Scott Lively’s New Leaf?
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.