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

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