain-melting argument for God as a more homophobic version of Stalin also makes a reference to a Bush meeting. And that's what some Washington reporter really should be looking into. Forget the Holy Handkerchief jokes and cute references to mass weddings in bridal advice columns -- it's time to ask what this guy is doing in the mainstream of a major American political party.

Michelangelo Signorile talked about this on his show yesterday. His column also talks about Can you imagine the owners of the New York Times–or the Los Angeles Times or Cleveland’s Plain-Dealer–pining out loud for the mass extinction of an entire group of people? Let’s say they envisioned the incineration of all gays, claiming it was God’s plan and had their words posted on the web.

At the very least, sensation-stalker Matt Drudge would link to the comments immediately, rightly whipping it into a major story. His zeal for fomenting scandals involving liberals would certainly overpower his obsessive fear that people might think he’s gay just for defending gays. (As if the rest of the world still doesn’t know he’s gay, even after David Brock’s "fuck buddies" revelations and Jeanette Walls’ interviews with his former boyfriends.) Drudge’s openly gay compatriot, Andrew Sullivan, would no doubt take up the cause as well, attacking those nasty homophobe publishers on the left, railing on his web site about what hypocrites liberals are.

But if the paper in question is an influential conservative daily–one that pumps up both of these right-wing gasbags regularly, and one that publishes Sullivan’s work–then the rantings and ravings of its demagogic owner don’t seem to matter.

"There will be a purge on God’s orders, and evil will be eliminated like shadows," the Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myong Moon, the owner and primary funder of money-losing right-wing Washington Times, said last week. (The comments were posted online by Rev. Moon’s webmaster and picked up by blogger John Gorenfeld.)

"Gays will be eliminated, the 3 Israels will unite. If not then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring but this is what happens. It will be greater than the communist purge but at God’s orders."
this statement and goes after Andrew Sullivan and Matt Drudge for taking money from Moon.


Washington Times Picks Up Alliance for Marriage Terrorist Connection....

It's about time they picked up on this story.

This part was rather strange:

Matt Daniels, director of AFM, said that the organization's attorneys had advised him against commenting to the press. But he released a copy of a letter from attorney Chuck Allen, citing "many nationally respected experts and scholars on Islam" -- including University of Maryland professor Charles Butterworth and Georgetown University professor John Voll -- who deny that ISNA has terrorism ties.
"ISNA has not been listed or identified as a terrorist group" by any federal department or agency, Mr. Allen wrote, and added that "the FBI and the Department of Defense have worked with ISNA on issues related to Islam and the Muslim community."

Why the need to refer to a lawyer for this one?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

The Human Rights Campaign is partnering with Chuck Muth's Citizen Outreach to run ads highlighting Conservative Opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

The last time the HRC ran ads, I wrote them suggesting that they quit using the word "Conservative" or "Right Wing" to describe anti-gay activists. I suggested the terms anti-gay activists - or the term bigot was much better. I also asked why they didn't run their ad campaign in Minnesota - since there is a serious attempt in Minnesota to amend the constitution here. It's going to be important to galvanize some conservative opposition to the state constitutional amendment. It seems they may have listened to my comments.

I've mentioned Chuck Muth's site before. This site is a treasure trove of information about conservative opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. I think the Human Rights Campaign partnering with Chuck Muth's Citizen Outreach on this ad campaign will be an effective way to counteract this amendment. If the ads show up before precinct caucuses, they will be especially useful.

There will also be Print ads (as far as I can tell, these aren't co-sponsored with Citizen Outreach) that will go in a number of daily newspapers on January 12 through 14. The ads say: Be Conservative with the Constitution - Don't Amend it".