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Scott Lively’s New Leaf?

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2011

The Boston Globe has an interesting profile of Scott Lively this morning, in which he claims that he is turning aside his old ways and focusing more on helping the downtrodden in his adopted hometown of Springfield, Massachuetts:

Every day, patrons stream to the Christian folk shows and Bible classes at Holy Grounds Coffee House, the café he opened about two months ago on a block not far from downtown. A thousand people turned out for the March for Jesus he led from the café to the steps of City Hall on the day before Easter. And dozens of children and parents flocked to a city park for his annual Family Day celebration, featuring a water slide, face painting, and grilled food. Even the mayor stopped by that event.

“You can’t walk down the street without being greeted by somebody saying, ‘Hey, Rev. Scott!’ ’’ said Lively, an evangelical pastor who moved to Springfield from California in January 2008. “It’s very satisfying.’’

…“He has won the hearts of his people with his sincerity and the things he’s doing in the community,’’ said Archbishop Timothy Paul, pastor of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles and president of the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield. “But I don’t believe people in Springfield really know who he is.’’

Who Scott Lively really is, is the virulently anti-gay activist whose Abiding Truth Ministriues has been on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s very short list of  anti-gay hate groups for a few years now.  Not only that but Lively is co-founder of Watchmen On the Walls, another identified hate group (it was those Watchmen connections that brought him to Springfield), and he has worked with Massachusetts-based School of Christian Activism and MassResistance, two more identified hate groups. He is the author of author of the widely discredited book, The Pink Swastika, in which he claims that the Nazi movement was, at its core, a gay movement, and that the inevitable result of LGBT equality would be the imposition of murderous fascism.

In 2009, he took his message to Uganda with Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Lee Brundidge (Brundidge went on behalf of IHF head Richard Cohen). He would later brag that his messages was  a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda, which helped to prepare the groundwork for the introduction of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda’s Parliament.

The Globe provides considerable coverage of those events. Lively is unrepentant in his views about gay people, but he now says he has changed his focus.

“We’re not fighting the culture wars here in Springfield,’’ he said. “The issues here are more fundamental than that. You can’t deal with the culture wars with people who are struggling to survive. Those issues are not relevant. These are people who are trying to live.’’

“This whole mission in Springfield is to show by example the positive side of all this — that when you follow the Biblical approach and try to be as true to him [God] as you can, you get the maximum positive benefit for yourself and society,’’ he said. “It’s completely different from all the things that I’ve done in the past, which is going against the wrongs. We’re working toward what is right.’’

…Lively’s café features soft music and free Bibles, but no copies of “Pink Swastika,’’ or “7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child.’’ On a recent day, two teenagers chatted at one table, and two lounged on a sofa, while a few regulars talked with the long-haired manager, Michael Free, who offers blessings to patrons.

So, has Lively fully abandoned the culture war? I doubt it. He’s made similar noises before, but since then has argued that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would result in a Nazi takeover of the U.S. military, and he went on The Daily Show to say that gay men exhibit absolutely no moral restraint whatsoever. More recently, he ran as a write-in candidate for Massachusetts governor with MassResistance’s endorsement.

The Globe closes with Lively saying;

“If someone were looking for Scott Lively to stop being involved in the other stuff, this is it,’’ he said in an interview in his café. “Those people who criticize me, they should be happy.”

Believe me, I will be very happy when I never have to write about him again. Let’s see where we are, say, a year from now.

Comments

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Bernie
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

You have to be smarter than the Devil himself, by never turning your back to him.
I don’t trust that man for one second. I believe this is all a ruse on his part.

Kathy Baldock
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

He should be watched with GREAT DILIGENCE. I have a 20K+ personal exchange with him via email and he has a very nice side to him BUT he quickly gets back to the RULES.
he sent me a copy of “Redeeming the Rainbow” and it is a step by step process of taking over your neighborhood, schools businesses, government and then extending the circle.
He WILL be doing the anti gay message on a more personal level. This is INGRAINED in him.
NOT TO BE TRUSTED. If he does not come out as saying what he did was wrong and he is deeply deeply sorry, he is just more below the radar, that is all.
WATCH HIM!!!

JFE
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

Interesting he should go to Massachusetts, the site where the devil himself that has established the corrupting influence of same-sex marriages.

JimInMa
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

“he claims that the Nazi movement was, at its core, a gay movement”
You’re kidding me, right?
So maybe he has an explanation for the thousands of gay people who were put into gas chambers because of who they are? I’m so sure gay people were responsible for that!
ROFLMAO!!!

BlackDog
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

I get the vibe he’s just trying to bullsh!t people. I know the type. I’m not sure what denomination he is, but Pentecostal churches are loaded with guys (and girls) like him. They’re always busy starting new “ministries” i.e. the next scam, in case the scam that’s presently getting them what they want stops working.

If this guy’s as conniving as I think he is, he just wants to make sure he has a back up meal ticket since the anti-gay thing seems to be not working out so well in the long term. Your basic “ministry” is kind of a default for these guys. Not much glory in it, but dumb people trust him and he keeps a good status in the community, plus, it pays the bills. It’s really not about religion in a normal sense. They don’t think “What can I do for God” they think “What can god do for Me.”

Still, behind closed doors, abroad in Uganda, or when ever else he thinks he can get away with it, he’ll still be very bigoted towards gay people.

People like that don’t change, period. They’re chameleons, always changing their colors, but their existential nature never changes.

Soren456
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

Right there on the front page, with Dick Cheney off to the left.

I recommend the online version, for the comments that follow. They are NOT friendly to this pest.

Tone
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

Maybe he had a Damascus road encounter. Maybe his conscience finally got the better of him. Maybe he finally read that part in his bible that says the greatest commandment is love, and not oppressing your fellow man as he’d been led to believe. Maybe he’s hedging his bets. Whatever the reason I still hope that he just goes away.

acoolerclimate
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

I’m from Massachusetts. My guess is he is here to start the work of dismantling marriage equality here in MA. They are working to keep it from RI, they are working to get rid of it in NH, and of course they want to take it away from us in MA.

I have no doubt that is the plan.

JFE
January 5th, 2011 | LINK

@acoolerclimate Very, very possible. No one in the article asked him about coming to MA/New England to stop same-sex marriage.

grantdale
January 6th, 2011 | LINK

He would sell his own mother.

Alive, or dead.

To anyone, for any purpose.

BlackDog
January 6th, 2011 | LINK

Personally, I think guys like Lively have written off the Northeast, Fundamentalists really are pretty fringe there. They’re losing Cali, they’re making a go of it in Iowa but that doesn’t seem to be accomplishing much. Arizona, the South, and some parts of the midwest seem to be their main strong points but even in those places they don’t seem to get what they want as much as they like.

I think that’s why they view the “Global South” and places like Uganda as so important…I’ve seen books to this effect written by several prominent Fundie Christians.

Yeah, they’ve got a lot of political power and they’ll fight hard to keep THAT, but there’s a lot of pushback here in the States. These people (or at least the ones I knew) viewed Europe as a lost cause back in the 90’s, and the Middle East except for Israel doesn’t seem to matter if we’re not at war with someone there. They don’t seem to care much about Latin America, even though lots of people there agree with them. I haven’t heard much from Fundies about gay rights issues down there.

That’s why I think they view Africa as so frakking important. Sub-Saharan Africa is their ace in the hole, the place where their kind of Christianity is on the increase, and plus it’s a laboratory for if they get lucky and gain control somewhere else, to see what they can get away with.

The religious right’s not dead, far, far from it. When it really comes down to it they think on a global scale and I would not, at all, be suprised to see the US end up on their list of “Lost” countries within my lifetime unless they take over part of it, at which time they’ll write off the rest. Their big goals this century will be China and India (though both countries will be a lot more resistant to evangelization) I don’t think these guys really care about Massachussetts in the long term, it’s not big enough.

It’s just a waypoint on the Scott Lively express, I think, but a place to be seen “combatting the forces of darkness” so he can say he was there and drum up donations later.

BlackDog
January 6th, 2011 | LINK

If I sound cynical, well, I am. When it comes right down to it I think even the whole anti-gay thing is basically playing on people’s bigotry to get power and make money.

It’s wrong, and it sucks.

When that fight goes against them, they’ll find another one, just like they did when open racism stopped working out for them.

At least here in the US they seem to be switching gears to going after illegal immigrants, racist yes, and also a big part of class issues that seem to be their next big thing. I’ve heard way more anti-illegal-immigrant comments than anti-gay comments from those I work with who are prejudiced, lately.

Mykelb
January 7th, 2011 | LINK

A snake in the grass is a snake in the grass. Lively needs to have his figurative snake head chopped off. What he will find is that 40% of those people he wants to help are gay. His people created the conditions for the poor, the homeless, the marginalized and now he wants to go kick them in the teeth with jackboots while they are down. Disgusting.

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