International Hate Machine: Hutcherson, Lively and Ledyaev’s “Watchmen On the Walls”
October 5th, 2007
Last July 1st, Satendar Singh, a 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was beaten to death at Lake Natoma near Sacramento by Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away. They singled Singh out from among his party, saying “We just want your faggot friend.” He was bashed in the head and died the next day of a brain hemorrhage. Two men, Andrey Vusik, 29, and Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21 were charged with hate crimes in connection with Singh’s death. Vusik fled to Russian in July and is being sought by the FBI.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report has a very informative article by Casey Sanchez about the growing Russian, Ukrainian and Latvian immigrant communities in the Western U.S., and the increasingly violent threat they pose to gays and lesbians in the region.
A growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in the Sacramento Valley is centered among Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking immigrants. Many of them are members of an international extremist anti-gay movement whose adherents call themselves the Watchmen on the Walls. In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.
…Slavic anti-gay talk radio hosts and fundamentalist preachers routinely deliver hateful screeds on the airwaves and from the pulpit in their native tongue that, were they delivered in English, would be a source of nationwide controversy.
Kenneth Hutcherson, Scott Lively, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev.
These Slavic groups aren’t operating in a vacuum however. They are actively supported and encouraged by two key American anti-gay extremists, Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington and Scott Lively, author of the holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika. Together, they have formed an alliance called “Watchmen on the Walls” with Riga, Latvian pastor Aleksey Ledyaev.
That alliance operates not only among Slavic evangelical churches here in the U.S. but in Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia as well. Hutcherson and Lively traveled to Latvia last spring to speak at pastor Ledyaev’s New Generation Church in advance of that country’s contentious Pride celebrations. Lively told that audience:
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.
Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, claims that Hitler was gay. He go further and claims that the Nazi Party, World War II and the Holocaust were the products of a vast gay conspiracy. That book as found an eager audience among a population that suffered horrendously from Nazi aggression during World War II. Casey Sanchez reports:
The Pink Swastika has become Lively’s passport to fame among anti-gay church leaders and their followers in Eastern Europe, as well as Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. Lively frequently speaks about the book and his broader anti-gay agenda in churches, police academies and television news studios throughout the former Soviet Union.
Lively credits the popularity of Russian-language translations of The Pink Swastika to the support of Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the head of the New Generation Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch based in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. New Generation has more than 200 satellite churches spread throughout Eastern Europe, Argentina, Israel and the United States.
Sacramento, Calif., editor Vlad Kusakin; Vadim Privedenyuk, who runs an anti-gay church in Springfield, Mass.; Kenneth Hutcherson; and Alexey Ledyaev.
Sanchez also reports on the standard rhetoric coming form Hutcherson, Lively and Ledyaev’s alliance. The rhetoric is chilling:
In a speech given after Riga’s first gay pride parade in 2005, Ledyaev told his international congregation: “Homosexuality is a … dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community.”
Lively echoed his Latvian ally’s comparison of homosexuality to disease in a 2003 letter to the editor published in The Washington Times. “The homosexual movement in a society is analogous to the AIDS virus in the human body,” Lively wrote. “It is not benign but destructive; it thrives at the expense of the host, and you’re most likely to get it by saying yes to sodomy.”
The Watchmen portray the battle against gay rights as nothing less than a biblical clash of civilizations. “The homosexual sexual ethic” and “family-based society” are at war, Lively proclaimed in his letter to The Washington Times. “One must prevail at the expense of the other.”
That sort of militant rhetoric is standard among Watchmen followers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Speaking to his American counterparts in a Watchmen video, a Latvian anti-gay activist intones: “Your generation beat the Nazis, and our country beat the Communists. Together we will defeat the homosexuals!”
This may explain why, when Lively and Ledyaev were contacted for comment on Singh’s death, they refused to condemn the murder.
The rhetoric emanating from this group is extremely dangerous and violent. It’s hard to imagine how people who consider themselves to be good and faithful Christians can continue to maintain any connections with the Watchmen.
But some not only nurture those connections, they value them tremendously. Kenneth Hutcherson was a featured speaker at last summer’s Exodus Freedom Conference. Exodus president Alan Chambers and vice-president Randy Thomas glowingly introduced “Hutch” as their person friend. And unlike any other speakers, Hutcherson spoke not just once, but twice in featured prime-time spots before the whole conference — once in the evening, and once again the following morning. And throughout his talks, he proclaimed his love for homosexuals and how precious they were in God’s sight — or at least the “strugglers” who were in the audience that night.
Kenneth Hutcherson, speaking at the 2007 Exodus Freedom Conference.
And yet when he’s away from Exodus International’s warm embrace, Hutcherson is actively collaborating with an international organization which is spreading a dangerously violent and deadly message throughout the world and here in America. If Alan Chambers really wants to talk about what an “evil agenda” looks like, he need look no further than his own stage.
From Novosibirsk To Lynnwood