NBC News Brings Scott Lively to Mainstream America

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2013

We’ve been following Scott Lively for six years now, through his activities in Novosibirsk, Riga, and Kampala. When Russia passed a so-called “anti-propaganda” law which effectively prohibits all advocacy and positive portrayals of gay people, Lively rushed to take credit for it. But with the exception for a brief period in 2009 after Uganda’s parliament proposed a law which would include the death penalty for gay people, Lively hasn’t made much of an impression in the mainstream media. Today, NBC News published a significant profile which gets the rest of America caught up to date with the impact that Lively has had around the world:

Lively has reason to be a bit cocky. America may have “fallen to the gays,” he says, but much of the world still fears them and Lively is working to keep it that way.

In Moldova in 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, he helped several cities declare themselves “gay-free zones” and organized an “emergency” campaign to block a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus he met with politicians and pastors, fostering talk of new curbs on gay rights. Every place he goes, Lively says, his goal is to block the open expression of homosexuality, keep discrimination legal and make pro-gay advocacy a crime.

To whip up support for such policies, Lively simply shares his beliefs about gay people: They’re dangerous predators, even killers. And they caught this gay “disorder” through “an evil game of tag,” a chain of abuse in which gays recruit kids into sodomy just as they were once recruited. In this way homosexuality spreads like “a social cancer,” he claims, until nothing remains of the Christian world.

NBC has re-posed portions of video from Lively’s talks in Novosibirsk and Riga, videos which are no longer available at their original locations. Tony Dokoupil’s report provides more information about the extent of Lively’s 2007 tour, which turns out to be more extensive than I had originally thought. Dokoupil also draws a line from Lively’s virulent rhetoric to some of the violence which often follows:

In Oregon in 1992, a same-sex couple died when their house was firebombed during OCA’s campaign to declare homosexuality “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” In Sacramento in 2007, a gay man was called a “faggot” and punched to death by a stranger in a park. In Uganda in 2011, the country’s first openly gay man had his skull caved in. And right now in Russia and in the former Soviet states, there’s been a surge in homophobic vigilantism, including a torrent of shaming videos, some depicting gay teens being tortured by skinheads. Lively has not been linked to any of these crimes but we asked: Couldn’t his talk of predatory gays, “good and evil,” and “war” have played a role?

“Wow, that’s a leap,” said Lively, who sees his work as advocacy in the public interest, no different from campaigning against drunk drivers.

Lively is probably best known within the gay community for his 2009 conference in Uganda. Lively would later brag that the conference was his “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda,” and he immodestly dubbed himself the father of the anti-homosexuality movement in Uganda. Ugandan activists are currently suing Lively in U.S. Federal District Court, alleging that Lively engaged in a conspiracy to deny the LGBT community of their rights and safety under International Law, and that conspiracy resulted in harm to the LGBT community. Lively is being sued 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.”  Dokoupil adds this concerning the lawsuit:

Pamela Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the group pursuing Lively for alleged “crimes against humanity” in Uganda, said she is prepared to file a second lawsuit related to his work in Russia and the surrounding countries, assuming there’s evidence that Lively was “an architect of the persecutory program” there.

And that’s why the case against Lively is so important, gay-rights activists say. As the Olympics draw nearer and the boycotts and homophobic backlash continue, Putin will be the guy paraded down the world’s front pages and social media feeds. But Lively may be the secret agent to watch.

If he loses his lawsuit he could be prohibited from spreading his message abroad, a terrible precedent for other anti-gay crusaders. However if he wins, he emerges stronger than ever, the self-described “hero” of an expanding fight to restore “godliness to society,” as he puts it – or else “pull as many people as possible into the lifeboat before the ship goes down.”

We’ve been following Scott Lively for several years, ever since he first popped up on our radar in 2007 when he was in Riga, Latvia in a stop on a far-flung tour of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union sponsored by a new international anti-gay organization, Watchmen On the Walls. (That organization now appears to be inactive.) Soon, video appeared of a talk Lively gave earlier in March in Riga. I was then alerted to video of a talk that Lively gave in Novosibirsk in August, where he warned:

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. …And this is the design of the Devil to destroy civilization, because civilization is based on the natural family.

Then in November, Lively was back in Riga for a multi-day Watchmen conference. On the first day, Lively complained that the United States was under the iron grip of the homosexual agenda, which he called the product of Satan, “the father of lies“:

You have to understand how this battle works. We follow the God of truth. The Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of Truth, lives inside of us. But our adversaries follow the father of lies. Scripture calls him the “father of lies.” They can’t tell the truth, and they won’t tell the truth because they don’t want people to listen to what we have to say. But we can’t say anything that would give them proof that what they teach is right… So we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We won’t stop telling the truth, and they won’t stop telling the lies. But this is a war.

In a later talk at the same conference, Lively disclosed what he called secrets that “homosexuality community doesn’t want you to know”: that homosexuality is a disorder, that homosexuality is like an addiction but also that homosexuality is voluntary, that homosexuals really don’t want to be homosexual, and that the only reason we remain homosexual is because the leaders of the homosexual movement have made us afraid of Christians. He also read aloud an open letter to the Russian people, in which he advocated:

…[C]riminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage “gay pride” parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.

Russia has effectively done that, after President Vladimir Putin signed the so-called “anti-propaganda” into law last June.

Mens sana

September 18th, 2013

Lively has not been linked to any of these crimes but we asked: Couldn’t his talk of predatory gays, “good and evil,” and “war” have played a role?

“Wow, that’s a leap,” said Lively….

Apparently Lively has never heard of “contributing to a hostile environment.”

Bose in St. Peter MN

September 18th, 2013

How is it that Dokoupil’s piece, while reasonably substantive, never covers the money? Who does Lively credit for his financial support? What do the 990s for his org(s) report?

AustinTX

September 18th, 2013

Mr. Lively, it occurs to me that, if I were the Father of Lies, or one of his servants, that my work on Earth would be indistinguishable from yours.

Sandhorse

September 18th, 2013

Me thinks someone is in for a painful “wake-up call” in the after life.

Soren456

September 18th, 2013

I don’t think Lively is in it for the money. I’m not qualified to analyze him, and I do know that anti-gay malevolence has been his mealticket for decades. But something tells me that he’d be doing roughly the same thing even if he weren’t paid.

For one thing, I don’t see him going around with his hand always out for money, like the Delgaudios, the Robertsons and the NOMs.

He’s a different class of enemy. He’s vicious and dangerous, but I don’t see him as utterly indifferent about truth and falsehood, as so many other professional anti-gay agitators are. I think he believes what he says; he is a true believer of the most disturbed sort.

Lord_Byron

September 18th, 2013

He is a modern Goebbels.

Neil

September 18th, 2013

He’s extraordinarily deluded but somehow he’s been able to land in other countries where gay rights are nascent and be taken seriously as some kind of expert.

The ignorance and gullibility he’s been able to find around the world is truly staggering. It seems information poor bigotry has survived well into the age of Google, which implies there’s something horribly wilful about it all.

Victor

September 19th, 2013

Neil,

The way “he’s been able to land in other countries…” is that he and his message are well received there by local Fundamentalist Protestant churches.

MplsBear

September 19th, 2013

Lively’s philosophy is not only hateful and evil -it’s also inconsistent. How can anyone simultaneously claim that homosexuality is voluntary AND that people who are gay don’t want to be gay?

Priya Lynn

September 19th, 2013

I was thinking the same thing MplsBear. I often hear that sort of thing from a variety of anti-gay bigots

Timothy Kincaid

September 19th, 2013

This seeming inconsistency is important to Lively’s internal narrative. He needs to think of himself as both savior and judge, both as offering help to the poor homosexual trapped in a terrifying and miserable lifestyle and also as the hand of God punishing the wicked.

So in Lively’s narrative, there are wicked willful rebellious militant radical homosexuals who are the leaders and rulers of the homosexual movement.

And there are their victims, the child who was seduced and molested into the movement and is brainwashed and afraid to leave. He sees “most homosexuals” as being miserable and afraid.

Lively’s role is to offer a way out, a solution, a healing. To those who accept his help, he sees himself as benevolent and a savior.

But if you reject Lively’s offer of salvation, then you are actively choosing to align yourself with evil. You are not the scared, shame-filled, miserable homosexual who needs help, but the radical militant to knowingly and willfully is seeking to work Satan’s work and to destroy family, society, and civilization.

And if society responds to your evil by burning you alive (Oregon) or bashing in your head in (Sacramento) or pelting you with feces (Riga) or prohibiting your free speech (Russia), well then that is the natural response of a God-loving people who are under the attack of your satanic agenda. And, as an added bonus, not only does this punish the wicked, but it incentivizes the victim to leap to redemption.

Further, the fact that few accept his offer is evidence that those who are easily seduced into the lifestyle either are either morally weak in their character or inclined towards evil in any case.

Priya Lynn

September 19th, 2013

Yeah, I’m still not really getting Lively’s cognitive dissonance. He’d have to be believing gayness is a choice for some but not for others who don’t want to be gay and that doesn’t make any sense.

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