Mother Jones on “American Pastor Behind Uganda’s Anti-Gay Crackdown”

Jim Burroway

March 10th, 2014

Longtime BTB readers will recognize much of what Mother Jones’ Mariah Blake covers, but the value of this article is in pulling together Lively’s career over the past decade into one place for a much wider audience.

Lively, a 56-year-old Massachusetts native, specializes in stirring up anti-gay feeling around the globe. In Uganda, which he first visited in 2002, he has cultivated ties to influential politicians and religious leaders at the forefront of the nation’s anti-gay crusade. Just before the first draft of Uganda’s anti-gay bill began circulating in April 2009, Lively traveled to Kampala and gave lengthy presentations to members of Uganda’s parliament and cabinet, which laid out the argument that the nation’s president and lawmakers would later use to justify Uganda’s draconian anti-gay crackdown—namely that Western agitators were trying to unravel Uganda’s social fabric by spreading “the disease” of homosexuality to children. “They’re looking for other people to be able to prey upon,” Lively said, according to video footage. “When they see a child that’s from a broken home it’s like they have a flashing neon sign over their head.

Lively is not the only US evangelical who has fanned the flames of anti-gay sentiment in Uganda. As they lose ground at home, where public opinion and law are rapidly shifting in favor of gay equality, religious conservatives have increasingly turned their attention to Africa. And Uganda, with its large Christian population, has been particularly fertile ground for their crusade. Journalist (a past Mother Jones contributor) Jeff Sharlet has reported at length on the Family, a politically connected US-based ministry, which promotes hard-line social policies in the East African nation.

But, according to Ugandan gay-rights activists, Lively has played an unparalleled role in fostering the climate of hate that gave rise to Uganda’s anti-gay law. “The bill is essentially his creation,” says Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of gay-rights organizations. Mugisha’s group has filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in US federal court, accusing Lively of international crimes against humanity on the grounds that he and his Ugandan allies allegedly conspired to deprive gay Ugandans of basic human rights.

The piece also includes additional video from Lively’s 2009 conference in Kampala.

Joe Beckmann

March 10th, 2014

Why do none of the stories regarding Lively and his extremists connect his ideology with its colonial roots, and show any connection between the financial exploitation of a country like Uganda and the use of religion by the financial – and mining and other extractions – forces of the far right? It’s easy to see how the Koch brothers justify their colonial control of key industries through paternalistic religiosity, but it’s more important – if it is possible – to track how religion is controlled (sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously) by greed and racism. When fascists get power their use of that power usually relies on a mystical – and thereby arbitrary and not easily argued – foundation. Who is behind Lively, and how much does he take for what he gives?

Rob in San Diego

March 13th, 2014

I’ve noticed on other news websites the mentioning of the Mother Jones article, like on yahoo news and so forth. And I always like commenting in their comments how BTB has been following this story more closely than Mother Jones and has been reporting about it for the last 5 years.

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2014

Thank you, Rob

Jacob

July 15th, 2016

I just love how he says in this article that he was invited and that he had no involvment in what feelings they already had when it was clear he made things worse: http://www.scottlively.net/2014/03/20/harvard-mother-jones-and-the-gay-bullies/
It turns out the ugandan matyers weren’t killed because of homosexuality…an extra lie to take advantage of a tradgety: https://sendaianonymous.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/the-evil-homosexual-king-mwanga/
http://www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Mwanga-killed-women-believers/-/691232/2737838/-/9urrpcz/-/index.html
Yet Livley says outright: “Third, Ugandans are far more familiar with the negative aspects of homosexual orientation than Americans are. Every June 3rd is Martyr’s Day, memorializing the brutal slaughter of 22 young men and boys by the homosexual King Mwanga in the late 1800s for refusing to submit to sodomy. It is one of the reasons why Uganda criminalized homosexuality many years before anyone there ever heard of Scott Lively.” This is a myth with no historical support…
“First, it was not my idea to go to Uganda, I was invited by the government to educate key leaders on the strategies and tactics of the “gay” political movement. I was there to serve, not to lead.” Except politicans didn’t invite you, it was Exodus internation at an anti-gay conference…he can’t stop lying.
“Fifth, I did not participate in the drafting of the Ugandan law and opposed it’s harshness from the very beginning. The Ugandans did not adopt my suggestions to emphasize therapy and prevention rather than punishment. That having been said, the hysteria about the law in the west is dramatically overblown, since virtually all African criminal law is overly harsh in the letter, but lenient in the application. Poor countries rely on deterrence since they don’t have money for jails. It is highly unlikely that anyone will serve any more time in jail for breaking this law than under the anti-sodomy laws of our own country in the 1950s (was your grandmother a “vicious homophobe” for supporting those U.S. laws?).” You should still condemn it not justify it!
“Sixth and finally, the veiled implication that Uganda is a bloodthirsty nation bent on genocidal extermination of homosexuals is outrageous and absolutely false. There is greater violence committed by revelers in Chicago after a singe Bulls game than a decade-worth of “homophobic” persecution of “gays” in Uganda. Indeed, even the absurd lawsuit against me for “Crimes Against Humanity” lists only a handful of relatively minor civil rights abuses over a 10 year period. My inbox is filled with hate-mail and death threats accusing me of complicity in torture and murder of “thousands” of homosexuals in Uganda, but the only homosexual activist murder that I know of is David Kato, whose “gay” lover is serving 30 years in prison for the crime.” Just put up Kato and ignore everyone who wasn’t him right?

Jacob Blaustein

August 14th, 2016

“Second, suggesting that my preaching overpowered the will and reason of an entire nation of Africans is breathtakingly racist. These people are not children, nor ignorant jungle savages. Most of the democratically elected government officials of Uganda whom I met are as or more intelligent and competent than Ms. Blake (whom I perceive as very bright and talented).” You are changing your tune: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/08/04/66265

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