Wisconsin GOP Faces Backlash After Being Caught Trying To Sneak A Homophobic Fanatic Onto The State Supreme Court

Written by on March 9, 2019

Obsessed homophobic maniac wants to be a Supreme Court judge

Late last month it came out, so to speak, that the right-wing nut who the Wisconsin Republican Party is running for an open Supreme Court seat, has been a closeted homophobic fanatic. People knew Brian Hagedorn, son of Milwaukee County GOP chair Sam Hagedorn, wasn’t exactly gay friendly but more and more started leaking out showing that the man is obsessed with his hatred for the LGBTQ community. Is that kind of overt bigotry something anyone wants on the state Supreme Court? Hagedorn turns out to have founded a school that expels students and fires teachers if they are accused of being gay. You know how lots of realtors are gay? The Wisconsin Realtors Association, which is a major pro-GOP player in Supreme Court races, withdrew its endorsement of Hagedorn and asked for their $18,000 contribution back. They justified their decision by explaining that “The real estate related issues that served as the basis for our endorsement have been overshadowed by other, non-real estate related issues– issues with which we do not want to be associated and that directly conflict with the principles of our organization and the values of our members.”

Yesterday, Patrick Marley and Molly Beck, writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want any part of Hagedorn’s crackpot homophobia either and will not be putting any money into his race, as they normally do for Wisconsin GOP Supreme Court candidates. “The national organization,” wrote Marley and Beck, “often funnels money to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to help conservatives in court races but won’t do so this year, according to three sources familiar with the plans. The move comes as other conservatives signal they’re staying on the sidelines after reports about Hagedorn founding a school that can ban teachers and students in gay relationships and giving paid speeches to a legal organization that has argued in favor of anti-sodomy laws.”

The Wisconsin Realtors Association last month withdrew its endorsement of Hagedorn and asked him to return an $18,000 donation. Soon afterward, longtime Republican consultants R.J. Johnson and Deb Jordahl– who have run past independent efforts to help conservatives running for the Supreme Court– wrote a column defending the Realtors’ decision to stay out of the race.

Hagedorn faces Lisa Neubauer in the April 2 election to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Hagedorn and Neubauer both sit on the District 2 Court of Appeals based in Waukesha.

Conservatives control the Supreme Court 4-3. A win by Neubauer would keep that majority in place, while a victory by Hagedorn would widen it to 5-2 in conservatives’ favor.


The election is April 2. What’s most galling about this ugliness is that Hagedorn and his GOP cronies are running around screeching about how their homophobia is part of their religion and that anyone who opposes them is attacking their religion (including the Realtors!). I turned to John Pavlovitz’s blog and a post he wrote yesterday, A Jesus Who Makes Walls. “I know,” he wrote, “thousands of people who say they follow Jesus, and I see millions more who I know are just like them. For the past two decades I’ve pastored them in small rural chapels and in suburban megachurches. I’ve served alongside them in the streets of Center City Philadelphia and in the tin-roofed slums of Nairobi, Kenya. I’ve led their teenage children on overseas mission trips and weekend retreats and spontaneous service projects. I’ve been in their homes and they’ve been in mine. I know what these people have seen, the work they’ve been a part of, the kindness they’ve shown others, the faith they’ve professed, the God they’ve read and sang about. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking now, to admit that I no longer recognize them; the venomous words they share on social media, the hateful theology they now ratify, the blatant corruption they turn their heads from, the human rights atrocities they are stunningly silent on. The only conclusion I can come to, is that we were never following the same Jesus– or at the very least we aren’t any longer. They are following a Jesus who is foreign to me, a Jesus who makes walls.”

It is not the Jesus I shared with them on all those Sunday mornings;
the one who touched the hand of the leper,
the one who fed a starving hillside multitude;
the one who preached the scandalous goodness of a despised Samaritan,
the one whose family fled political genocide soon after he was born,
the one who said he and the forgotten prisoner were one in the same,
the one who dined with both priest and with prostitute,
the one who lived off the kindness of those he met as he traveled,
the one who said our neighbors and enemies, deserve the same love we give our families and ourselves.

They seem to have no recollection of this Jesus anymore or have willingly discarded him– or maybe they never had interest in him at all and it’s only now that I can see it.

Stranger still, is that these people tell me that I’m wrong; that my Jesus of compassion and gentleness and mercy is one found in spiritual error. They mock me for this Jesus, saying that it is my bleeding heart that has led me far afield; that in seeking such empathy I have drifted into heresy.

I’m good with that– really good with that.

I am going to take my chances with a wall-breaking Jesus.


I’m going all in with a Jesus who errs on the side of loving people, of welcoming them and healing them and embracing them.


I’m betting that the carpenter Jesus, would have me make tables and set a banquet for every hungry, hurting, exhausted person who crosses my path, without caveat or condition.

I will not worship or preach or serve a Jesus who makes walls; whose ministry is one of separation and disconnection and segregation.

I have no use for a white privileged, gated community Christ, whose only concern is America.

I have no interest in a religion that manufactures outsiders based on their nation of origin, sexual orientation, pigmentation– or any other inherent part of who they are.

These Christians I’ve known in close proximity and the ones I’ve seen from a distance, are welcome to this God.

They can have a Jesus who makes walls.

I’ll stay outside here with my Jesus, setting tables and breaking bread.


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