Brian Brown, Sharon Slater Are Also At Moscow’s Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families
September 11th, 2014
Brian Brown is on the left. According to this online program, (Google translate here), he is spoke at a plenary panel this morning on “The Family, its Present and Future” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior’s main hall. Patrick Buckley, an anti-abortion activist from Ireland, Thomas Ward of Britain’s National Association of Catholic Families, and John Weston of Canada’s Lifesite News were also on the panel. Just to give you an idea of the kind of company they’re keeping, other panel members include Abdolreza Azizi of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Council.
The program indicates that Austin Ruse is speaking today on “the status of life and family issues at the United Nations,” ex-gay promoter and anti-abortion activist Miriam Grossman will present on whether “reproductive freedom frees procreation,” CBN’s Stephen Weber will speak on “restoration of paternity transformation of culture” (Google Translate may have mangled this), Janice Shaw Crouse will speak on “successful communications strategy,” and Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater will speak on the “protection of children and families in the United Nations.”
Sharon Slater is a particularly ugly piece of work. Her organization, Family Watch International, which has managed to obtain consultative status with the United Nations, proudly features Ugandan Pentecostal pastor and “kill-the-gays” bill supporter Martin Ssempa as an African Coordinator for FWI. She has also spoken out in favor of Uganda’s horrific Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as well as similarly draconian laws in Nigeria and elsewhere. She has also worked closely with ambassadors from Syria and Iran to push her anti-gay agenda in the United Nations.
At least a couple dozen other Americans, Canadians and Europeans are speaking at the Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families despite American and European sanctions against several of the conference’s Russian sponsors over the illegal annexation of Crimea and the Russian military’s incursions into Eastern Ukraine. Two of the American organizers of the Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-of-Families, World Congress of Families’ managing director Larry Jacob and communications director Don Feder, have prime speaking slots — although, ostensibly, they aren’t representing the World Congress of Families while speaking at the Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-of-Families conference. They are speaking on behalf of Jacobs Consulting and Don Feder Associates, respectively, which I think are similar in nature to Burroway Consulting and Timothy Kincaid Associates.
The Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families is taking place in several venues in the Kremlin and at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in the very same venues as the previously cancelled World Congress of Families, on the same dates, under the same theme, and with many of the same line-up of speakers. But remember: it’s not the World Congress of Families. Which is fitting, when you think about it. The Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families is taking place in the land of the Totally-Not-Invading-Eastern-Ukraine. Authoritarian demagogues with totally-unbelievable propaganda machines seem to have a way of finding each other.
The Not-The-World-Congress-of-Families Launches Moscow Conference
September 10th, 2014
Despite Russia’s illegal invasion of the Crimea and eastern Ukraine and its complicity in downing of a commercial aircraft filled with hundreds of innocent civilians, quite a number of American anti-gay activists are willing to look past all that in order to congratulate Putin’s empire for its growing campaign against its own LGBT citizens. A year ago, before the conflict in Ukraine exploded into armed combat, six American conservative groups signed on to a statement praising Russia’s so-called “anti-propaganda” law which prohibits persons and organizations from expressing their free speech rights for LGBT people. (Of course, free speech rights against LGBT people are fully protected while anti-LGBT violence is officially ignored.) Those six were Austin Ruse’s Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Chris Carmouche’s GrassTopsUSA, Don Schmierer’s His Servants (of the 2009 Uganda Conference infamy), Linda Harvey’s Mission America, Steven Mosher’s Population Research Institute, and Larry Jacobs’s World Congress of Families, which had planned to hold its next World Congress in Moscow beginning today.
That Congress was set to take place in the Kremlin itself, with funding from Vladimir Putin’s allies and featuring a joint session with the Russian Parliament. The theme for the Congress was “Every Child A Gift: Large Families, the Future of Humanity.” Those plans were re-affirmed last March, even after fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine. A few weeks later, Jacobs announced that the World Congress in Moscow was suspended after several leading American anti-gay activists pulled out. At the time, WCF said, “The World Congress of Families takes no position on foreign affairs, except as they affect the natural family.” In June, WCF said in their newsletter that they were canceling the Congress altogether, citing “possible liability” arising from American and European sanctions against Russia and several targeted leaders, including some who were helping to organize the Moscow Congress.
Except now it appears that they didn’t exactly “cancel” their planned Congress in Moscow, but merely changed it’s name and, perhaps, some of its funding sources. The event is now the International Family Forum — with the old WCF theme, “Large Families, the Future of Humanity” — remaining intact. Until just last week, Jacobs and WCF communications director Don Feder were listed among event’s organizers. Their names have since been removed after J. Lester Feder’s Buzzfeed article called attention to the new conference. Jacobs denied to Buzzfeed that the new Forum was a World Congress of Families event and that “any one who calls it that is wrong, mis-informed or lying.” He denied that WCF was providing any funding and said that WCF president Allan Carlson would not be there to speak. Jacobs later confirmed to Mother Jones that he and Feder would be there and “speak as individuals and not as representatives of the World Congress of Families.” Austin Ruse, who also said he’d be there, had no doubts about the nature of the conference:
Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, an American who was on the organizing committee for the Moscow meeting before WCF withdrew its sponsorship, said the local organizers decided to go forward on their own after the international organization pulled out. But he was planning to attend along with several other Americans active with the WCF.
“A lot of us are still going to over there and attend,” Ruse told BuzzFeed. “WCF will vocally support the meeting that is happening in Russia.”
Jacobs responded to Ruse’s comments by email, saying “Austin does not speak for WCF.”
And so the Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families is meeting today in the very same venues as the “cancelled” World Congress of Families, with precisely the same theme, with much of the same program, with all of the same goals, and with many the same organizers. Duck metaphors are flying across the sky. Hannah Levintov at Mother Jones asks whether these American anti-gay activists have skirted U.S. sanctions on Russian:
Both (conference organizers Elena) Mizulina and (Vladimir) Yakunin are among WCF’s heartiest supporters. Mizulina sponsored both pieces of anti-gay legislation that caused international uproar in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. WCF has expressed support for these laws. She has met repeatedly with Jacobs, has attended a number of WCF’s Russian events, and has invited a WCF planning committee member to speak before Duma members about anti-gay policies.
The billionaire Yakunin helped pay for the 2011 Moscow Demographic Summit, the WCF’s first major conference in Russia. Last spring, he launched Istoki, a fund that backs three charities—two co-run by him, and a third headed by his wife, Natalia. All three organizations have ties to WCF’s work in Russia. Three of the Large Families conference’s five sponsors are affiliated with Yakunin: the Sanctity of Motherhood Foundation, the Center for National Glory, and St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation. The latter two are run by Yakunin and all three are funded by Yakunin’s Istoki fund.
Yakunin and Mizulina are currently on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list. Once someone is on the list, American citizens and businesses “are generally prohibited from dealing with them,” according to OFAC, which administers economic and trade sanctions. Sanction rules hinge on what counts as “dealing” with an SDN, which isn’t clearly defined. “If a US individual or entity wanted to deal with a sanctioned entity on the SDN list, we would encourage them to reach out to OFAC for guidance on a case-by-case basis,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Mother Jones. “Generally what is prohibited are ‘dealings’ with SDNs. Doing business or doing transactions—all of that is covered in the regulations. But dealings is a general term.” She said that the agency does not comment on specific cases.
The Human Rights Campaign is calling on the U.S. Treasury to investigate the WCF’s leadership for possibly violating U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Update: Janice Shaw Crouse, a WCF board member who may or may not still be the Executive Director of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LeHaye Institute, is also in Moscow for the totally non-Congress:
Another Update: The Moscow Times updates us on the upstanding characters that Jacobs, Feder, Ruse and Crouse are consorting with:
The lineup of conservative crusaders also included “the Russian Soros,” Konstantin Malofeyev — founder of Marshall Capital Partners investment fund that has been linked to insurgents in Ukraine — and Yelena Mizulina, a conservative State Duma lawmaker who has championed laws banning the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans and banning the promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.
Both were sanctioned by either the U.S. and EU — or both — over their alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and Crimea annexation.
Vladimir Putin sent his greetings via an emmisary as the conference got under way.
American Anti-Gay Extremists Claim Credit for Cancellation of Belgrade Pride
October 2nd, 2013
The Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families is claiming credit for Serbia’s last-minute decision last week to cancel Belgrade Pride. In a press released issued yesterday, WCF described a rally they held in Saturday, September 28 (the day the Belgarde Pride march had been scheduled to take place), which brought together anti-gay activists from the U.S., France and Russia to celebrate the march’s cancellation:
A September 28th rally in the center of Belgrade was attended by several thousand pro-family activists. It was addressed by leaders of Dveri [a Serb anti-gay group], including Srdjan Nogo and Jugoslav Kiprijanovic.
World Congress of Families was represented by Communications Director Don Feder and Alexey Komov, WCF Representative in Russia and the CIS, and head of the organizing committee for World Congress of Families VIII, in Moscow, the Kremlin, September 10-12, 2014. Fabrice Sorlin, a French pro-family activist, also spoke.
Feder told the crowd: “Your fight is our fight. The fight for the family is a fight for civilization. World Congress of Families and its more than 40 Partners in 16 countries is proud to stand with the Serbian people for the natural family — the fundamental unit of society which is guaranteed protection under the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Komov mentioned Russia’s adoption of a law banning the distribution of LGBT propaganda to minors and invited participants to Moscow next year for World Congress of Families VIII (www.worldcongress.ru).
“The Serbian people are not alone. There are millions of people on all continents supporting the natural family and traditional values. World Congress of Families is happy to be in Belgrade at this historic moment and to be helping to build an international pro-family movement,” Komov declared (see his full speech at www.familypolicy.ru).
Sorlin reminded the rally: “In France, more than two million people marched for the natural family and against ‘gay marriage.’ The assault on the family is a global phenomenon and must be answered by a global movement. Long live free Serbia! Long live free France.”
Feder reportedly “participated in two press conferences and a roundtable discussion at Belgrade’s international press center, as well as being interviewed by Swedish public radio. The day of the march, he was a guest on Focus, the nation’s largest radio station.”
Feder, who once described himself as making “the legendary Atilla look like a “a limousine liberal”, was a featured speaker at the Watchmen On the Wall’s 2007 conference in Riga, Latvia, alongside Massachusetts extremist Scott Lively. Fabrice Sorlin heads the French nationalist group, Dies Irae. In 2007, Sorlin stood as a National Front candidate for the National Assembly elections. According to a documenatry that aired on France 2 in 2010, Dies Irae, which takes its name from the 13th-century Latin hymn “Day of Wrath” which became a popular component of the Requiem Mass, had been working to create autonomous militias in France under the inspiration of American white nationalist Luther Pierce’s conspiracy-laden novel The Turner Diaries.
The Daily Agenda for Sunday, April 15
April 15th, 2012
TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Family “Research” Council’s Values Bus Tour: Westlake and Cuyahoga Falls, OH. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified hate group, continues its Values Bus Tour of Ohio. Today, the tour goes to the Cleveland suburb of Westlake for morning services at Church on the Rise. The bus will be there from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The bus then departs for an Akron Tea Party “Rescue America Tax Day Rally” at Fall River Square in Cuyahoga Falls. That rally features “Joe the Plumber” (Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress to represent the heavily gerrymandered district that stretches from Toledo nearly to Cleveland) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH). That rally goes from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Scott Livley, Brian Camenker, Don Feder Speak at Tea Party Rally: Boston, MA. The SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups will be well represented at today’s Patriots’ Day Rally on Boston Commons today, sponsored by the Massachusetts Tea Party. MassResistance’s Brian Camenker and Abiding Truth Ministry’s Scott Lively, and Don Feder (who once described himself as making Atilla the Hunn look like a “a limousine liberal”) are listed as featured speakers. The keynote speaker will be Texas GOP Congressman (and LaBarbara Award winner) Louie Gohmert. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnston had been on the bill as another keynote speaker, but he withdrew on Thursday after learning about Scott Lively’s participation. Johnson will be at a competing Worcester Tea Party rally instead. The Boston rally will soil the Boston Common Bandstand from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Protest of FRC Values Bus: Westlake and Cuyahoga Falls, OH. GetEqual Ohio and Freedom To Marry Ohio will meet that FRC Values Bus events today with counter-rallies at both locations. The first one at Westlake will take place in front of Church on the Rise, and will go from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The second counter-rally will take in Cuyahoga Falls at Fall River Square from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Leonardo Da Vinci: 1452. Born in Vinci “at the third hour of the night,” Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence at the age of fourteen. Early descriptions indicate that he was tall (at least 5’8″), athletic and extremely handsome. One contemporary described him as “an artist of outstanding physical beauty who displayed infinite grace in everything he did.” At the age of twenty-four, Da Vinci was among four people accused of sodomy, a very serious accusation because it carried the death penalty. Those charges were dismissed on the condition that there were no further accusations. When accusations were made again that same year, charges were dismissed again, perhaps because one of those charged may have been linked with the powerful Medici family.
Undoubtedly, those accusations made Da Vinci very cautious, even in Florence where, despite those charges, homosexuality was somewhat more tolerated than elsewhere (so much so that in Germany, the word Florenzer became slang for homosexual.) While there is no further contemporary mention of Da Vinci’s sexuality, it was generally known that the life-long bachelor was particularly fond of and generous with his handsome male pupils, some of whom may have inspired some of Da Vinci’s erotic sketches. Later historians mostly assumed that he was gay, an assumption that gained greater currency in the nineteenth century when German, French and British authors began examining the new understanding of what was to be called inversion, uranism, and, finally, homosexuality. Whenever nineteenth century authors sought examples of inverts in history, Da Vinci’s name nearly always earned a prominent mention.
Bessie Smith: 1894. “The Empress of the Blues” was born in Chattanooga, the daughter of a laborer and part-time Baptist preacher. He died before she could remember him, and by the time she was nine, she had lost her mother and a brother. Her older brother had joined a Black Vaudeville troupe owned by Moses Stokes, which featured Ma Rainey as blues singer. In 1912, Bessie joined that same troupe, but as a dancer rather than a singer. While it’s believed that Rainey didn’t teach Smith to sing, (Smith had been singing on the streets of Chattanooga from a very young age), Rainey is credited with teaching Smith about stage presence. By 1913, Smith began singing professionally, and her career exploded in 1923 when she began recording for Columbia Records. By then, she was the highest-paid African-American entertainer in her day.
In 1923, she entered a very stormy marriage with Jack Gee, but he was unable to accommodate her show-biz life or her open bisexuality. They separated but never officially divorced. Meanwhile, she recorded hit after hit for Columbia, including “Downhearted Blues,” “St. Louis Blues”, “Empty Bed Blues,” and the tune she is perhaps best known for today, “Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer).” By the end of the 1920′s, the arrival of the “talkies” meant the end of vaudeville, while the onset of the Great Depression brought about a collapse of the recording industry. Smith continued touring in clubs, but the going was tough. By 1933, she was recording for Okeh records, where she was paid a non-royalty fee of $37.50 for each side. Those were her last recordings. She was critically injured in a car accident in 1937, her right arm nearly severed in the accident. She died the following morning at the G.T. Thomas Afro-American Hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Her funeral in Philadelphia drew 10,000 mourners. Her grave however remained unmarked; her estranged husband kept pocketing the money raised for a tombstone. She finally got her marker in 1970, courtesy of Janis Joplin.
George Platt Lynes: 1907. He first wanted to start a literary career after meeting Gertrude Stein and her circle in Paris. In 1927, he opened a bookstore in Englewood, New Jersey and took up photography so he could take pictures of his friends, and that is where his creative energies went. By 1932 Lynes opened his photography studio in New York and began exhibiting in the city’s art galleries. He earned commissions from the New York City Ballet, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodmans. After World War II, he moved to Hollywood, where he became chief photographer for Vogue and photographed such illuminaries as Katharine Hepburn, Gloria SWanson, Igor Stravinsky, and Thomas Mann. His work was an artistic success, but a financial failure. He moved back to New York, but was never able to re-establish the success he once had.
The passion he had for his photography can be best seen in the photos that he took which harkened back to his reason for taking up photography in the first place: intimate (usually nude) photos of friends, lovers, performers and models. The artist Paul Cadmus, who posed for Lynes, recalled how he “used flattery to make everyone feel so comfortable.” Those male nudes were never published, at least not in his lifetime. In the late 1940s, he transfered many of his negatives to Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s Institute for Sexual Research in Bloomington, Indiana, and destroyed much of the rest of his work just before dying of lung cancer in 1955. In 2011, Rizolli published George Platt Lynes: The Male Nudes, marking the first time many of his beloved nudes appeared in print.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
MassResistance Endorses Scott Lively As Write-In Candidate for Governor
August 13th, 2010
MassResistance, the most prominent group in Massachusetts that has been fighting a quixotic battle against ‘the state’s same-sex marriage law since the Goodridge decision, has become increasingly rabid in its anti-gay opposition. So much so, that they are one of only fourteen anti-gay hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (That’s out of 932 active hate groups in the United States the SPLC tracked in 2009.) But to give you an indication of how firmly entrenched they are in the politics of personal vilification, MassResistance has now endorsed holocaust revisionist Scott Lively as write-in candidate for Massachusetts governor in the GOP primary:
Lively is everything that (GOP primary front-runner) Charlie Baker is not. He is principled, pro-family, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-2nd-amendment, pro-religion, pro-parents’ rights, and utterly fearless.
Send a clear message to the RINO establishment
There’s nothing quite like voting for someone you actually support, rather than the lesser of two (or three) evils.
And by thousands (we hope!) of people voting for Scott Lively as a write-in candidate in the September 14 Republican Primary, a very strong statement will be made to the RINO Republican establishment, especially since relatively few people vote in most primaries. Don’t assume you own us. What you’re selling, we’re not buying. The people running the Massachusetts Republican Party love to use social conservatives to do the grunt work on campaigns, but they arrogantly see themselves as above “dirtying” themselves with the principled issues that conservatives care about.
Scott Lively is best known as the 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. He recently argued that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would result in a Nazi takeover of the U.S. military, and he told The Daily Show that gay men exhibit absolutely no moral restraint whatsoever.
In March 2009, Lively was one of three American anti-gay activists to deliver what he called his “Nuclear Bomb against the gay agenda” at a conference in Kampala, Uganda which ultimately led to the introduction of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda’s Parliament. That bill calls for the death penalty against LGBT people under certain circumstances, and virtually criminalizes knowing or providing services to gay people. Lively has called that bill “a step in the right direction” and “the lesser of two evils,” although he claims to oppose the death penalty and has falsely claimed on multiple occasions that the death penalty has been removed from the bill. It has not. The bill, while unchanged, now appears stalled in two Parliamentary committees following international outcry.
Scott Lively himself is no stranger to the SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups. His own Abiding Truth Ministries, now based in Springfield, Massachusets, is also listed as an anti-gay hate group. He has worked closely with the other two Massachusetts-based anti-gay hate groups. He delivered a series of lectures at the School of Christian Activism, which is a ministry of the New Generation Christian Center. New Generation itself is a ministry of Latvia-based pastor Alexey Ledyaev, founder of the New Generation Movement. Lively and Ledyaev co-founded an international anti-gay movement known as Watchmen On the Walls, which is also listed as an anti-gay hate group by the SPLC.
(By the way, here’s a trivia note. The picture that MassResistance posted in their endorsement of Scott Lively is a cropped version of my screen-capture from video of Lively speaking on the first day of a Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia. What, they couldn’t get a headshot from their good friend?)
Which means, for those of you keeping track, that Lively is now working very closely with four of the fourteen anti-gay hate groups tracked by the SPLC.
Scott Lively’s ties with MassResistance are deep. He has appeared on MassResistance’s podcast as far back as 2006, and his writings are promoted in MassResistance’s web site. Last March, Lively joined Peter LaBarbera to speak at a MassResistance banquet. Last March, Lively joined Peter LaBarbera to speak at a MassResistance banquet.
MassResistance’s Brian Camenker spoke at a rally put on by the Plymouth Rock Tea Party last July. This appearance followed the cancellation of another Tea Party rally on the Lexington Battle Green due to controversy over Camenker’s participation. Camenker will also appear at a South Boston Tea Party rally on Aug 22, where the featured speaker will be Don Feder. It should come as no surprise that Feder, who once described himself as being “to the right of Attila the Hun,” was also a featured speaker at the Watchmen’s Riga conference. Anti-gay extremism forms a very tight little world.
Huckabee, Bauchmann, McClintock To Speak At Conference Featuring Hate Group
August 25th, 2009
Former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA are confirmed speakers at the upcoming Take America Conference in St. Louis September 25 and 26. This same conference invited MassResistance to give a workshop titled “How to counter the homosexual extremist movement,” presumably on of the strength of their resounding successes in Massachusetts.
MassResistance is one of only eleven anti-gay groups designated as an official hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. MassResistance has developed closes ties with Holocaust Revisionist Scott Lively, where he was a featured speaker at the MassResistance banquet last January. Conference connections to hate groups don’t end with MassResistance. Host committee member Don Feder spoke at the 2007 Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia. The Watchmen, another SPLC-designated hate group, was also co-founded by Scott Lively.
The Take America Back conference is co-chaired by Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum) and Janet Folger Porter (Faith2Action). Other host committee members include LaBarbera Award Winners Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel) and Rick Scarborough (Vision America), as well as Don Wildmon (American Family Association) Dick Bott (Bott Radio Network), Michael Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), Phillip Jauregui (Judicial Action Group), Rick Green (Wallbuilders), and Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily).
Stop the Presses!
June 23rd, 2009
Don Feder has done something he’s immensely proud of, so proud that he issued this press release:
Boycott The New York Times (BoycottNYT.com) marked its 100th web posting this week. Launched during the 2008 presidential campaign, the website is dedicated to exposing and organizing a boycott of America’s most biased media outlet — which also sets the agenda for the rest of the liberal media.
Wow. 100 posts in just under ten months. Rock on!
Last time we heard from Don Feder, he was one of the featured speakers at a Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia. He was there to warn about the “Demographic Winter” that western cultures were experiencing due to dropping birth rates brought on by, oh just about everything, but partially by “homosexual marriage.” He once wrote that his politics “make the legendary Atilla [sic] look like a limousine liberal.” That sounds about right. Attila wasn’t a towering intellect either, nor was he a prolific writer.
The Watchmen In Riga, Part 2: From Babylon To Jerusalem
November 28th, 2007
(This series on the Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia held Nov. 14-18 is based on the videos posted on the New Generation web site. Translations from Russian were generously provided by Ruslan Porshnev of the Russian LGBT web site Anti-Dogma.)
By mid-morning of the first full day (November 15) of the Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia, the audience experienced quite a few mood changes. The night before, they saw Pastor Alexey Ledyaev’s open the conference with a call to arms, followed by a much cooler talk by American author Scott Lively the following morning. But while Lively’s tone was a bit calmer than Ledyaev’s, his rhetoric was no less aggressive as he described gays and lesbians as followers of the “father of lies” while repeating the oft-repeated phrase heard throughout the conference, “this is a war.”
And war it was, at least rhetorically. And there’s a rhetorical holocaust going on — at least according to the man who took the podium after Lively’s talk that morning.
Vlad Kusakin is a Russian-speaking immigrant and Sacramento resident. He’s the owner of the Speaker Media Group which publishes a Russian-language newspaper in Sacramento and San Francisco, and he appears on Russian-language talk radio in the Sacramento area. Kusakin is also one of the Watchmen founders.
Kusakin regaled the Riga audience with his account of all of the horrible things that were about to befall Californians since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 777 into law. That law simply adds non-discrimination protections to students based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and disability. But Kusakin’s reading of the law is much bleaker:
Many advocates in California have already expressed their views on this, and one of the comments by our partner, Randy Thomasson [of the Campaign for Children and Families -- ed.], is as follows: “Arnold Schwarzenegger has let Californian kids into the arms of the aggressors, and now in Californian schools during lessons there will be a real moral rape of all students from kindergarten (5 year olds) to 12th graders of high school”.
I also commented on this situation the same way. I made a statement and I confirm it now: “More than 60 years ago someone gave an order in the Nazi’s camps to burn the kids in the furnaces. More than 60 years have passed since then, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, by his signature, opened the same furnaces in all of the public schools in California in order to burn and exterminate our kids.”
I am sure it looks exactly like this, and it is precisely extermination — complete moral extermination.
Kusakin then went on with more of his reaction to SB 777, where he apparently reaches a point of helpless desperation:
I was speechless and couldn’t think. I could not digest this information. I could not accept or believe that it’s real. I prayed and fasted and God gave me a message which I’d like to share with you today. I’m tired of living as being defeated. And I want to know, why are we always losing in California? When your pastor [Ledyaev] came to Sacramento, I asked him the same question: why are we losing and you are winning?
… I wanted to know the answer: why are we losing? Why are we just reacting? Oh my God, they signed Bill 777, what do we do now? Make a protest? Do a signature drive? We should do something! It gets scary! And we are rushing from one corner to another while the devil is demonically laughing at us and the homosexuals, who think we are worthless, spit on us.
One thing that is clear in reviewing the videos from the Watchmen conference is that many of the speakers are behaving as though they are in a desperate siege. In fact, the very name of the Watchmen On the Walls refers to the Old Testament story from Nehemiah, in which watchmen were placed on the newly restored walls of a ruined Jerusalem following the Babylonian exile during the 6th century, BCE. Those watchmen were to keep a lookout against the many powerful enemies which sought to prevent Jerusalem’s restoration.
If the modern-day Watchmen’s rhetoric tells us anything, it is that they appear to see themselves as standing amongst the ruins of a latter-day Jerusalem while surrounded by diabolical enemies on all sides. And as with men described by Nehemiah, the Watchmen see themselves as men of action. Kusakin concluded by noting that a long term strategy is needed, and he held the example of California, the modern-day Babylon, as a warning:
Above all of God’s grace, I see the fact of my personal defeat, the defeat of my church, the defeat of Christianity in the land where I live, and I do not agree with this. And I want things to change.
And God spoke to me from this point of view; I am absolutely happy now with his answer. I am tired of being a man who is only reacting. I want to be a man who does something — and not just something, but something he knows and understands. I am not against protests, I am not against letters to the governor, I am not against public events, but now I know one thing. All that should be only a part of a thorough strategy for 30-50 years.
If the Church doesn’t have this strategy, any victories we might have today in Latvia, the Church will lose if it doesn’t have a strategy. If you stood firmly on your positions this year and last year and formed a particular attitude in society, and if there’s no correct strategy for 30, 50, 100 years ahead, we will lose here in Latvia just like we are losing in the USA.
If Kusakin’s warning about the dangers of homosexuality sounded dire, those worries were compounded that afternoon when Don Feder took the stage. Feder is the author of Who’s Afraid of the Religious Right? To give you an idea of what this man is about, he describes himself this way on his web site:
I’m to the right of [Ariel] Sharon on Zionism, to the right of Pat Buchanan on immigration and Americanism, to the right of Mother Angelica on abortion, to the right of Chuck Heston on Second-Amendment rights, and generally make the legendary Atilla look like a limousine liberal.
If any of this appeals to you, read on. If not, look elsewhere.
At least he has a sense of humor about himself, although none of that humor was on display at Riga. Instead, he gave a talk on what he calls the “demographic winter,” which he began by showing a trailer of a forthcoming documentary by the same name. According to Feder, declining birth rates threaten the very future of Western civilization. In fact, Don Feder called this the “most pressing crisis confronting the human race”:
It’s not global warming, it’s not terrorism, it’s not AIDS — it’s not enough children. Too few people are having children today. Population decline is very much a reality.
If that sounds like fiction, it is. In fact, Feder encouraged his audience to read the novel The Children of Men, by P.D. James to understand what he believes the future looks like. In James’ book, the world was struck with a world-wide infertility crisis, and no children had been born for the past twenty-five years. As Feder described James’ book, the world would no longer have baptisms or children playing, and adults would have mass suicides for the elderly and people would loose interest in sex because “sex no longer has an ultimate meaning.” He then spent several minutes dwelling on this book while claiming that life is imitating this particular science fiction, “but it’s happening so gradually that only a few people can see it.” Feder, however, is one of those few.
Feder’s talk was an often contradictory mishmash of half-baked economic and xenophobic theories. Immigrants are having more children than native-born Europeans, and this, Don Feder believes, is the genesis of a non-Christian takeover of Europe. The culprits of this generational suicide include birth control, abortion, later marriages because women are staying in school, Hollywood (which doesn’t portray large families but promotes a “live for a moment ethic”), cohabitation, and homosexual marriage (“the one union that can’t possible produce children!”).
So now it’s mid-afternoon, and the audience had already by this time heard Scott Lively’s account of the battle between the followers of “The God of Truth” against those who follow the “Father Of Lies.” And they heard Vlad Kusakin bemoan the fact that in America at least, his side is losing. Feder reinforced that message with his dark predictions for the collapse of Western Civilization due to its inability to have large families.
But the Watchmen aren’t all about complaining and moaning, not by a long shot. As Kusakin said, they are also about action. We’ll investigate some of what that action looks like later.
(Thanks to Ruslan Porshnev of the Russian LGBT web site Anti-Dogma, for generously providing the English translations of the Russian speakers at the conference. You can read more about his work here.)
The Watchmen In Riga, Part 1: “Become A Missionary To America”
The Watchmen In Riga, Part 2: From Babylon To Jerusalem
The Watchmen In Riga, Interlude: A Pastor’s Prayer
The Watchmen In Riga, Part 3: The “Secrets” Of Homosexuality
The Watchmen In Riga, Part 4: “A Militant Army Marching Against Evil”