Box Turtle Bulletin

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Posts for March, 2009

Lively Defends Forced Therapy Proposal

Jim Burroway

March 17th, 2009
Scott Lively speaking at a 2007 Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia

Scott Lively speaking at a 2007 Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia

Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively offered a defense of his proposal to compel Ugandan gays and lesbians into forced therapy:

And remember that homosexuality is literally illegal in this country. Imagine how bad things would be if the criminal law were abandoned. By the way, the false accusation against me, now circulating in the US, is that I called on the Ugandan government to force homosexuals into therapy. What I actually said is that the law against homosexuality should be liberalized to give arrestees the choice of therapy instead of imprisonment, similar to the therapy option I chose after being arrested for drunk driving in 1985 (during which time I accepted the Lord and was healed and transformed into a Christian activist). [Emphasis in the original]

Lively’s analogy is appalling. A conviction for drunk driving in any U.S. state is nothing like being convicted for homosexuality in Uganda, which carries a penalty of spending the remainder of one’s life in a dank Ugandan prison. And a “choice” between spending the rest of your life in that cold, dark cell and undergoing an unproven, unregulated therapy is not a choice. Lively can dress it up all he wants, but forced therapy is forced therapy.

Exodus International waited nearly a week before announcing that they no longer support the criminalization of homosexuality or forcing people into therapy. We are still waiting for Exodus to explicitly denounce Scott Lively after Exodus board member lent his credibility to Lively’s proposal at the Ugandan conference while remaining silent in Uganda over this proposal.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Applauds Schmierer’s Part in Uganda Conference

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2009

The Christian Post has an article today in which Warren Throckmorton was critical of the carelessness with which ex-gay ministries approached the conference in Uganda:

“It is illegal to be homosexual in Uganda. There’s also a category of homosexuality (act) that has a potential for life imprisonment,” said Throckmorton to The Christian Post on Wednesday. “How often it is enforced is not clear.”

“I think it’s inappropriate to try to transplant American concepts of ex-gay ministry into an environment where you can’t even go in and open yourself up to that kind of disclosure without some kind of risk,” he said.

But Alan Chambers, President of Exodus, was not apologetic.

In response, Exodus International said it applauds its board member Don Schmierer, who attended the Uganda conference, for his effort to convey an “alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality,” according to a statement by Exodus International president Alan Chambers to The Christian Post on Wednesday.

Exodus says neither Schmierer nor the ministry agrees or endorses Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality law, imprisonment of homosexuals or compulsory therapy. Rather, the ministry says it “unequivocally denounces” the positions the government of Uganda has towards homosexuality.

We do not yet have the full text of the statement. But to be perfectly honest, my stomach turned when I read this.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

South African LGBT Advocates Condemn Exodus

Jim Burroway

March 12th, 2009

The South African Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) have added their voices over the Exodus International board member Don Schmierer’s participation at the anti-gay conference alongside Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively in Kampala Uganda. Here is SA GLAAD’s press release, sent out via email [emphases in the original]:

SA GLAAD hereby expresses its solidarity and support for American GLBT advocacy groups who yesterday berated the anti-gay group Exodus International for its public involvement and support of those who are responsible for vigilante violence and state-sanctioned persecution of gays, lesbians and trans people in Uganda.

SA GLAAD wholeheartedly supports the initiative of the coalition of Truth Wins Out (TWO), Ex-Gay Watch, and Box Turtle Bulletin in their confrontation of these homophobic groups – and in particular Exodus International which is the largest homophobic anti-GLBT US group.

For a decade or longer, GLBT refugees have been fleeing Uganda to escape violence and persecution. Police arrest and torture suspected GLBT and activists fear for their lives. The mistaken belief that gay people “recruit” is widespread in Uganda. Tabloid newspapers regularly publish pictures of suspected GLBT with details allowing people to identify them and even to target them. Rampant religious fundamentalism is seen to lie at the root of this problem.

In a letter to Exodus released yesterday, the coalition declared:

“We, the undersigned organizations, have monitored the ex-gay industry for more than a decade. To our great horror, prominent members of the ex-gay organization Exodus International participated last week in a conference in Uganda that promoted shocking abuses of basic human rights. This included draconian measures against gay and lesbian people such as forced ex-gay therapy, life imprisonment for people convicted of homosexuality and the formation of an organization designed to “wipe out” gay practices in Uganda. The conference also featured Scott Lively, a Holocaust revisionist who at the event also blamed the 1994 Rwandan genocide on gay people.”

Lively is a co-author of “the Pink Swastika” – a discredited book which is aimed solely at vilifying GLBT.

At the conference held last week in Uganda, Exodus International representatives witnessed calls and incitement by political and religious personalities to human rights abuses in resounding silence. Not only did they not object, but instead they simply added fuel to the fires of hate. The GLBT coalition groups point out “The facts incontrovertibly show that Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, was aware of the list of speakers and abhorrent content prior to the conference. Exodus board member Don Schmierer, who spoke in Uganda, made no objections to the radical and dangerous platform offered. Instead, these mortal threats to the lives of gay and lesbian people were met with a deafening silence. Exodus, in effect, gave this insidious conference its tacit approval.”

“Alan Chambers has shown a serious lack of leadership by allowing Exodus to become part of such a horrible event,” said David Roberts, Editor of Ex-Gay Watch. “The participation of board member Don Schmierer in the Ugandan anti-gay conference undermines any credibility they may have had, and puts them right in the middle of serious human rights abuses. What on earth were they thinking?”

On March 4, a day before the event, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemned the seminar which was clearly designed to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Ugandans under the cloak of religion. The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opened March 5, featured an array of U.S. speakers known for their efforts to dehumanize LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be “cured.” The seminar was hosted by the by Family Life Network (FLN), a Ugandan non-governmental organization founded in 2002 which claims to be committed to the “restoration of Ugandan family values and morals”. In the run-up to this three day conference, IGLHRC’s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson in an interview said “The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa. This seminar will increase violence and other human rights abuses against LGBT people, women and anyone who doesn’t conform to gender norms. This newest form of colonialism is deplorable and must be stopped.”

In a press release last week, IGLHRC said “the US religious right has a history of exporting homophobia to Africa. With support from anti-gay organizations and faith leaders such as Family Watch International and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Pastor Martin Ssempa from Makerere Community Church has attacked not only gay men and lesbians, but also women’s rights and HIV activism. Pastor Ssempa has stated, “there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country.” In 2007, he organized a multi-denominational rally against LGBT rights in Kampala, where one cleric called for the “starving to death of homosexuals.”

SA GLAAD has been warning of foreign involvement and influence in the worrying spread of African homophobia for quite some time – and as such this blatant public involvement and support for the tragic human rights atrocities in Uganda of people like Alan Chambers, Don Schmierer and Scott Lively, has vindicated us. It has shown by its own hand that the US religious right – heavily complicit in the US ex-gay movement – has extended its influence around the world, and also revealed the true nature of the beast. SA GLAAD has also noted the complete absence of comment by the SA government on the human rights abuses in Uganda and other African countries and also other failures on their part in terms of supporting GLBT rights on the world stage, namely its refusal to sign the UN Declaration on decriminalization of homosexuality late last year.

There are ex-gay groups right here in South Africa, spreading lies, hate and self-loathing against the GLBT community under a mantle of respectability while claiming authority based on what is no more than discredited and fraudulent pseudo-science, crackpot religious fundamentalism and internalized homophobia. Most are organizations based in the Cape Town area, with clear affiliations to US groups, such as NARTH and Exodus to name but two.

SA GLAAD therefore also affirms its position on the so-called “ex-gay” movement by announcing its intention to disseminate the truth about these insidious organizations taking root in South Africa, and making known the threat they pose to innocent lives, as far as it will go.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Ugandan Conference Leaders Call For Another Meeting While Pushing Pedophilia Theme; Exodus Continues Silence

Jim Burroway

March 12th, 2009

Ugandan media is reporting the results of the anti-gay Conference held last weekend in Uganda:

Family Life Network and other stakeholders last week organized a seminar and series of meetings on the subject of homosexuality. The Executive Director of Family Life Network Stephen Langa, participants received shocking and worrying revelations about the level of defilement and recruitment of school boys and girls into homosexuality and lesbianism.

Langa says in a statement that some parents asked if there is any safe school in Uganda, given the level of immorality and organized rackets in schools. According to the statement from the workshop, the information available indicates that both day schools and boarding schools are affected by this vice.

It says that during the seminars, it has come to light that organized homosexual/lesbian groups are using money to entice their victims and are encouraging the victims to recruit their fellow students in schools. As such, Langa, also a panelist on Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), says that his organization in conjunction with other stakeholders unanimously agreed to hold a parents’ consultative meeting be held as a matter of urgency.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

This “urgent” meeting will take place on March 15. Uganda has a history of media-led vigilante campaigns, having witnessed at least three such campaigns between 2005 and 2007. Previous campaigns have also deployed the “gay recruitment” theme as part of their rhetoric. The re-appearance of this rhetoric in Ugandan media coupled with an announced meeting of concerned parents and citizens is worrying.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the conference in Kampala

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the conference in Kampala

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer spoke at that conference. Conference leaders voiced support for Uganda’s legal ban on homosexuality, which provides for a life sentence for those convicted. The conference announced that they sought to strengthen that ban by requiring convicted gays and lesbians to undergo ex-gay therapy. When asked about social issues, Schmierer recommended “other facilitators [who] would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural,” including noted Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively.

BTB’s Timothy Kincaid first contacted Exodus International about Don Schmierer’s participation in that conference on February 27, a week before the conference’s start. That was met with silence. Yesterday, representatives of Truth Wins Out, Ex-Gay Watch, and BTB released an open letter to the Exodus board calling on Exodus to clearly state its position on criminalization of homosexuality and forced therapy, remove Don Schmierer from the board of directors, and denounce Holocaust revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively. It also calls for Alan Chamber’s resignation. So far, there has been no response from Exodus on any of these points.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Open Letter To the Exodus International Board of Directors

Jim Burroway

March 11th, 2009

We’ve been following with great alarm the participation of Exodus International board member Don Schmierer in an anti-gay Conference in Uganda this past weekend. (Our coverage began here.) We aren’t alone in our concerns. Today, I join Ex-Gay Watch’s David Roberts and Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen and Michael Airhart in calling for swift action by the Exodus Board of Directors. Our open letter to the Exodus board is below.

I signed this letter because I believe that as we watched events unfold over the past week, we saw the Exodus leadership cross a line they hadn’t crossed before. The repugnant nature of Schmierer’s associations and actions go beyond anything we’ve seen from a supposedly mainstream advocacy organization. Calling for Alan Chambers’ resignation may seem like a strong response, but I assure you I did not come to this lightly. Longtime readers will know that I am not in the habit of demanding resignations. In fact, it’s not something I’ve ever done before. But watching these disturbing events unfold — and in consideration for the safety of LGBT citizens in Uganda and elsewhere — there must be strict and swift accountability for what happened. Otherwise the very name of Exodus will have taken on a whole new meaning.

That said, I should point out that I signed this letter in my role as editor of this web site, but I did not sign it on behalf of any other writers of Box Turtle Bulletin. That means the usual cautions apply: this letter may or may not necessarily represent the opinions of other writers at this web site. But it most certainly represents mine.


Open letter to the Exodus International Board of Directors:

We, the undersigned organizations, have monitored the ex-gay industry for more than a decade. To our great horror, prominent members of the ex-gay organization Exodus International participated last week in a conference in Uganda that promoted shocking abuses of basic human rights. This included draconian measures against gay and lesbian people such as forced ex-gay therapy, life imprisonment for people convicted of homosexuality and the formation of an organization designed to “wipe out” gay practices in Uganda. The conference also featured Scott Lively, a holocaust revisionist who at the event also blamed the 1994 Rwandan genocide on gay people.

The facts incontrovertibly show that Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, was aware of the list of speakers and abhorrent content prior to the conference. Exodus board member Don Schmierer, who spoke in Uganda, made no objections to the radical and dangerous platform offered. Instead, these mortal threats to the lives of gay and lesbian people were met with a deafening silence. Exodus, in effect, gave this insidious conference its tacit approval.

Today, we take the unprecedented step of joining together to demand that Exodus International’s Board of Directors take immediate action to hold accountable those who used the Exodus brand to promote an atmosphere conducive to serious human rights abuses. The accountability must begin with reasonable and responsible action by Board Chair Bob Ragan, including:

  • Dismissing Exodus President Alan Chambers for his knowing role in using Exodus to promote human rights abuses
  • Removing Board member Don Schmierer for speaking at a hate conference that promotes physical harm and psychological torture against GLBT people
  • Boldly articulating Exodus’ policy against human rights abuses including forced therapy
  • Promising to end future participation in all conferences that call on the persecution and criminalization of gay and lesbian people

We do not take this call to action lightly. These steps are necessary and commensurate with the massive breach of ethics and trust by the Exodus leadership. Clearly, Exodus has lost credibility and its claim to “love” gay people in the aftermath of Uganda seems duplicitous and insincere. As long as Chambers and Schmierer remain at Exodus, the organization is hopelessly compromised and even complicit in grave human rights abuses. It is time for the Exodus Board, led by Bob Ragan, to assert its moral authority by appointing new leadership and taking the organization in a more humane and principled direction.

Sincerely,

Jim Burroway                                 David Roberts
Box Turtle Bulletin                          Ex-Gay Watch

Wayne Besen                                 Mike Airhart
Truth Wins Out                               Truth Wins Out


The documentation implicating Exodus leaders for their participation at a hate conference in Uganda is robust and powerful. Most important, it is guided by indisputable facts:

The Case
Don Schmierer is a member of the board of directors for Exodus International. Last weekend, he used those credentials while speaking at an anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda alongside noted Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. Those credentials as a leader of American’s largest and most influential ex-gay organization gave Schmierer the ability to speak authoritatively about the policies and ethics of sexual reorientation therapy. And more broadly, his presence as a leader of Exodus International lent credibility to the other speakers at the conference and the policy recommendations that emerged.

And so with Exodus International’s prestige fully utilized, we were outraged to discover that the conference was a forum for some of the most despicable statements and recommendations we have ever come across. During this conference we heard:

  • Gays blamed for the rise of Nazism in Germany. According to one eyewitness, Lively spoke extensively about his revisionist version of Nazi history, based on his book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. In that book and in speeches, he claims that Nazi movement was, at its core, a homosexual movement. Despite the historical record to the contrary, Lively blames gays for the rise of Nazism and for the Holocaust itself, and claims that “the connection between homosexualism and fascism is not incidental.”
  • Gays blamed for the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Lively often claims that wherever gays gain the upper hand, they unleash a murderous rampage on innocent populations. In The Pink Swastika, Lively claims that “homosexuals are responsible for 68% of all mass murders in America.” According to one eyewitness at the Kampala conference, he extended that charge by blaming gay men for the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda, which borders Uganda just to the south.
  • Gays blamed for recruiting/molesting children. In line with a common slander deployed by Ugandan anti-gay extremists in recent campaigns of anti-gay vigilantism and violence, Lively claimed that the gay rights movement consists of an entire network trying to recruit young children, including “predatory homosexuals who are always out to satisfy their sexual desires.”
  • Parents blamed for their children’s homosexuality. Don Schmierer presented his contradictory list of fourteen “signs that an adolescent may be struggling with gender issues.” But his focus appeared to have been on one suggested cause: it’s the parent’s fault. One eyewitness said, “He told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good upbringing” in families. In other words, good parents make straight children; bad parents, gay children.
  • Calls for new laws enacted in Uganda to require that those convicted of homosexuality be forced to undergo sexual reorientation therapy. The law in Uganda currently calls for a life sentence upon conviction for homosexuality. As far as we have been able to tell, no one at the conference called for decriminalization of homosexuality, nor a reduction in the current penalties. Instead, there were calls to strengthen the law to add the requirement that convicted gays be forced to endure unregulated and unproven therapies, under duress and against their will.
  • Announcement of a new organization designed to “‘wipe out’ gay practices” in Uganda. It is unclear what form or tactics this new organization will take, but another follow-up meeting was called for March 15. Our fear is that this will lead to another round of officially sanctioned extrajudicial anti-gay vigilantism, with Ugandan media — as they did in previous campaigns — publicly identifying private LGBT citizens and calling for their arrest or worse.

Given Uganda’s recent history, this is no idle fear. There were at least three successive public anti-gay campaigns in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In the most recent campaign, government-affiliated newspapers published articles identifying specific individuals with physical descriptions, addresses, places of employment — even photos — of those targeted, making them easily identifiable to neighbors, family members, employers, and the police.

Watching this unfold with the active participation of an Exodus board member has left us concerned with the direction that Exodus is taking. Some of us contacted Exodus president Alan Chambers on Friday, February 27 to raise our concerns about Schmierer’s participation alongside a Holocaust revisionist at this conference. We did this even though we do not believe it is the responsibility of Exodus’ critics to inform Exodus about the activities of an Exodus leader.

Chambers is not just the President of Exodus International, he’s also a fellow board member with Don Schmierer. He, along with board chairman Bob Ragan, had plenty of time to contact Schmierer to demand that he withdraw from the conference. (They do have cell phones, SMS text messages and email in Uganda, especially at the luxurious four-star Hotel Triangle in Kampala where the conference took place.) Chambers also had plenty of time of time to publicly articulate Exodus’ policy on forced conversions and criminalization of homosexuality, two subjects which are not new to the controversies surrounding ex-gay ministries. And he had plenty of time to clarify Exodus’ position on Scott Lively’s Holocaust revisionism and to denounce Lively’s dangerous rhetoric. But in all of this, Chambers has remained silent.

Don Schmierer, as a board member — and as one who was identified at the conference under those very credentials — could have spoken out against the excesses of anti-gay violence that has marked Uganda’s history. He could have spoken out against criminalization of homosexuality and denounced the policy recommendation of forced conversion therapy against the will of the individual being “treated.” Schmierer could have denounced Lively’s rabid anti-gay extremism, historical revisionism, and dangerous scapegoating. But in all of this, Schmierer has remained silent.

And the board, particularly Board Chairman Bob Ragan, could have exercised is oversight responsibility to ensure that Exodus’ name and reputation remain unsullied by its association with Scott Lively and the Uganda conference.

Exodus serves as an umbrella organization of some two hundred ex-gay ministries, each of which, according to Exodus, is “an independent organization which has met Exodus’ criteria for membership.” If Exodus is unable to regulate the actions of its own board member, how can we expect Exodus to monitor the practices and qualifications of their member ministries?

Despite informing Exodus of our concerns on February 27, they have remained silent on Schmierer’s association with Scott Lively, as well as their own links to him. And with the passage of each day, as we’ve received more reports about the conference, our concerns have grown to outrage.

It is not the first time forced therapy has become an issue with Exodus International. This issue was raised in 2005 when “Zach”, a 16-year-old gay teen, was forced against his will to attend an eight-week ex-gay therapy program at Exodus-affiliated Love In Action in Memphis. That same year, another father drove his 17-year-old son to Love In Action in handcuffs. Despite all this, Love In Action remains one of Exodus’ most prominent member ministries. Today, the calls for enshrining forced therapy into Ugandan law has been met with silence at Exodus. We call upon Exodus once and for all to address the morality of forcing people into unregulated and unproven therapies against their will.

Laws banning private consensual relationships between adult same-sex couples are no longer in force in the United States. While this is settled law in this country, it is not a settled position among most anti-LGBT organizations. Furthermore, criminalization of private, consensual relationships remain a reality in many countries throughout the world, many of which provide harsh, draconian penalties upon conviction. As Exodus International engages in ex-gay movements around the world, we call upon Exodus once and for all to address the morality of punishing private adult consensual relationships.

Because of Schmierer’s actions, Exodus International will bear responsibility for any renewed convulsions of violence that may arise in the aftermath of this conference. Given the highly volatile history of anti-LGBT vigilantism in Uganda, we find Schmierer’s actions there appallingly reckless and irresponsible. Lives and the well being of many Ugandans may well be at stake in the weeks and months to come. Because of the danger that Schmierer’s actions may pose to citizens of that volatile nation, we call upon the Board of Directors of Exodus International to remove Don Schmierer from the Board of Directors.

Scott Lively, along with another of Alan Chambers’ “good friends”, Seattle pastor Ken Hutcherson, is a co-founder of Watchmen On the Walls, one of twelve anti-gay hate groups identified and tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Incidentally, Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries is also listed by the SPLC as a hate group. While speaking at a Watchmen conference in Novosibirsk, Russia, in 2007, Lively excused the murder of Satendar Singh, a gay immigrant from Fiji who was killed in an anti-gay hate crime in Sacramento. We call upon the Board of Directors of Exodus International to resolutely and unambiguously denounce Scott Lively’s dangerous rhetoric. We further call upon the Board to end future participation in all conferences that call on the persecution and criminalization of gay and lesbian people.

It is clear that that Exodus under the leadership of Alan Chambers has failed to live up to its claim of challenging “those who respond to homosexuals with ignorance and fear.” The Board must take swift action and remove Chambers as its leader. If the Exodus Board fails to act, it bears culpability and full responsibility for creating a climate where hate crimes can and do occur both at home and abroad.


Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference

Jim Burroway

March 9th, 2009

A European Parliament intergroup has issued a press release condemning the Ugandan anti-gay conference, and called out the three Americans by name:

European Parliament’s Intergroup condemns Ugandan parliamentarians for meeting anti-human rights militants.
European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights strongly condemns the meeting of 5 March between several Ugandan parliamentarians and Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Stephen Langa of the USA and Uganda-based groups working to diminish human rights of LGBT persons.

“It is very sad that representatives of Ugandan parliament who should work for the rights of every Ugandan citizen, gravely discredit themselves by meeting people who work to spread hate and diminish rights of other human beings”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “It would never be acceptable for any member of the European Parliament to meet for example representatives of Ku Klux Klan thus I do not understand the rational of those Ugandan parliamentarians who agreed to the meeting with anti-gay militants.”

Raúl Romeva, Vice-President of the Intergroup for the GREENS/EFA added, “If these Ugandan parliamentarians are serious about respecting the constitution of their country and in particular Chapter 4 on Protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms, they should instead be working towards abolishing those discriminatory laws of Uganda which still deny full human rights to gay and lesbian citizens.”

Don Schmierer is a board member of Exodus International. This is the first time that I’m aware of that an activity by an Exodus board member has earned the condemnation of an official governmental committee. Today marks the tenth day since we made Exodus president Alan Chambers aware of the actions of a board member. We still hear nothing but silence from Exodus.

[Hat tip: Andy at UK Gay News]

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Three — Gays Blamed For Rwandan Genocide & Pedophilia; More Exodus Ties To Holocaust Revisionism

Jim Burroway

March 8th, 2009

Extensive Updates (March 9): Those who read this post yesterday are urged to read it again today. We have more details about Lively’s comments at the conference, namely his claim which equate homosexuality with pedophilia, as well as conference leaders’ views on Ugandan law which currently provides for a life sentence on conviction of homosexual acts.  Those details have been added below.

According to anonymous blogger GayUganda — as we said, Ugandan gay bloggers need to remain anonymous for their own safety — American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively provided the much-anticipated red meat on day three of the anti-gay conference taking place in Kampala.

On Saturday, Lively repeated his discredited historical revisionist theory in which he claims that the cornerstone of  Germany’s Nazi lies firmly in the gay movement, and that the gay movement today, if left unchecked, will result in a similarly murderous fascism wherever it goes. In Kampala, he went further by expanding his examples of what he calls homosexuals’ murderous impulse by blaming the 1994 Rwanda genocide on gay men.

Lively is one of three Americans speaking at that conference, along with Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and a relative unknown Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. Brudidge is also a member of Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries, where he goes around to area mortuaries trying to raise the dead. On the second day of the conference, leaders called for a new Ugandan law mandating ex-gay therapy for convicted gay men and women, in  addition to the current maximum life sentence upon conviction of of homosexuality.

Scott Lively’s Pink Swastika
To understand Lively’s demented assertions, it’s important to read his book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, In it, he contends that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” A brief outline of his book is presented on the LeadershipU web site. His book is also available for free online in its entirety, and it was also offered for sale at the Uganda conference, with Lively referring to it throughout his talk.

The essence of Lively’s thesis is this: The Nazi party’s idealized view of masculinity was a significant draw to “butch” homosexuals. He cites as his principle evidence the rumored homosexuality of Ernst Roehm, the leader of the early Nazi paramilitary group known as the Brownshirts. Lively claims the Brownshirts trace their origins to the Wandervogel youth movements, which he says was “dominated and controlled by the pederasts… and its leadership was rife with homosexuality.” Lively also claims that Adolph Hitler was probably gay and a homosexual prostitute while in Vienna (the unsubstantiated phrases like “probably homosexual,” “almost certainly homosexual”, “may well have been homosexual,” and “it is assumed” pop up with astonishing regularity in his book) — while elsewhere say Lively concludes that Hitler was “probably not” gay. But in either case, he concluded that Hitler “knowingly and intentionally surrounded himself with practicing homosexuals from his youth.”

Lively adds that “There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust,” saying that German gays were eager to target Jews for extinction because of Judaism’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality. He doesn’t explain why Christianity’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality — which held a far greater moral influence throughout Europe — was ignored.

As for the estimated 15,000 gay men who were sent to concentration camps under Germany’s notorious Paragraph 175, Lively contends that the Nazis almost never used the law against actual gay men (the law was silent on lesbians), claiming that most of those who were convicted weren’t gay, but political enemies. Or if they were gay, then it was because they were effeminate. He writes, “There is evidence to suggest that only the effeminate homosexuals were mistreated under the Nazi regime — and usually at the hands of masculine homosexuals.” In fact, Lively is very fascinated by what he considers “the enduring Butch/Femme conflict among German homosexuals.”

The very few historians who have bothered to take his book seriously have dismissed it out of hand. They point out that most of Lively’s source material comes from Nazi political opponents, and that it was a common practice in Germany’s political culture to charge that one’s political opponents were overrun by homosexuals. Before coming to power, Nazis themselves used this tactics against the Wiemar Republic as well as against their Bolshevik and Socialist opponents. And they weren’t alone. Social Democrats, Conservatives, Bolsheviks, Socialists, Liberals and Centrists all used the same charges against the Nazis, as well as against each other, often with little or no reality behind the charges.

Lively however used only one set of those charges — those against the Nazis — and ignored the political context to maintain that the Nazis were overrun with homosexuals, specifically “Butch” gay men. He only raises the specter of “baseless charges” when discussing the evidence that the Nazis themselves persecuted gays throughout their reign of terror.

Lively’s book also goes beyond Nazi Germany, claiming that Nazis’ murderous tendencies wasn’t an aberration of homosexuals’ power, but a natural consequence of it. “From the ashes of Nazi Germany,” he writes, “the homo-fascist Phoenix has arisen again — this time in the United States.” He claims that “eight of the top ten serial killers in the United States were homosexual, and that homosexuals were responsible for 68% of all mass murders.”

Macho Gay Men and the Rwandan Genocide
Lively has a way of throwing red meat to the crowd wherever he speaks. When he spoke in Novosibirsk, Russia in 2007, Lively excused the murder of Satendar Singh in Sacramento, a 19-year-old gay Fiji man who was murdered by Russian immigrants. The Russian audience broke into cheers and applause as Lively described Singh’s murder.

At his talk in Uganda, Lively added a new twist, blaming the 1994 Rwanda genocide on gay men.The anonymous blogger GayUganda attended the conference and listened in horror:

He [Lively] is a Conspiration Theorist. A person who forms a theory on causation, and then goes ahead to wrap all perception of his world around that theory. His theory explains all perceptions. Whether it is the gay agenda wrapped in the Nazi supremacy, or the macho gay men who caused the Rwanda Genocide. Anything that seems to question his theory is attacked, dismissed, irrelevant. And, if you dont believe him, you are of a reprobate mind, or you are a closet homosexual following the Homosexual agenda.

No. I am not joking. (I wish I was)

Gays and Pedophilia
The Rwandan Genocide wasn’t the only red meat that Lively threw out at the conference. A blogger with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) reports:

The gay movement has capitalized on teenagers with same-sex attraction, sending messages urging them to act on their impulses. Teenagers indulge in sex and then they get hooked.

Equating homosexuality with pedophilia, Lively argued that there is a whole network trying to keep young people in the movement, including “predatory homosexuals who are always out to satisfy their sexual desires.”

This is very much in line with the charges that local Ugandan anti-gay extremists have made during previous acts of anti-gay vigilantism, when private LGBT Ugandan citizens were identified in the media with calls for their arrest or worse. When people like Scott Lively make claims like this, it goes straight to the worst fears that uninformed people have about gay people, despite the fact that social-science research clearly demonstrates gays are no more likely to molest children than straights.

But this slander has been effective in Uganda, forming one principle foundation for much of the public anti-gay vigilantism that Uganda has witnessed over the past several years. Stephen Langa, of Kampala-based Family Life Network and organizer of the conference, was quoted as far back as 2004 as saying:

FLN has also found out that homosexuality and lesbianism are spreading like wild fire in schools,” Langa said.  “There is rape inside schools and sex among students themselves. We have also found incest and cases of teachers molesting children and a lot of abortions,” he added.  Much of the promiscuity is germinating from viewing pornography in the media and the Internet and blue movies.  “If nothing is done to address the present state of affairs, the present generation of parents will find themselves having to bury their children instead of their children burying them,” Langa stressed.

Conference leaders and Ugandan Law
Lively was asked about the current state of Ugandan law, which provides for a life sentence for homosexuality. Lively reportedly approved of the existing law, and endorsed adding a provision mandating forcing convicted gay men and women into ex-gay therapy. Conference speakers had called for such a law on the second day of the conference.

According to another report, Lively made the utterly unsupported claim that until “the gays took over the clinics” there were very effective treatments for homosexuality. In fact, there has never been any independent evidence based on long-term followup reviews to suggest that attempts to change sexual orientation have ever been “very effective,” or even anything more than minimally so.

Another report had this comment on the conference participants view of Ugandan law:

At the end of the day, all the international presenters at the seminar commended Ugandans for taking a strong stand against homosexuality through their constitution, which criminalizes homosexuality, as well as through efforts like conferences that encourage parents and concerned citizens to come up with strategies against homosexuality.

Adding more fuel to the fire, GayUganda had earlier noticed that this apparent press release was posted on The Earth Times:

Kampala Anti-gay activists in Uganda Saturday formed a pressure group to discourage homosexuality, following a two-day conference of religious leaders, teachers and social workers in the capital Kampala.

The group, to be called the Anti-Gay Task Force, is intended to “fight against the spread of homosexuality and lesbianism in the country,” spokesman for the group Stephen Langa told reporters. Same sex-relationships and marriages are illegal in Uganda, and human rights groups have criticized the government for harassing homosexuals.

The task-force said that it would one day “wipe out” gay practices in the African state.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

The task force to “‘wipe out’ gay practices” was discussed again at the conference on Saturday, and conference organizers have called for a followup meeting in Kampala on March 15.

The threat to “‘wipe out’ gay practices” is not an idle threat in a nation that provides a life sentence for those convicted of homosexuality. Further, Uganda witnessed at least three separate campaigns of government sanctioned and media-led vigilantism between 2005 and 2007. The last spate of violence was sparked by a press conference of LGBT leaders calling on the nation to simply allow gays and lesbians to live in peace. The LGBT leaders at that press conference wore face masks out of fear of being identified.

This conference poses a very dangerous development in a country with such a volatile history in how it treats gays and lesbians.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the conference in Kampala

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, one of three American speakers at the Kampala conference.

Exodus International’s Links To Scott Lively
This is the volatile environment that Exodus Board member Don Schmierer decided to join. Schmierer, who spoke during the first two days of the conference, is arguably most qualified person at the conference to speak on the ethics of forced conversions and criminalization of homosexuality. Media reports in Uganda and elsewhere have consistently identified him as being a member of Exodus’ board, and so when he speaks and acts, it is seen as being on behalf of Exodus International.

Schmierer’s participation at that conference, absent any other statement from Exodus’ board and leadership, appears to constitute at least an implicit endorsement of that policy, if not overt endorsement. It has been nine days since we contacted Exodus International President Alan Chambers to ask for a statement on Schmierer’s participation. We know Alan Chambers received our email because two days later he replied with a very brief and insubstantial off-the-record email. He has yet to offer any explanation for Schmierer’s actions or Exodus policy on the record.

Schmierer isn’t the only link between Exodus International and Scott Lively. In fact, there’s a literal one right there on Exodus’ web site. Exodus International maintains an extensive library of online articles. In the Exodus library, under the topic of “society”, the Exodus web page maintains a link to Scott Lively’s LeadershipU post based on “The Pink Swastika.” The link from Exodus contains this blurb:

Homosexuality and the Nazi Party
The pink triangle, symbol of the “gay rights” movement, is familiar to many Americans. As the badge used by the Nazis to designate homosexuals in the concentration camps, the pink triangle perfectly expresses the message of “gay rights.”

Exodus website featuring Scott Lively's article, "Homosexuality and the Nazi Party" (excerpt highlighted, click to enlarge)

Exodus website featuring link to Scott Lively’s article “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” (Article and blurb highlighted. Click to enlarge.)

With such a direct link to Lively’s article on the Exodus International web site, Exodus gives its endorsement to Lively’s discredited historical theories. That approval is strengthened with the Exodus board member’s participation alongside Lively in Uganda, as they call for forced conversions and blame the Rwandan massacre on gay men. This is particularly dangerous in an environment where gays and lesbians have been hunted, tortured, and forced into hiding during several spates of officially-sanctioned and media-led vigilantism — the very same dynamics, ironically, which led to the Rwandan genocide.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Two

Jim Burroway

March 6th, 2009
Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

The Uganda anti-gay conference continues for a second day, with no further explanation on conference leaders’ endorsement of a parliamentarian proposal to upgrade Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law to include forced “therapy” on those who are convicted. Ugandan law already provides for a life sentence on conviction.

Exodus board member Don Schmierer has been a highly visible speaker at that conference. We contacted Exodus International President Alan Chambers expressing our concerns and seeking his comment a week ago, but his response was off the record and noncommittal. With Schmierer speaking at that conference for a second day — and as all accounts of that conference repeatedly identify him as an Exodus International board member — we eagerly await an official policy pronouncement from Exodus International on whether they support criminalization of homosexuality and the forced “conversions” of convicted gays and lesbians.

The blog of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) continues its coverage of the Uganda conference. Schmierer was again the featured speaker for the morning session. Kasha Jacqueline was there, and relayed her observations to IGLHRC blogger Victor Mukasa:

The facilitators for the first half of the day were still members of the Ugandan organization Family Life Network, together with Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International.

The workshop started with a recap of the first day of the conference. Participants were asked to share what they had learned or what captured their attention. Kasha Jacqueline told me that the first participant had nothing else to say except, “Homosexuals are sick and dangerous.” In response, she raised her hand and asked, “What disease was discovered yesterday that you claim they are suffering from?”

After someone claimed that homosexuality is unnatural, Kasha asked, “Who decides what is natural?” Schmierer responded directly to the second question saying that his role at the workshop involves teaching about family values; other facilitators would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural later in the conference. For the rest of the morning, Schmierer continued with his teachings on family values and how to manage children in the family.

I would presume that when Schmierer pointed to “other facilitators [who] would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural,” he’s referring to Scott Lively, a co-founder of virulent anti-gay extremist group Watchmen On the Walls and author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” At a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia in 2007, Lively claimed that gays were evil “followers of the Father of Lies.” He further described gays as being “sick,” claiming that gays don’t really want to be gay but are trapped in the grip of a militant homosexual leadership. Earlier that year, Lively excused the anti-gay hate crime murder of Satendar Singh before an audience in Novosibirsk, Russia.

The IGHRC notes that a film was shown just before lunch featuring American ex-gays:

A film was shown during the session before lunch featuring “ex-gay” Americans testifying about how they were “cured” of homosexuality. All described abuse and violence in their families during childhood and poor relationships with one of their parents. All were “born again Christians” who had “healed” from homosexuality.

Participants were shocked to hear such testimonies for the first time. They asked questions like, “How long does it take for one to heal from homosexuality?” and “Does it hurt?” One of the “ex-homosexuals” on the film testified that he had a poor relationship with his father. This led him to wanting to be with men looking for a father’s love. After the film one participant asked, “If he was looking for a father’s love from men, how did those relationships turn sexual? Would he have become sexual with his own father had they had a good relationship?”

There are two possible films which may fit this description. One is the 2004 film “I Do Exist.” That one features Noé Gutierrez, who has since denounced the ex-gay movement and says that he is no longer ex-gay. An earlier film, “It’s Not Gay,”features Michael Johnston, who then headed Karuso Ministries. That film came out in 2000. In 2003, Johnston was forced to shut down his ministry after it was discovered that he had been hosting orgies with other men, taking drugs, and practicing unsafe sex without disclosing his HIV seropositive status. The American Family Association still sells “It’s Not Gay,” desipte Johnston’s very public downfall. There are very few ex-gay films, and I can’t think of any others which fit this description off hand. I’m trying to find out more about it, and will pass along what I’ve learned.

[Update: Another, perhaps more likely possibility for the film is the 2006 "Homosexuality 101," which was produced by NARTH president Julie Harren. It features Alan Chambers, Julie Harren, Mike Ensley (recently laid off as  Exodus Youth Analyst), Christine Sneeringer (head of Exodus-affiliated New Creations Ministry), and Jack Harren (Director of West Palm Beach, Florida's Family Ties ministry and, at that time, head of a local PFOX chapter). Of the three films, "Homoseuxality 101"  is the only one being sold by Exodus.]

The conference’s afternoon session was given over to Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries, where he goes around to area mortuaries trying to raise the dead. So far, he reports no successes, which no doubt approximates his success rate as a counselor for Cohen’s hug-and-cuddle cures for homosexuality. His presentation at Kampala appears to have been similarly unimpressive:

An LGBTI activist told me that Caleb was contradicting himself. “First he testified that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father. Later, when a participant noted that there are a lot of homosexuals that she knows that come from great families and have good relationships with their parents, Caleb interjected and said that he had a great relationship with his father. That was contradictory!”

GayUganda sums up the mode of the conference:

[Stephen] Langa was the first to take the floor. A harangue. Uganda is going into total moral collapse. It is worse and more serious than economic collapse. Soon, the world will turn inside out and upside down, and homosexuals will be presidents….! You get the gist, hey? Rallying up the troops. Making sure that people get the message.

Don [Schmierer] handles prevention of homosexuality. Lee [Brundidge] is the ex-gay, and Scot [Lively] is the guy who handles advocacy. And Langa rallies everyone up. In apocalyptic, fire and brimstone terms. Question- it gets old when I am blamed for the worlds ills. So, thanks, but no thanks. And by the way, volunteers wanted for the formation of Homosexual Prevention Clubs in Uganda. Any takers?

…And he [Brundidge] then went ahead and described the steps to take in the Reparative Therapy. Much counseling, touching, listening, backsliding and some casting out of spirits.

Scott Lively takes the stage tomorrow. That’s where the real fun begins.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus’ Silence About Uganda: Day Five

Timothy Kincaid

March 6th, 2009

On Friday, February 27, we inquired to be certain that Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, was aware of the character and history of those participating at the Uganda anti-gay conference. Alan’s response was off the record. But because he responded we know he received our email and was therefore aware of the list of presenters and of our concerns.

So on Monday we asked him to let us know if he and the Exodus leadership would develop a position on Don Schmierer’s activities in Uganda.

Since that time, conference speaker Scott Lively has endorsed the criminalization of gay persons and declared that the Ugandan government should “subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy”.

To date, we’ve not heard back from Alan as to whether he, Schmierer, and the rest of the Exodus leadership denounce the theme of Schmierer’s conference or if they too endorse criminalization of homosexuality and forced ex-gay therapy. Until we hear otherwise, we must assume that their silence is an indication that their board member is representing them in Uganda and that they endorse the positions taken by the conference.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy

Jim Burroway

March 6th, 2009

Nazi Revisionist Scott Lively has talked Ugandan anti-gay activist Stephen Langa and a Ugandan parliamentarian into proposing a law forcing people convicted of homosexuality into ex-gay therapy:

The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo has today told a conference organized to discuss the ways to fight Homosexuality that he will soon submit a bill on pornography and homosexuality for discussion in Parliament. …

Buturo says the government will not only end at making laws against homosexuality but will also engage in sensitizing schools and churches in the fight against this vice.

The President of Defend the Family International, Scott Lively says it is good for the government of Uganda to criminalize homosexuality but the government should subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy rather than imprisoning them.

Lively says this is aimed at the criminals recovering from homosexuality which is the main objective of those fighting homosexuality and not to punish homosexuals through imprisonment. He says even schools should borrow this idea of therapy in dealing with gay students.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus International boasts that it is “the largest Christian referral and information network dealing with homosexual issues in the world.” As Exodus Internationals board member, Don Scmhmierer, who is speaking at that conference, carries the most credibility — such as it is — of the three to speak out on ex-gay issues. He is certainly the only one who can credibly speak to ex-gay policy, and specifically the policy of Exodus International. He spoke yesterday at the conference, but so far reports show him as silent on this proposal.

Exodus International now has the moral imperative to to state unequivocally its position on both the criminalization of homosexuality, as well as its position on bills which would force unproven, unsanctioned, and unregulated ex-gay “conversion” therapies on gays and lesbians.

And Exodus International also has the moral imperative to publicly face its own responsibilities in participating in a conference with those who excuse violence against gay people, and who actively promote a style of “therapy” which Exodus at one time had publicly condemned. It was just one year ago in which Exodus appeared to signal an intention to move to a more responsible position in its policies. Exodus’ official policy is to denounce the “extremes” of those “who respond to homosexuals with ignorance and fear.”

If there is any meaning whatsoever behind Exodus’s words, then Exodus International’s leadership and board have no choice but to clarify its positions on the legal aspects of homosexuality and forced conversions, especially now that a recognized Exodus board member is actively participating in a conference which has publicly advocated such draconian measures. Exodus must now, both here and in Uganda, forcefully, loudly, unequivocally and unambiguously condemn this proposal.

It is time for Exodus President Alan Chambers and board chairman Bob Ragan exercise leadership by acting boldly and swiftly. Anything less will be seen as silent assent, carrying the board’s stamp of approval.

Update: Warren Throckmorton calls on Alan Chambers and Richard Cohen to have their representatives make public statements distancing themselves from this latest proposal. “And they should come early,” he warns. David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch warns that Exodus has a “very short window in which to soundly renounce the entire conference, the idea of forced therapy and, as we suggested earlier, call for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Uganda and the rest of the world.”

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Anti-Gay Conference Kicks Off In Kampala

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The IGLHRC blog has someone at the conference, and Victor Mukasa has the goods:

The workshop began at 8:30 a.m. after a meeting between Stephen Langa, leader of Family Life Network (the Ugandan organization hosting the workshop), his American guest speakers and Ugandan members of parliament.

…Kasha Jacqueline told me that Stephen Langa was telling immense lies, claiming that gay rights activists recruit young people into homosexuality. Langa testified that he knows 2 girls at a particular boarding school who were given a lot of money by gay activists in Uganda to recruit their colleagues into lesbianism. He claimed that by the end of the year, they had managed to recruit 13 friends, all of whom were given money to recruit others.

Kasha was incensed by these claims: “To be sincere, I have spent a long time as a leader in the gay struggle in Uganda and sometimes we cannot afford to do our advocacy work because of lack of funds,” she said. “How then can we give out money for recruitment. That’s not logical and it is a huge lie he was telling to Ugandans.”

Langa began his talk by saying that Uganda law, which provides a life sentence for those convicted of homosexual acts, isn’t strong enough. This is also a country that has had three successive years of public witch hunts to root out LGBT people from among ordinary citizens — witch hunts which have included arrests, beatings, torture, and public humiliation. But Langa thinks that’s not enough.

The rest of the day’s conference appears to have been devoted to Don Schmierer’s talk, which centers on the blame-the-parents view of homosexualty that dominates the American ex-gay movement:

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

The rest of the workshop was dominated by Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International. His presentation was focused around his understanding of family morals and values. He told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good upbringing” in families—children should be brought up in proper Christian ways.

He said that 56% of homosexuals experience abuse and violence in their families during their childhood. The abuse leads to pain, anger and hatred in the life of a child and this turns them into homosexuals. He emphasized that “good” family values play a big role in preventing homosexuality in children and encouraged parents to ensure that these values are observed in their families.

Got that? Children from families with “bad upbringing” become homosexuals. I guess children from good families grow up to be Don Schmierer. I’ll take my family any day.

Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries will be on tap for tomorrow. That will likely be a very entertaining, if not necessarily enlightening talk. Between beating pillows and the cuddle cure, and attempts to raise the dead — thus far, all attempts to do so have been unsuccessful — it’s hard to predict what will happen.

Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively will be on tap to speak on Saturday. He is also the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” If past behavior is any guide, that talk will be the highlight of the conference. We already know he agrees with Langa on one thing: Lively too, believes that all “homosexual advocacy” should be criminalized.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Warren Throckmorton Speaks Out Against Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The very same Ugandan online portal which broke the story about the three American anti-gay activists speaking at an anti-gay conference in Kampala has an update featuring comments by American psychologist Warren Throckmorton.

The Uganda Pulse web site originally broke the story on February 22, in an article which was little more than a press release by Stephen Langa of the Kampala-based Family Life Network. That article revealed that Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala beginning tomorrow today. Throckmorton’s response appeared in the same online portal today, in an article whose title appears to identify Throckmorton as a gay activist:

…Throckmorton says that he believes it is a big mistake for these US people to go to Uganda and discuss prevention of homosexuality when they are not scientists and have no training to discuss these matters in a reliable or factual manner. He says people who are involved are not qualified to speak about the causes or change of homosexuality.

“None of them have any research on the topic or scientific qualifications to understand the research on the subject. They will be spreading old ideas about homosexuality which even Christian psychologists in the US and Europe have dismissed as without support,” he says.

He says that one of the presenters has a significant problem with credibility. “Caleb Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic here in the US. He leads groups to mortuaries to attempt to raise the dead! He believes God drops jewels and gold dust on worshippers but refuses to gain verification of these claims. He also claims he was gay and changed. Given his other claims, it is difficult to take any of his claims seriously.

I also believe it is dangerous for those who might struggle to admit their struggle in Uganda when it might land them in trouble with the authorities,” he says in a commentary sent to our reporter after we broke the story of the Conference.

“Mr. Schmierer is a board member for Exodus International and he should not be promoting questionable theories of prevention in a country where just admitting being gay can lead to serious consequences,” he adds.

In 2004, Dr. Throckmorton produced the ex-gay video “I Do Exist,” which came about as an outgrowth of his association with PFOX. Since then, he has become increasingly critical of PFOX, NARTH and Exodus, and he has spoken against the particular form of ex-gay therapy known as “Reparative Therapy.” He continues to support “sexual identity therapy” for those who request it, and he supports the right of providers to counsel their clients to “find congruence between religious beliefs and sexual feelings.” Last year, Noé Gutierrez, the star of “I Do Exist,” denounced the ex-gay movement, and said he now considered himself gay and Christian. “I Do Exist” is still available, Throckmorton says, on a limited basis.

You can read more about Throckmorton’s criticisms of the Kampala conference here and here.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

International LGBT Group Expresses Concern About Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The Uganda seminar featuring three American anti-gay activists is starting to attract international attention. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, along with Sexual Minorities Uganda, has issued a press release denouncing the appearance of Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation at a conference to be held this weekend in Kampala. The IGLHRC said:

“This seminar is just another way of encouraging hatred and abuse,” said a spokesperson from SMUG.” We condemn their discriminatory words and actions that only lead to violence. Suffering is all that they are bringing to Uganda—all in the name of God.”

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality,” said Ugandan Bishop Dr. Christopher Ssenyonjo, who was expelled from the Anglican Church for supporting gay people. “This workshop is going to bring more conflict, greater hostility, increased intimidation. We need love … in the long run, love will overcome.”

The U.S. religious right has a history of exporting homophobia to Africa. With support from anti-gay organizations and faith leaders such as Family Watch International and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Pastor Martin Ssempa from Makerere Community Church has attacked not only gay men and lesbians, but also women’s rights and HIV activism. Pastor Ssempa has stated, “there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country.” In 2007, he organized a multi-denominational rally against LGBT rights in Kampala, where one cleric called for the “starving to death of homosexuals.”

As I said before, Uganda has a history of being a virtual powder keg when it comes to anti-gay violence and extremism — including publicly identifying them in the media and encouraging the public to hunt them down. There have been successive public anti-gay campaigns in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, where conviction can earn a life sentence.

This is life-and-death stuff. If history repeats itself, these three Americans may well have blood on their hands. Let’s all pray this doesn’t spark another convulsion in 2009. One thing you can count on: we will be watching this very carefully.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Anonymous Ugandan Blogger Wants Answers From American Anti-Gay Activists

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2009

Hello, Exodus? Someone in Uganda has some questions for you. And so do I.

An anonymous Ugandan gay blogger — gay bloggers are well advised to remain anonymous in Uganda — provides a fairly comprehensive backdrop against which three American anti-gay activists will be stepping. Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala next weekend. The conference is being organized by Stephen Langa, Director of Kampala-based Family Life Network.

GayUganda examines a new release by Langa announcing the conference, and he takes issue with Langa’s so-called “facts”:

[Quoting Stephen Langa, Conference organizer] ‘Uganda is under extreme pressure to dicriminalise homosexuality’, Uhhh? A stupid un-truth. Who is putting Uganda under pressure to decriminalize homosexuality? Why should a citizen’s sexual orientation and act of love be criminal, subject to the state’s intervention, criminal law and censorship? Why is it so important to be threatened with life in prison for making love to my lover? Too many questions, ..!

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge

Ugandan newspaper headlines. Click to enlarge

Today in Uganda, a conviction of homosexual activity can bring a life sentence. That law is a legacy of British colonial law, which originally only provided for a maximum term of fourteen years in prison. Ugandan lawmakers strengthened the law in 1990 to raise the penalty to life imprisonment.

But beyond the threat of life imprisonment, simply trying to live and get along can bring many hardships and dangers to gay Ugandans. Max Blumenthal wrote of a very recent reign of terror conducted by Ugandan evangelical pastor Martin Ssemp in 2007:

In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately [went] into hiding.

Ugandan newspaper calling for arrest of a suspected gay man. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper calling for arrest of a suspected gay man. Click to enlarge.

According to Doug Ireland, one newspaper sported the bold headline, “HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City,” and provided details “so precise — physical descriptions, residences, places of employment, and the kind of cars they drive — that those targeted, almost all from the capital city of Kampala or its environs, were easily identifiable to their neighbors and co-workers. The newspaper’s list includes doctors, businessmen, clerics, broadcasters, lawyers, bankers, actors, musicians, and non-profit group staffers.”

Newspaper article from the 2006 campaign. Click to enlarge

Newpaper article from the 2006 campaign. Click to enlarge

That 2007 public reign of terror was a backlash against a press conference held on August 16 by a coalition of LGBT groups in Uganda to launch the “Let Us Live in Peace” campaign. Clearly, that call for peace didn’t get very far. That press conference, in turn, was in reaction to a similar media-led crackdown in 2006, urged on by the same daily newspaper which trumpeted the 2007 campaign. That newspaper, the Red Pepper, is owned by a government minister. Another government owned newspaper led an earlier crackdown in 2005 which led to several high-profile arrests.

Ssempa regularly conducts a poolside fellowship known as “Prime Time” at the Makerere University Swimming Pool. This Saturday, that venue will host the Americans in a special event for university students.

GayUganda continues:

And, something I find really pathetic. And part of what set me off on this rant. The case that he [conference organizer Stephen Langa] mentions. “Langa says that Uganda is now under extreme pressure from the same group to de-criminalize homosexuality. This group recently scored a landmark victory in a court case against the state in December 2008.”

The case he cites is a pure civil rights issue. A Ugandan was hauled to police, house broken into, undressed to prove his sex. And he challenged the state. The issue was, you don’t do this to any Ugandan. Period. And, the excuse that you did it because the Ugandan is a homosexual is not good enough.

…Langa, showing his true colours, uses this case to illustrate his point. Anything is okay against homosexuals.

So these are the dangerous waters that the American activists are stepping into. GayUganda is understandably upset about this latest foreign import into Uganda, especially considering that Uganda already has a very healthy domestic industry:

Ok, my friends from over the seas. Now, I can actually say there is proof that you do export homophobia. First it was the British with the law. Now, it is the Americans in a more insidious state. Bet you it will not be the last time. So, Africa, here comes our own involvement in the ‘Culture Wars’

Returning his attention to the Americans in his more recent post, GayUganda adds:

I kind of pity the Americans who are coming to preach. Imagine, in their country, being gay is not criminal. But they are coming to impress on poor Ugandans why some Ugandans should be imprisoned for life. Just because they are gay. If there was any justice, these guys should be asked some interesting questions.

GayUganda never gets around to actually posing any questions for the three Americans. He instead challenges us to demand answers. So yes, I do have some interesting questions myself, but only for one of the three Americans.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Scott Lively, who describes the Nazi Party as having been “entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history,” is capable of saying pretty much anything. So I have no questions for him. And since Caleb Lee Brundidge, in addition to being a member of Richard Cohen’s discredited ex-gay ministry, is also active in a Phoenix ministry that goes around to various mortuaries trying to raise the dead, I don’t have much to ask him either. (Yeah, I know, that’s probably worth a whole post by itself.) I don’t think trying to engage either of them would be worth my breath.

But Don Schmierer, as an Exodus International board member, will use his credentials to speak out against gays in a country where LGBT people have very recently been literally hunted in the streets and in the media. And he will be speaking alongside and lending legitimacy to some of the more infamous American and Ugandan anti-gay firebrands.

So as I reflected on this, there are literally dozens of questions which popped into my mind — beginning with, “What on earth are you thinking?”

But in the end, it all comes down to this: given what gay Ugandans have been through the past few years, isn’t it about time Exodus let them live in peace?

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Board Member Joins Nazi Revisionist At Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2009

A Uganda-based anti-gay group has announced that American Nazi revisionist and anti-gay extremist Scott Lively will appear at a three day conference in Kampala, Uganda beginning on March 5th.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Joining him will be Exodus International board member Don Schmierer. He heads a group called His Servants, and is the author of five books related to ex-gay counseling. He’s been quite a globe-trotter lately, having traveled to Seoul, South Korea, in March of last year, as well as to the Ukraine last summer.

Also joining them will Caleb Lee Brundidge, a staff member at Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation, which advocates the controversial “holding” or “touch” therapy to cure homosexuality.

Scott Lively is co-founder of the international anti-gay extremist group, Watchmen On the Walls, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. He is also the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” In other words, it was gay people who brought World War II to Europe, built the gas chambers, and sent as many as twelve million people to their deaths.

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

Lively’s brand of rhetoric is unusually vitriolic, even by some of the more ardent anti-gay standards. He regularly describes gays as being sick and “followers of the Father of Lies.” When the Watchmen On the Walls held a rally in Novosibirsk, Russia, Lively excused Satander Singh’s murder in Sacramento. Lively contends that “civilization and homosexuals” are engaged in a full-blown war, which is part of the Devil’s design to destroy civilizations:

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. … Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization.

This sort of extremist, paranoid rhetoric will probably go down well at in Kampala. Stephen Langa, Director of Kampala-based Family Life Network which is organizing the event, sees gay people posing the familiar sinister threats to children:

[Langa] says homosexuals in the country were boosted by a December 2008 Court victory which declared that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against homosexuals and that they should enjoy the same rights as enjoyed by other Ugandans.

Langa in a statement today said several homosexual groups are active in Uganda and are busy recruiting school boys and girls at an alarming rate using a variety of methods.

Lively struck up a friendship with Langa (PDF: 1.7MB/22 pages) during a tour of the African content Lively undertook in 2002. Like Lively, Langa is not immune to spreading demonstrably false conspiracy theories on this so-called recruitment drive (PDF: 8 pages):

In most cases, porn is a tool used by the homosexuals as the first step toward introducing homosexuality (sex between people of the same sex) to a conservative society like Uganda. They know that if they come directly, they will not be accepted, So what they do is introduce pornography first to that society. The porn then corrupts the minds and morals of that society. After that goal has been achieved, they then introduce homosexuality as an acceptable alternative to heterosexual (sex between a man and a woman) sex. This is because it is much easier to introduce homosexuality to a porn addict than a non-consumer of porn. For example, the founder of Playboy Magazine, was a self-professed homosexual.

In 2004, Langa spoke out more specifically on what he sees as the threat to schoolchildren:

“FLN has also found out that homosexuality and lesbianism are spreading like wild fire in schools,” Langa said.  “There is rape inside schools and sex among students themselves. We have also found incest and cases of teachers molesting children and a lot of abortions,” he added.  Much of the promiscuity is germinating from viewing pornography in the media and the Internet and blue movies.  “If nothing is done to address the present state of affairs, the present generation of parents will find themselves having to bury their children instead of their children burying them,” Langa stressed.

This conference will be taking place on very dangerous ground for LGBT citizens and residents of Uganda. Martin Ssempa, the influential evangelical pastor at Makerere Community Church, has called for open season on LGBT people:

August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.

This is no idle threat. Homosexuality is officially illegal in Uganda. Conviction can lead to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, while sodomy carries a penalty of fourteen years to life.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus In Ukraine

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2008

Anti-gay activists are truly going global. Yesterday, we reported on Paul Cameron in Moscow. Today, it’s Exodus in Ukraine.

On June 5th and 6th, Don Schmierer conducted a seminar in Donetsk, Ukraine, on the campus of Donetsk Christian University. (Donetsk is a city of a little over a million people in eastern Ukraine.) It’s unclear whether the seminar was under the auspices of Exodus International or the Exodus Global Alliance, but the apparent title of the seminar, “Revolution,” echoes the theme of last years’ Exodus conference in Irvine, California.

Schmierer repeated the usual theories of what supposedly causes homosexuality, parent-blaming theories which come straight out of the Love Won Out playbook. You know, the distant-father, domineering mother, and general rejection themes which dominate the ex-gay mindset.

Schmierer is the author of several ex-gay books, including An Ounce of Prevention, What’s a Father To Do?, and Celebrating God’s Design — all of which have been translated into several languages, including Russian and Ukraine.

[Hat tip: Ruslan Porshnev of Anti-Dogma]

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