Scott Lively Struggles With Uganda’s Death Penalty
May 27th, 2010
Current TV’s Vanguard reporter Mariana van Zeller has posted some outtakes from her outstanding documentary “Missionaries of Hate“. Already, we saw a six-minute interview with Ugandan MP David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into Parliament in October 2009. What follows is an extended clip of her interview with Scott Lively, the American holocaust revisionist who delivered his infamous “Nuclear Bomb” at the March 2009 conference in Kampala that set the stage for the bill.
Lively leads off with the boast that he was “one of the people that helped to start the pro-family movement there. … This was all new to them.” And so they asked him to speak. It’s an interesting boast. Lively claims credit for parachuting into this lost country and setting up a “pro-family” movement. Those poor Ugandan’s couldn’t have done it without him. But criticizing him for firming up the conditions that facilitated the Ugandans who put forth and supported the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, well, that’s racist to suggest Ugandans weren’t capable of doing this all on their own. (Of course, nobody has suggested such a thing. We’ve only noted his active participation in the process.) Yet there’s not even the slightest hint that this glaring contradiction has ever crossed his mind.
This clip also provides clearer context to Lively’s statement in the documentary where he calls the bill the “lesser of two evils,” the two evils being the bill itself or allowing the so-called “gay agenda” to take over Uganda. In the documentary, it wasn’t entirely clear whether the form of the bill he was endorsing as the “lesser of two evils” included or excluded the death penalty. In this clip, he’s more clearly against the death penalty, but he really has to struggle with it for quite a while before he gets there. After mulling over a few possibilities for its inclusion, he finally says, “I don’t believe that it’s… that I could support it that way.” Even still, it looked to me as though he was reluctant to say even this much against the bill. He looks as if he still needs some convincing.
Unofficial Rush Transcript
van Zeller: Why did you go to Uganda?
Lively: Well, I went to Uganda because I was actually one of the people that helped to start the pro-family movement there. They were finding people there, primarily homosexual men from Europe and the United States coming into the country and working to try to change the social values. And they didn’t know what to do. They had never had a pro-family movement. This was all new to them. If we do nothing then we’re going to end up like the United States and Britain and Canada, you know, with a powerful gay movement just basically overwhelming everybody else’s values and forcing their agenda down everybody’s throats. So they wanted to draft some kind of law. And it wasn’t written at that point. It was just sort of the idea that they wanted to do something. So they invited me to come and speak along with a couple of other people from the U.S., and I did.
van Zeller: So then let me ask you very bluntlty. Dr. Lively, do you condemn this anti-gay bill in Uganda?
Lively: It’s my understanding they’re going to remove the death penalty. But if they keep the death penalty in it, yes, I condemn the death penalty for sexual crimes.
van Zeller: But all the other clauses, do you then support the rest of the bill if you remove the death penalty part?
Lively: I would not have written the bill this way. I said don’t emphasize punishment, emphasize rehabilitation. You could be the first country in the world to have a government-sponsored ex-gay therapy, where someone struggling with this would have the option of being able to go into this instead of being punished for it. And them I said, moreover, and as a separate matter, but within the law, you should emphasize marriage in your country. This is how you can deal with this. Nationwide, proactively, you begin the teach the value and the imports of marriage to every child in your schools from, at an age-appropriate instruction, all the way down to kindergarten, in which you help your children to see marriage as their goal.
van Zeller: Some people would even say it was written by some religious leaders such as Martin Ssempa.
Lively: I don’t think he wrote it. I think it was…
van Zeller: He was the influence of the writing of the bill.
Lively: Oh, I have no doubt. I have no doubt, I mean, politics works the same everywhere. There’s always a constituency that’s more interested than other people in a law being passed.
van Zeller: There have been a lot of American Evangelicals who have distanced themselves from this bill. What do you think of that?
Lively: Well I think that there’s, in the United States, the church is too heavily influenced by media opinion, and unfortunately, even pastors can go running for the hills when they think they are going to be smeared. Like I said, I would not have written the bill this way. But what it comes down to is a question of lesser of two evils, you know like many of the political choices that we have. What is the lesser of two evils here? To allow the American and European gay activists to continue to do to that country what they’ve done here? Or to have a law that may be overly harsh in some regards for people who are indulging in voluntary sexual conduct? I think the lesser of two evils is for the bill to go through.
van Zeller: Even with the death penalty attached to it?
Lively: Even with the death penalty… well, if it’s clearly restricted to pedophiles… I still don’t… No, I’ve told them I won’t support it if it has the death penalty in it. So even with that, I think that would do more harm… It’s, it’s, it’s just that’s the sort of vice that you’re sort of trapped in here. It’s two very extreme positions, and they’re… The Ugandans could have gone the middle course, and they didn’t have to go this far. So you’re sort of… people like myself are sort of stuck. Am I going to endorse something that goes too far to protect the whole society? You know, and I guess I have to say just on my principles I don’t believe that it’s… that I could support it that way.
van Zeller: Martin Ssempa said to us that he thought that all of these American Evangelicals that were now distancing themselves from the bill, and particularly Rick Warren, were “wimpy.” That’s what, the word he used. What do you think?
Lively: Well, I think he’s right. I think there’s a lot of the wimp factor in American Christianity. I wrote an essay on that theme several years ago called “Masculine Christianity” And it bemoans the sort of effeminacy that’s sort of crept into Christianity where Christian men, especially, don’t stand up for right and wrong and they run away when pressed with controversial issues. It’s just unfortunate. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good theology. It doesn’t mean they aren’t doing great things in their churches with the families that are there. But the real problem in American today isn’t what’s happening inside the church buildings. It’s what’s happening in the culture.
If I had been Rick Warren and I had been presented with this situation, I would have defended Martin Ssempa…
van Zeller: So you’re still a good friend and supporter of Martin Ssempa?
Lively: Yes. I think Martin Ssempa is a good man. He’s trying to protect all the children of his country from being homosexualized.
van Zeller: Do you think that your ideas regarding homosexuality are better received in Uganda than they are here in the United States?
Lively: [Laughs] Of course. Yeah, that’s a… well, Uganda is a Christian country and America is really not a Christian country anymore. There’s a lot of Christians still, but the people who are the gatekeepers sitting in the seats of power generally are not. And they’re following a very humanistic value system that is anti-Biblical in many ways.