Cornerstone Church of Alexandria has removed a controversial video from its website and Facebook page that showed its pastor, Darryl Knappen, urging martial law, calling for citizen militias and talking about his AR-15.
The video, posted Jan. 9, had received about 100,000 views and drawn both support and condemnation. The Minnesota Constitution prohibits private militias and state law prohibits people from associating together "as a military company with arms" unless they're part of the National Guard, the U.S. military, or with the consent of the governor.
Without mentioning Knappen or the video, a group of 33 Alexandria area pastors put out a public statement on Monday calling for peace and unity, and decrying violence and threats of violence.
An October video remains on Cornerstone's Facebook page of Knappen using a Sunday sermon to endorse Republican candidates for public office, despite the federal Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches and other nonprofit organizations from endorsing specific candidates.
“I’m violating the 501c3 and I don’t care," Knappen said in sermon. "There are hundreds of churches just like us all around the country. If you want to send my sermon in to the IRS, I invite you to do that, you’re welcome to. Let’s see if they come after us. Good luck. We’ll take you to court. You’ll lose.”
Knappen could not be reached for comment for this article.