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Dickinson-based Lutheran church rocked by allegations

Church launches investigation into assertion pastor espoused racist and anti-Semitic views.

Our Savior's Lutheran Church
The sign at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Dickinson is pictured.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press
We are part of The Trust Project.

Editor’s Note: The following article features vulgarities and race-related coverage. All uses of racial slurs have been preserved and attributed to direct quotes from an account alleged to be owned by Blake Kilbourne.

DICKINSON — A Lutheran pastor in Dickinson is under investigation and public fire as allegations that he espoused anti-Semitic and racist views on social media, a blog and a podcast, have come to light.

Blake Kilbourne, who has been a pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Dickinson since November of 2021, has been placed on administrative leave by the church pending an investigation, according to the church’s council.

“The council has placed him on administrative leave. We’re aware of the allegations that are out there,” Church Council Chairman Jeremy Skaley said in a phone interview with The Dickinson Press.

The church confirmed that it would provide further commentary on the matter, but only after concluding their investigation, according to Skaley.

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Among the many allegations leveled against the embattled lay leader, compiled and highlighted by an anonymous whistleblower blog , are some that suggest affiliations with neo-nazi organziations and entities. The evidence presented, which appears to link an account named “SuperLutheran” to Kilbourne, is the substance of the investigation by the church.

The blog, purportedly belonging to the lay leader, has a coded avatar from Gravatar, a platform for social media users to create animated avatars. According to the website, the avatar in use by the blog was created by a "Blake Kilbourne" and is affiliated with the username “SuperLutheran,” which Kilbourne has used in the past.

Although no longer active on Twitter, one of Kilbourne’s social media accounts, “@SuperLutheran,” was active on an alternative social media platform called “Poast.” This account contained posts until recently, and frequently featured what faith leaders are calling morally questionable commentary regarding race, sex and Jewish people.

“Poast” has been widely reported as being frequented by white nationalists and other political outcasts.

In more than half of the posts “@SuperLutheran” published the topic of strength training routines was a focal point. A deeper dive, however, highlights commentary rife with further examples of homophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, misogany, white supremacy and the rampant usage of racial slurs.

On Sept. 3, 2021, “SuperLutheran” posted, “My house is a White ethnostate. No, you can’t apply for citizenship.”

SuperLutheran post #1
An anti-Semitic post from SuperLutheran's account is pictured.
Screengrab / The Dickinson Press

Other posts by the page declared racial cohesion to be impossible, lamenting that the “Jew global media” lies. Another post, pictured above, asserted that the cereal mascot Count Chocula is a Jew and suggested that "he is hiding something in the cereal."

The account for “SuperLutheran” appears fixated on attributing the death of Jesus to the Jewish people with anti-Semitic undertones. The account re-posted a meme on Aug. 26, that appeared to criticize ISIS for, “attacking every Islamic country in the Middle East, but never laying a finger on the only Jewish state.”

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On Nov. 24, “SuperLutheran” was tagged in and shared a meme condemning white women who dated black men as “race traitors.” The same post also mocked Trump supporters for celebrating, “Mandingo Lucifer Koon Day,” and supporting the immigration of refugees from Hong Kong.

Among the various vulgar and race-related posts were others featuring commentary that asserted, “a man should understand he doesn’t protect his woman because she is weak; he protects her because she is retarded.”

On at least two separate occasions the account posted a picture of Mexican-style food, attributed to being prepared by his wife, and cited it as proof that America doesn’t need immigrants for their cuisine.

The timeline of posts by the account “SuperLutheran” features commentary on moving and appears to align with Kilbourne’s own move from Bremerton, Washington to Dickinson around the same time frame.

Evidence being reviewed by the church as part of their investigation includes those compiled by a whistle blower who alleges that Kilbourne’s wife, Twitter handle “@Fashy_Wife” on April 23, 2016, tweeted a photograph of herself holding a baby with Kilbourne in the background.

“Good morning from our family! @Blake_L_K.” the post read.

The same Twitter account later posted another tweet in 2016, implying that the now defunct Twitter account, “@SuperLutheran” belonged to her husband Kilbourne.

A "SuperLutheran" post promotes a poll demonstrating an increase in favorable views of white nationalists.
A "SuperLutheran" post, pictured above, promotes a poll demonstrating an increase in favorable views of white nationalists.
Screen captures courtesy of The Dickinson Press

Allegations that Kilbourne was previously terminated for similar concerns from his position in Washington, part of the investigation as well, were denied by Kilbourne’s previous employers at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bremerton, Washington.

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“The church considered Blake as a candidate at the end of the year (internship)... for pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. I was retiring,” Pastor Tim Cartwright, of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, said. “But the church decided not to call him…I was hoping he would become the pastor of the church, but it didn’t work out.”

Speaking with The Press in a phone interview on Monday, Cartwright claimed that Kilbourne was not fired from his position as alleged. Further, Cartwright denied issues related to Kilbourne’s departure as being related to his espousing obscenities, profanities, vulgarities and race-related views on social media — as attested by the whistle blower.

Kilbourne, who started more than two months ago at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, was initially embraced with a Facebook post from the church saying, “We are excited to welcome Pastor Blake Kilbourne and his family to our congregation.”

The Emmanuel Lutheran Church, where Kilbourne worked prior to arriving in Dickinson, is a member of the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC).

According to a May/June 2021 newsletter, a letter from Church Council President Larry Farner explained that Kilbourne had traveled to Ames, Iowa, to stand before an AALC committee in a determination hearing to see if Kilbourne was a viable candidate for the position of pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

The executive secretary for the AALC national office is Bonnie Ohlrich.

“I’m not the one to say anything about that. I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of information. I just know that he’s no longer with us,” Ohlrich said on Monday afternoon when asked if Kiblourne's failure to receive the position was in relation to his alleged social media posts.

While the investigation into the allegations against Kilbourne will determine whether he acted against the mandates of his position, Kilbourne declined to comment directly.

"No comment," he said in a phone interview surrounding the accusations.

Related Topics: DICKINSONFAITHRACISM
Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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