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Lawsuit Filed Against Scott Lively For Instigating Anti-LGBT Persecution in Uganda

Jim Burroway

March 14th, 2012

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)’s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has announced this morning that they are filing a lawsuit on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) against American anti-gay extremist Scott Lively for his role in “the decade-long campaign he has waged, in coordination with his Ugandan counterparts, to persecute persons on the basis of their gender and/or sexual orientation and gender identity.” CCR announced its action this morning in a conference call with reporters. I was among those participating in the call.

The complaint (PDF: 2.2MB/47 pages) was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts at Springfield, where Lively currently resides. CCR is bringing the suit under the Alien Tort Statute, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” In other words, it allows a foreign national to sue in U.S. courts for violations of U.S. or international law conducted by U.S. citizens overseas. According to CCR, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that ATS is a remedy for serious violations of international law norms that are “widely accepted and clearly defined.”

The crime against humanity in international law that CCR alleges that Lively violated is the crime of persecution, which is defined as the “intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.” CCR alleges that the defendant plaintif, Sexual Minorities Uganda, as well as individual staff members and member organizations, suffered severe deprivations of fundamental rights as a direct result of a coordinated campaign “largely initiated, instigated and directed” by Scott Lively.

In a conference call with reporters, CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pam Spees said that the Alien Tort Statute act had been applied in other specific cases of human rights violations against individuals. But she acknowledged that if this case prevails, it would establish a precedent for applying it to the crime of persecution, which, as a crime against a group, is different from a general “ordering the killing of people in his custody.” She pointed out U.S. asylum cases have acknowledged sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as legitimate claims for persecution.

Lively is best known for his role, reported first here on BTB, as featured speaker at an anti-gay conference held in Kampala in March 2009. During that conference, Lively touted his book, The Pink Swastika, in which he claimed that gays were responsible for founding the Nazi Party and running the gas chambers in the Holocaust. Lively then went on to blame the Rwandan genocide on gay men and he charged that gay people were flooding into Uganda from the West to recruit children into homosexuality via child sexual molestation.

During that same trip, Lively met with several members of Uganda’s Parliament. Only two weeks later, there were already rumors that Parliament was drafting a new law that “will be tough on homosexuals.” That new law, in its final form, would be introduced into Parliament later in October. Meanwhile, the public panic stoked by the March conference led to follow-up meetings, a march on Parliament, and a massive vigilante campaign waged on radio and the tabloid press. Lively would later boast that his March 2009 talk was a “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.”

In the complaint filed in Federal District Court, CCR provides details of Lively’s activities in Uganda going back to 2002, when Lively began touring Uganda and establishing contacts with leading Ugandan figures, including Stephen Langa (who organized the March 2009 conference) and Pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa. While there, he was interviewed for major daily newspapers and appeared on radio and television. In a conference call with reporters, Spees said that Lively’s particular influence on Uganda’s religious leaders was the primary avenue for “telegraphing the sense of terror” through his accusations against the gay community, and that influence picked up significantly following the 2009 conference. The complaint includes several examples where Lively’s rhetoric showed up virtually verbatim in statements from Ugandan religious and political leaders. She also pointed out that the preamble of the bill’s original draft included language that was lifted straight out of conference materials.

Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director of Political Research Associates, echoed Spees’s assertion that Lively’s influence played a major role in the growing climate of persecution in Uganda. He described the main avenue of influence as from religious leaders like Lively to prominent Ugandan religious leaders who also wield considerable moral and political influence. Ramons said that during Lively’s 2009 trip to Uganda, he also met with members of the Ugandan Christian Lawyers Association and members of Parliament, and spoke at an assembly of 5,000 college students and at major pentecostal churches. According to the complaint, M.P. David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, was among those who attended the Kampala conference. Bahati and former Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo were also named as co-conspirators in the complaint.

Ramos and Spees contrasted Lively’s role with that of the secretive U.S. organization known as The Family or The Fellowship. Spees described Lively as the “go-to guy whose rhetoric went into hyperspace to stamp out” LGBT people “in a strategic way.” She alleged that he provided a “tangible, clear plan” in contrast to The Family, which tried to distance itself from the bill. One  part of the “clear plan” outlined in the complaint was Lively’s recommendation for the criminalization of LGBT advocacy in Uganda. That recommendation became Clause 13 in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Spees emphasized that while Lively’s “violent anti-gay rhetoric” forms a basis for the evidence of the complaint, the case is not about hate speech but what she described as his systematic efforts to provoke persecution in Uganda and elsewhere. She described Lively as a “key player in persecution” in a concerted effort to deprive and remove rights for LGBT Ugandans.

Speaking via telephone form Uganda, SMUG Executive Director Frank Mugisha welcomed the filing. He said that when the March 2009 Kampala conference was announced, they had no idea how far that conference’s influence would go. Before 2009, he described an atmosphere where people were somewhat freer to live in groups as gay people, but after the conference there were demonstrations, meetings, reports of arrests, people being thrown out of their houses and churches, beatings, and severe curbs on freedom of assembly. Just last month, Ugandan authorities raided a meeting by LGBT leaders at a hotel in Entebbe and tried to arrest Kasha Jacqueline Nabagese, founder of the lesbian rights group Freedom and Roam Uganda.

More information about the lawsuit against Lively can be found at the CCR web site.

Update: The New York Times has this reaction from Lively:

Reached by telephone in Springfield, Mass., where he now runs “Holy Grounds Coffee House,” a storefront mission and coffee shop, Mr. Lively said he had not been served and did not know about the lawsuit. However, he said: “That’s about as ridiculous as it gets. I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue. There’s actually no grounds for litigation on this.”

Comments

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Bernie
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Jim, are you saying The Family was involved as well?

Jim Burroway
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

The Family is not a part of this lawsuit.

Bernie
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

No, what I meant was, with influence on the bill itself.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Cue the ashes, the ragged clothes and the accusations that international gay terrorists are tormenting, persecuting and terrorizing a good Christian man whose only crime was to speak his opinion and quote the bible.

I’ll be generous and start the count at 60 seconds…

TampaZeke
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Unfortunately I think Lively is write on one thing. There are no grounds for this litigation. Uganda doesn’t have a law outlawing anti-gay hate speech; or even anti-gay incitement to violence. Sadly, neither does the United States or the UN. Under what provision do they intend to sue?

Timothy Kincaid
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

It seems freedom of speech is not one of the constitutional rights that the Center for Constitutional Rights is centered on.

Not only is this authoritarian in attitude, not only is this astonishingly stupid from a PR perspective, it makes a mockery of the principles enshrined in the Constitution. I hope that when this is tossed out that the judge reminds CCR that without the freedom to hold and express unpopular views – even those views that “persecute” others – our community could never have achieved what we have.

And the irony is hard to miss.

We are, not only in Uganda but in other parts of Africa and in Russia, facing a crackdown on the rights of citizens to advocate for gay rights. CCR’s response is to try to crackdown on the rights is Americans to advocate against them.

Idiots

TampaZeke
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

write = right

Jim Hlavac
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Scott Lively and many others of his ilk and some within the Ugandan government are promoting nothing less than genocide. That this genocide comes with a patina of religious, legal and national sovereignty mumbojumbo does not in any sense make it less than a call for the complete and utter destruction of a class of people through a systematic rounding them up and killing them. Uganda and the United States are both signers of treaties against genocide. Ergo, there is ample reason to file suit against Mr. Lively on those grounds. No genocide treaty ever created ever had a “except you can kill all the gays” provision. “hate speech” is not the issue, it’s Genocide.

Jim Burroway
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Not only is this authoritarian in attitude, not only is this astonishingly stupid from a PR perspective, it makes a mockery of the principles enshrined in the Constitution. I hope that when this is tossed out that the judge reminds CCR that without the freedom to hold and express unpopular views – even those views that “persecute” others – our community could never have achieved what we have.

I anticipate that this will be the challenge Lively raises. However, the complaint is pretty clear that the issue goes way beyond “holding and expressing unpopular views.” SMUG and CCR allege that Lively inspired, instigated, and helped to plan what they describe as a systematic effort to persecute gay people. That would mean that he didn’t just know what the aftermath of all of his efforts would be, but actually strove toward those ends. That is very different from merely, as Lively has already protested, “sharing the gospel” and his “opinions about homosexuality.”

That is what CCR and SMUG will have to make stick in court. I do believe that what Lively has done goes way beyond just spouting opinions. “Conspiracy” comes to mind, a conspiracy to facilitate crimes against LGBT people as defined in international law, although “conspiracy” is not explicitly what the complaint is about. What I don’t know is whether there is sufficient evidence to make that kind of a case in a court of law. I would anticipate that there may be additional evidence coming out during trial, evidence that we haven’t see so far. Whether CCR and SMUG can make it stick in court, it’s hard to say. I think it will be very difficult. But then, I thought the Prop 8 challenge was a long shot.

TampaZeke, As explained in the compliant, they are filing the case under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows a foreign national to sue in U.S. courts for violations of U.S. or international law conducted by U.S. citizens overseas. There doesn’t need to be a violation of Ugandan law in order to file a complaint, just a violation of U.S. or International Law. This case is based on an alleged violation of International Law by a U.S. citizen. U.S. Federal Courts have jurisdiction over this complaint under ATS.

Lord_Byron
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy
“Pamela C. Spees, a lawyer for the Ugandan group, works with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a liberal legal advocacy group based in New York City. Ms. Spees said that since homosexuals in Uganda have little support, the lawsuit “brings the fight” to those in the United States who she says fomented the anti-gay legislation in Uganda. She says that the lawsuit is targeted at Mr. Lively’s actions, not his religious speech or beliefs.

“This is not just based on his speech. It’s based on his conduct” she said. “Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution.”

They are not going after him for holding those views or voicing them. They are going after him because it appears that what he deliberately did was try to instigate violence and bigotry against LGBT people in Uganda. Also as could be pointed out before in supreme court cases you are held accountable for your speech. For example you can’t shout fire in a theater because someone could get hurt. Lively took a bull horn and screamed at the top of his lungs fire in a crowded theater.

Theo
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Jim/BTB:

Your excellent work on this blog was cited multiple times in the Complaint. See footnotes 16, 24 and 47 and accompanying text:

http://www.ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/LGBTuganda_filing.pdf

You should feel proud of yourself. Your hard work on this blog is making an impact. It is probably difficult to know oftentimes whether your voice is being heard, especially since BTB is not a mega commercially owned blog like HuffPo. But this is evidence that your work is being read and really is making a difference. Congratulations to you and BTB.

John De Salvio
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Remember that “reverend” who demonstrated how gay people “eat poo-poo”? That those people should be killed? I guess he never saw those many websites about STRAIGHT scatology. He should be forced to see them, then have all the straight people in Uganda killed.

Blake
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

It’ll be interesting to follow. I doubt it’ll stick.

DonsterNYC
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

When the Ugandan ‘Kill the Gays’ legislation was being espoused by the anti-gay establishment there, I said to my friends that Scott Lively should be charged in International courts with crimes against humanity. I also said that arrest warrants should be issued through Interpol. Effectively that would stop Lively’s international travel or he would end up in some prison in The Hague awaiting trial. I am so delighted to see that this case has been initiated.

DonsterNYC
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Also, gays in Uganda have been killed! It was Scott Lively’s work that prompted these killings. That is an action for which he should be held accountable. We are not talking about free speech rights we are talking about murder, genocide, call it whatever you like, the fact remains that gays are dead.

F Young
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

I support this effort. No one should be free to incite hate likely to lead to violence (and may yet degenerate into genocide) against a group with impunity.

I am sure that Lively’s constitutional rights will be amply protected. On the contrary, I fear that the rights of persecuted LGBTs will be downgraded.

I am not an expert, but my understanding is that in international law and in most Western democracies, hate speech is a crime. However, I have my doubts about the likelihood of success in the anomalous US legal context.

rob
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

[This comment has been removed due to gross violations of our comments policy. Threats of violence or advocacy of violence will not be tolerated under any circumstances. -- JB]

Theo
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Jim and/or Timothy:

Will one of you get on the ball and delete the comment of the nut job posting as “rob” directly above this comment? It is obviously from an anti-gay troll who is trying to make gays seem violent.

F Young
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

“If even one homosexual is imprisoned or harmed in Uganda, I say we… [This comment was edited to remove qouted threats/advocacy of violence. See "rob's" comment above. --JB]

NO. Self-defence and defending someone who is under attack would be legitimate, but this would be murder, terrorism actually. Incitement to commit murder is itself a crime in most countries.

Timothy Kincaid
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Jim

We are, I hope, still given the freedom to “inspire, instigate, and helped to plan a systematic effort to persecute” people with whom we disagree.

We can call for the social rejection and criminalization of those who hold views or engage in behaviors we don’t like. We can even seek to have classes of people subjected to discriminatory practice.

Resulting actions can be held to constitutional challenge, but our right to object, to condemn, to demean, to besmirch, and in general to be assholes is one I value. Greatly.

I categorically reject the idea that advocating for anti-gay laws is an “international crime” subject to punishment. That isn’t just nonsense, it’s a threat to me.

And to you. And to anyone who has ever lived outside the expectations of their community.

If the legality of advocacy is based solely in whether it is in agreement with socially accepted values, then sign me up on the side of the bigots and outlaws.


Lord Byron

They are not going after him for holding those views or voicing them. They are going after him because it appears that what he deliberately did was try to instigate violence and bigotry against LGBT people in Uganda.

And that “instigation” consisted of… holding views and voicing them.

No one is claiming that Lively secretly met with anti-gays and passed out bats and addresses of gay people. Nope, they don’t like what he believes and says and want to criminalize his views.

Because the “act” of speaking his views is “actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights.”

And look carefully at “what he deliberately did was try to instigate … bigotry”.

In this country, you are free to try to deprive other people of their rights through speaking your views. And you can even try and instigate bigotry. Yes, you really can.

I could go out on the streetcorner with a bull horn and say that unlike other non-profits, we should tax the church. I could even claim that the beliefs of Christians are harmful to children and fill them with superstitious fears and therefor their children should be taken from them. I could call for the community to stand up to the Jeebusites and mock them and reject them and revile them.

You know what? I could even argue that religion is such a threat to social order that we ought to repeal the constitutional protections for religion and outlaw the preaching of fairy tales and bronze age myths. And if I were to say that this offense is so great that it deserves to be prosecuted as a capital crime – that too I could do.

It’s legal. Unpopular views are legal. And, ironically, the more unpopular the view, the more protected it is. That’s what separates the US from Uganda. Dissent is not only allowed, but protected.

F Young

No one should be free to incite hate likely to lead to violence (and may yet degenerate into genocide) against a group with impunity.

Is that a general statement, or only when applied to our enemies? I ask that because if you read the comments at, say, JoeMyGod website, there is regular and consistent incitement of hate and I would not be at all surprised if it led to violence at some point.

I defend those disgusting and vile gay people who have a legal right (though they are morally scum) to engage in bigotry and hate speech.

Here’s the rub:

I hate what he preaches. I despise what he teaches. His goals are despicable, corrupt, inhumane, and contrary to any decent code of morals and ethics, religious or otherwise.

But, trite as it sounds, I will fight to defend his right to believe what he believes and to organize others to join him.

Here’s the problem: it sucks having principles. And it really really sucks when you have to apply principles to people who you think don’t deserve them.

Now we can do what a big chunk of today’s conservative Christianity has done and put an asterisk on our principles. Just as theirs says “treat your neighbor how you want to be treated*” (* – unless he’s gay or liberal or a Democrat or you just don’t want to), we can say “I support the articulation of dissent, the right to hold contrary views*, and the freedom of speech” (* – unless I don’t like the views or consider them a threat).

Then we can proudly hold our heads high and know that we are in the good company of book burners, the Tennessee legislature and the country of Uganda.

StraightGrandmother
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

I think maybe I can shine a little light on this discussion. In fact our Supreme Court has a case in front of it right now on this Tort Law and it is written up by SCOTUSblog. It is complicated. I read all the information on the SCOTUS blog and I can see why the Supreme Court is pushing it back to next term (the current court case on this same Tort Law)

This article on SCOTUS blog explains it
http://www.scotusblog.com/?p=140230

Jim Burroway
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy

If this case were only about speech, then I would fully agree with you. But I think the complaint goes a long way in drawing a distinction between speech and setting out a courses of action which have resulted in actual physical persecution of gay people. I think the complaint goes way beyond instigation limited to “holding views and voicing them.”

A lot of people give speeches, but a lot of other people actually plan actions which bring harm to people. According to the complaint, Lively did the latter.

I would point out that holding and expressing views is what got Prop 8 passed, and it was in the way that Prop 8 supporters held and expressed those views that Judge Walker found that the manner in which Prop 8 passed — nothing but people holding and expressing views — was unconstitutional. The Appeals Court re-wrote that opinion and narrowed it considerably by looking strictly at effects, but Vaughn found as the core of the case that the Proposition 8 campaign relied on fears that children exposed to the concept of same-sex marriages may become gay or lesbian. He found that when Prop 8 supporters held and expressed the views that they held, they subjected LGBT people to the official discrimination. It was the outcome of expressing those views and holding those opinions that was found unconstitutional.

CCR makes a similar claim: That the outcome of expressing those views resulted in active persecution against gay people, including arrests, physical harms and threats of harm. It also further alleges that Lively did more than make a few speeches and write a few books. The CCR complaint alleges that he helped to plan a set of events which led to persecution of people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lively is protected in saying whatever he wants. But there are limits under international law to what he can do. Spees took pains (as does the complaint) to emphasize that the case is not about what he said, but what he did in Uganda since 2002. If CCR can back this up with evidence and testimony in court, then the way I see it, it carries the same legitimacy as the opinion that originally felled Prop 8. If they can’t back it up with evidence and testimony in court, then it gets tossed out and the CCR look like idiots. I think they are taking a huge risk. I also thought the Prop 8 challenge was a huge risk. I thought that putting what Prop 8 supports said on trial and claiming that the things they said led to Californians engaging in official discrimination was very risky. The Appeals court narrowed the case considerably, focusing on the effects/ But back when the core of the case was built on what was said, I don’t remember a lot of people worrying about Prop 8 supporters’ rights to be assholes.

But unlike Prop 8, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill isn’t just an “anti-gay law,” as you put it. It would be, if enacted, a crime against humanity and international law, in the same sense that other laws placed on the books in other countries — we can all name them from the past 20th century — have been seen as crimes against humanity and international law. It doesn’t propose to ban same-sex marriage. It proposes to kill gay people, and throw in jail anyone else who has any sort of contact with them.

Lively will have his day in court and tell everyone he says he opposes the death penalty. CCR gets to play the tapes in which he really had to struggle with it before deciding that he opposes it. Lively can complain that he actually wanted the bill to have coercive ex-gay therapy as a feature. CCR can play the tapes in which he advocates for strict bans on LGBT advocacy backed up by the force of law. Lively in court will get to explain the many meetings that he held with Uganda’s political and religious leaders. Lively will get to explain how after so many years in working with his Ugandan counterparts that he had no idea the situation on the ground was so volatile. He will also be able to explain how he thought his “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda” would have no fallout. Lively may prevail in the end, but SMUG, which suffered and represents others who suffered directly and physically from that fallout as well as the years of planning and coordination that led to it, does have their right to their day in court.

Lord_Byron
March 14th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy if what you say causes someone else to get then you should be held responsible. If i were to hold a rally saying how latinos are trying to destroy society and someone starts killing latinos because of what i said then i am responsible. You make it seem like they are trying to silence him, which is a claim he often makes, instead of trying to hold him accountable for what he has caused. Again the analogy of yelling fire in a crowded theater is true here.

“I categorically reject the idea that advocating for anti-gay laws is an “international crime” subject to punishment. ”

You might have a point if he was merely trying to get a marriage ban law passed in the country, but the law he supported wants to execute lgbt people for who they are. What he advocated for is against international law and I am fairly sure genocide, which it pretty much is, is against international laws and treaties.

Keith
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Typical of an Evangelical (or any neo-religious) person, to deny/defend their deliberate actions to inflict hate, violence and/or murder on those they don’t like. Why let God judge, when they can do it right now. Pathetic excuses from the hateful Christians to inflict blood and horrors on others of God’s creatures.

Keith
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Typical of Evangelical (or any neo-religious) people who actively work for the persecution and murder of others of God’s creatures. Religion makes a poor disguise for ignorant hateful people. To do it in overseas countries makes it even more despicable. I wish everything on him, that he has actively encouraged to be inflicted on others.

StraightGrandmother
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Jim Burraway, thank you! You did a most excellent job ob breaking this down in a way that I can understand it.

Kind of off topic but related to courts and trials. There is a website that is really cool. I didn’t know, but the Supreme Court records Oral Arguments, which includes the Justices questioning the lawyers, as well as the Justices reading their opinion and their dissents.

This cool website let’s you listen to the discussion and it displays the text of what is said, as well as a picture of who is talking. I found it very helpful to listen to Romer v. Evans and Lawrence V. Texas.

Particularly in Romer the tone and tenor of Scalia is disquieting. Here is the website. Search under cases
http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_1039

Romer came first then Lawrnence v Texas came second.

I can’t remember if I posted this here before, if I have I apologize for the duplicity.

iDavid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

This sounds very similar to the KKK involvement with attacks on blacks of which they were convicted eventually, but using laws and propaganda instead, to have the police and people turn on gays and attack.
I do wonder if Biblical laws concerning putting “men who lie with men to death” could be a rational basis for Ugandan law considering their progress in social evolution is so far out of step with the rest of the world.
If Lively could prove that he was upholding traditional law in another country, could he then slide by and win the case. Here it would be a crime, there it is seemingly prized.
Obeying God via Islams murdering infidels brings sweet virgins in heaven. One might ask what does Ugandan law bring under similar intent.
The difference is Islam suicide bombers are dead. Lively isn’t. But he may wish he were sooner than not.
With Uganda, killing gays may be attained through religious conviction giving legal allowance as they don’t have to my recollection, separation of church and state.

This is a fascinating challenge to say the least.

blue-heron
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

I concur with Theo: Congrats and gratitude to BTB.

Q? Where is the fund to support the Plaintiffs so that I may contribute?

Lively will no doubt have the full force of the mighty and monified Religious Right.

Serena Martin
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid you are an idiot and probably a closet case.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

LOL, Serena – you have to be an idiot to think Timothy Kincaid is a closet case.

Jonpol
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

I am so proud of SMUG, and I hope Scott Lively comes to realize that he is responsible for David Kato’s murder and that justice is served.

Reed
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Serena -

You’ve come very late to the party.

Timothy Kincaid is one of the most thought-provoking writers at BTB. I maintain that he’s a gadfly and/or contrarian by deliberate choice, but it’s possible the was born that way.

He can be infuriating, and tends to be prolix. He can astonish me by occasionally writing something that doesn’t send my blood pressure soaring. He can pick apart multiple arguments in comments that sometime exceed the length of most other people’s full-length articles. He can sprawl for paragraphs on a very long intro to the actual topic. He can be maddening.

While others cry “release the Kraken,” and wait for carnage to follow, I mutter “release the Kincaid” and wait for him to stir “things” up with an almost metromonic predictability. He is a prime disturber of the status quo even as he seems to play devil’s advocate. He can utterly give me the royal pip, with brass knobs on and all.

But he is gay, gay, gay for all that.

And I’ll come back to read him again and again.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Jim

Your parallel to the Proposition 8 case suffers one fatal flaw. In Perry it was the law that was on trial, not its supporters.

The CCR suit is not against the proposed bill. We’re that so, I’d wish them Godspeed. Rather, it is an assertion of criminal conduct against a proponent of that law.

(side note: As with many Americans of all political stripes, I am not impressed with international law. And this is a good illustration of why. The protections within the US Constitution for dissident voices are stronger than the international community is willing to accept. I’ll not join the march to give them up in the name of globalism. )

We all agree that Lively actively engaged in advocacy for the cause of an oppressive law. We all agree that it resulted in gay Ugandans coming under persecution (though I don’t seem to give that word the importance that you do).

But international law aside, advocating for oppressive and persecutorial laws is, in the United States, legal – whether the law itself is or not – and protected from prosecution. If lively is tried in our courts under our constitution then they can prove that he hates gay people and wants us all to die slow horrible deaths while he dances and chortles and legally it won’t mean a thing.

Or so I hope.

Because I want the freedom to espouse my view and advocate – even plan – for legislation. And I want to do so even if some Cardinal accuses me of persecution. Should a law be found to unconstitutionally violate the rights of Catholics to practice their faith so be it. And god forbid but it’s possible that someone reading here might act in violence. But I still cherish my right to speak my views – clearly, honestly, and harshly if need be – and advocate for their implementation.

StraightGrandmother
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

The Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350; ATS, also called the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA)) is a section of the United States Code that reads:

“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”

This statute is notable for allowing U.S. courts to hear human-rights cases brought by foreign citizens for conduct committed outside the U.S.

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/kiobel-v-royal-dutch-petroleum-et-al/

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “But international law aside, advocating for oppressive and persecutorial laws is, in the United States, legal”.

Advocating for a minority to be put to death should be illegal in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Americans will often get indignant about free speech and how if Americans aren’t allowed to advocate for executing gays their civilization will crumble yet somehow in Canada despite that being against the law the apocalypse has yet to happen.

Jesop Ash
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Anyone care to mention how Uganda now has the lowest rate of STD infection in Africa now and with a continuing steady decline, or how Russia has introduced similar non-lethal legislation and nobody seems to care? The debate floor is open…

Jesop Ash
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Priya, I detest the death sentence as a punishment but the list of reasons to discourage the behavior of SS acts continues to mount along with the documentation of these reasons. I could spend all day listing the links to articles with these statistics. And for the effects of Gay marriage, do a Google search on the end of marriage in scandinavia.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Jesop we’ve seen all the statistics your type use and they are severe distortions of reality if not outright fabrications, typically relying on the studies of AIDS patients or clients to STD clinics and then absurdly claiming what is true for them is true for gays in general.

I am also well familiar with Stanley Kurtz’s lies about Scandinavia and they have thoroughly been debunked. While trends in Scandanavia were towards fewer marriages and more out of wedlock births those trends were in place before gay marriage was ever discussed or implemented and since the implementation of marriage equality the rates of movement towards cohabitation and out of wedlock births have declined greatly showing if anything that gay marriage has slowed a negative trend and in some cases reveresed it and has overall been a good thing for Scandinavia.

There is no reason whatsoever to discourage monogamous same sex relationships and marriages, in fact quite the opposite. Those marriages bring happiness and stability to more people benefiting them and ultimately all of society.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

http://blog.marriagedebate.com/2006/06/smoking-gun-or-misfired.htm

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

And as far as STD rates in Uganda go the early decline in AIDs was due to the emphasis on safe sex and use of condoms. Since then condoms have been demphasized and the rates of STDs have gone up and most experts believe the claims of reductions prior to this were greatly exagerated. One thing is sure, Uganda didn’t lower STD rates by attacking and oppressing the LGBT population. Since the pogroms against LGBTs the STD rate in Uganda has increased.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Lord Byron,

Timothy if what you say causes someone else to get then you should be held responsible. If i were to hold a rally saying how latinos are trying to destroy society and someone starts killing latinos because of what i said then i am responsible.

I disagree.

Perhaps this is a right/left thing, I don’t know. But from my perspective, the person doing the killing is responsible for the killing, not the activist espousing ideas.

Now incitement of the real kind (not just criticizing but actually calling for violence) makes me responsible, but otherwise I can’t be held legally liable for what you do when I tell you that the Catholic church raped your children, closed the orphanage, and sent your charitable contributions to a political campaign to take away your civil rights.

I am morally responsible not to inflame violence. I take that seriously. Most people do though sometimes we forget the consequences and suffer guilt. (Some day look at the speeches, sermons, and writings of a number of individuals before Uganda and after Uganda.)

We have an instinct to “make them pay”. We want to punish bad people, bad speech, and bad ideas. Whether it is advocating for sin, opposing the king, opposing the revolution, hate speech, or having inadequately patriotic opinions, we want to squelch the bad guys. But that road leads to a dark dark place in which inquisitions and waterboarding and executing LaFayette and the Patriot Act all seem justified.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Reed,

I wish I lived up to half of your praise? criticism?

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn

Advocating for a minority to be put to death should be illegal in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Americans will often get indignant about free speech and how if Americans aren’t allowed to advocate for executing gays their civilization will crumble yet somehow in Canada despite that being against the law the apocalypse has yet to happen.

Yes, Americans do value free speech differently than Canadians.

But it isn’t that we fear that if we give up free speech then civilization will crumble. Rather, we fear that if we give up free speech then we wont have free speech.

I am also well familiar with Stanley Kurtz’s lies about Scandinavia and they have thoroughly been debunked.

Yes, thank you. And not just on blog sites but in a court of law with witnesses sworn to truth under oath. One of the many side benefits of Perry.

And Jesop, as Priya Lynn could tell you, the vast overwhelming majority of AIDS cases in Uganda were contracted through heterosexual sex. Your focus on gay people is a bit like solving global climate change by banning the burning of menorah candles on Hanukkah: irrelevant, counter-productive, and scapegoating.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, no one in Canada has been prevented from saying anything that doesn’t call for a minority to be killed. The difference between the U.S. and Canada is solely that we don’t allow people to adocate for execution of a minority. Free speech is alive and well here. Incitement to murder is something no society needs.

iDavid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,

It seems the filing is similar to being an accessory to murder. Lively helped construct a social matrix that resulted in LGBT deaths beatings interogations and a general sense of unrest evil doings etc ….. and they may or may not have to prove he knew such would happen. That would seem to fall into “crimes against humanity”. It seems you are talking more of lighter offenses, I.e. someone told someone I was gay and now i’ve lost friends etc.
That is different motivation than murder.
I’m wondering how this analogy of an agenda to kill, might fit with your model of free speech. It seems Lively may have had both going on at once, freely speaking while conspiring to, on the DL, kill the gays, which is illegal.
It doesn’t seem this action would be happening lest it goes much further than free speech.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Both Canadians and Americans value free speech – just as we share many values.

However, Canadians (on the whole) value the absence of speech that calls for the death of minorities over free speech and Americans (on the whole) do not. And so Canadians have made that exception and Americans have not.

That is one of our cultural differences.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, Canadians do not value the absence of speech that calls for the death of minorities over free speech. This is not an either/or situation. We have free speech here just as you also have restrictions on speech there in that there are laws against slander and lible and so on. Free speech isn’t an absolute in your country or mine and one certainly can’t point to Canada and say there are any restrictions on speech that in anyway harm society or people’s freedoms.

Erin
March 16th, 2012 | LINK

I apologize for lazy reading, but I have only skimmed the comments. Is the party suing Scott Lively in Ugandan court, and what are their laws about speech?

Jim Burroway
March 16th, 2012 | LINK

Erin, all the answers are in the article you are too lazy to read. Please don’t ask other people to read it for you.

Erin
March 16th, 2012 | LINK

Don’t respond to my comment if you’re going to be so condescdending Jim. Here I was touting your blog as a good read that usually gets stories factually correct, and for my loyal reading, I get a nasty reply from the blogger. Thanks a friggin lot. Actually, I’m trying to find out why this has 47 comments. Maybe I don’t feel like reading all of the comments, and if someone was willing to sum up what I missed, I threw it out there. I see that you were not, so why didn’t you just not say anything at all? Thanks for the complete lack of reverence. Not that you care, but I’m home for a short time today since my grandfather is dying in the hospital. I usually read every story on here that piques my interest and I have no problems with comprehension thanks. But I can’t resist debating when people think it’s ok to start criminilizing speech just because they don’t like it. All I saw was these arguments in the comments and I went back and got a basic idea what the story said. Suing in US court based on an international law that applies to leaders of nations targeting groups with violence and discrimination and trying to apply it to one loony tune guy who isn’t even from that country and has no control over what the government decides to do to its gay citizens is not something I agree with. It comes down to one of our citizens, a vile, reprehensible one of our citizens, speaking to people in another country and giving them his ideas. That, in the case of the ideas Lively shared should be criticized profusely, but it should not be subject to a lawsuit. So I agree with Timothy.

Timothy Kincaid
March 16th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Yes exactly. Americans value the prohibition of libel over free speech. Canadians value the prohibition of calling for death over free speech.

I’m sure you appreciate the place where you have drawn the line between protected and forbidden speech. We appreciate the different place where we have drawn the line. The UK has a whole other place where their line in drawn as does Sweden.

And as long as we allow others to have differing values than our own then there’s no problem. The world is too complex to come up with absolutist answers that fit everyone.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you and I and the Brits and Swedes can’t jointly object to the place where Uganda has drawn the line and the motivations behind their doing so.

Timothy Kincaid
March 16th, 2012 | LINK

iDavid,

If he’s an accessory to murder then prosecute him for that. I have some trouble with some of the application of RICO laws, but if he is part of a criminal gang of some sort, go for it.

But I am not a fan of the CCR’s decision to sue him for being “the go-to guy” and the “man with the plan”. What the hell kinda accusation is that, any way? They accept his right to his views, just not his wish to wish see them implemented?

But behind the disagreements stated here are more basic disagreements that we are not discussing. Probably because they are not fully developed on either side and would be incendiary if expressed.

But in addition to objecting to CCR, I object to the line of thinking that goes something like this:

There are inherent human rights that transcend borders, cultures, and even the collective will of the people. One such inherent human right is for there not to be restrictions on homosexual people that are not similarly placed on heterosexual people.

And its corrolary:

Ideas which are in contradiction to the application of universal human rights are inherently criminal and those who express such ideas should be punished.

I personally believe that there are inalienable rights for individuals. I do not believe that there are inherent human rights for groups beyond those that flow from individual rights (assembly, petition).

And I adamantly oppose the notion that the rights of groups supercede the rights of individuals.

I know that this is not a shared view. But it is mine.

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