“I’m not saying we hate Muslims,” VanDenBroeke said in the homily. “They are people created out of love by God just as each one of us is. But while we certainly do not hate them as people, we must oppose their religion and worldview.”
He added that he supported President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and that he supported a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers - undocumented students and young people brought into the United States by their parents.
The Star Tribune reported that VanDenBroeke has given political homilies in the past, including a homily in 2018 in which he urged his parishioners to pray for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, who is pro-life, was seen by many Catholics as a key nomination to the court for a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which allowed for legalized abortion in the United States.
According to City Pages, the Jan. 5 homily was posted to VanDenBroeke’s parish website (it appears to have since been taken down). It caused an uproar in the local community, including from the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Minnesota), which issued a statement calling on Catholic leaders to condemn the homily.
“We urge leaders of the Catholic Church in Minnesota to repudiate these hate-filled and un-Christian remarks as unrepresentative of the faith they hold dear,” Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-Minnesota’s executive director, said in a statement reported in the Minnesota Star Tribune.
In his statement, Hebda concluded by saying that he was “grateful for the many examples of friendship that have been offered by the Muslim community in our region and we are committed to strengthening the relationship between the two communities.”