American Anti-Gay Extremists In Collusion With Riga Pride Opponents
June 1st, 2007
Last weekend, we watched in horror as anti-gay violence broke out with police backing in the streets of Moscow during a peaceful demonstration. This weekend, all eyes will turn to Riga, Latvia, for their third Riga Pride. No Pride Riga, which staunchly (and in the past, violently) opposes Riga Pride, has warned on its web site that foreigners should stay away. But UK Gay News reports that they aren’t following their own advice.
American Scott Lively, author of the holocaust-revisionist book, The Pink Swastika is already in Riga. Lively goes beyond the small cadre of anti-gay extremists who deny that gays were victims of the holocaust. He claims that ‘homosexualism’ itself was responsible for the rise of the Nazi party and led directly to the Holocaust. He writes that “homosexuality is primarily a predatory addiction striving to take the weak and unsuspecting down with it.”
Despite the crackpot theories manufactured largely from rumor, conjecture and the recycling of popular myths, Lively’s book has become something of a best seller. It’s now in its fourth edition. While it has been dismissed by historians, it has gained a significant following among anti-gay activists, particularly among European neo-Nazi groups who have been responsible for several anti-gay assaults in recent years.
Lively has been active in Latvia recently. On March 21st, he was invited to speak at a Kaunas Police Academy about “the effects of sexual ‘freedom’ that is promoted by the homosexual movement.”
Another American anti-gay extremist rumored to be in Riga is Rev. Ken Hutcherson, of Redmond, Washington’s Antioch Bible Church. You may remember him for persuading Microsoft in 2005 to withdraw support for bill before the Washington state legislature that would have made it illegal to fire an employee due to their sexual orientation. After a huge outcry, Microsoft reversed its decision.
In recent years, Hutcherson has formed an alliance with Seattle- and Sacramento-area Slavic evangelical churches, as well as Latvian pastor Aleksey Ledyaev of Riga’s New Generation megachurch. Both Lively and Hutcherson were in Riga in March to speak at New Generation during Sunday services. It was on this visit that Hutcherson claimed to speak as a “special envoy” of President George W. Bush, a claim that was denied by the White House. Janis Smits, chairperson of the Latvian Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, was among the dignitaries who attended the anti-gay rally and spoke at the event. Also attending were Janis Pujats, Cardinal of the Latvian Roman Catholic Church; Inta Feldmane, member of Parliament; and Aina Krukle, representative of the Riga City Council.
Lively told that audience:
I have studied homosexual movement now for 17 years and with all responsibility state that currently Latvia a zone of intense confrontation between Christians and homosexuals…
This nation will be our main battlefield against this counter Christian culture. God gave Kenneth Hutcherson and me to see that [New Generation pastor] Alexei [Ledyaev] is the very man God placed to direct this battle, and church should support him in all respects. We are going to help you consistently and effectively to fight those who violate Christ’s rights and target his ministers for their insults.
Last year, Riga officials banned the Pride parade. Indoor events went ahead, and No Pride protesters showed up and pelted participants with excrement and eggs. Two years ago, No Pride supporters tried to physically block the path of the parade. This year, with a new administration in city hall, officials are reportedly much more proactive in providing protection for Riga Pride participants.
Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organizers of last weekend’s Moscow Pride, is hoping to be in Riga. It’s uncertain if he can make it as his own legal problems stemming from his arrest last weekend may prevent him from leaving Moscow.