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Posts for September, 2013

NBC News Brings Scott Lively to Mainstream America

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lively is probably best known within the gay community for his 2009 conference in Uganda. Lively would later brag that the conference was his “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda,” and he immodestly dubbed himself the father of the anti-homosexuality movement in Uganda. Ugandan activists are currently suing Lively in U.S. Federal District Court, alleging that Lively engaged in a conspiracy to deny the LGBT community of their rights and safety under International Law, and that conspiracy resulted in harm to the LGBT community. Lively is being sued under the Alien Tort Statute, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”  Dokoupil adds this concerning the lawsuit:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Stoli’s protestations are not compelling

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2013

SPI Stoli

Last week Val Mendeleev, the CEO of SPI Group, the makers of Stolichnaya Vodka (Stoli) outside of Russia issued an impassioned plea that the gay community not boycott Stoli. He insisted that Stoli was a supporter of the community and not responsible for the “recent dreadful actions taken by the Russian Government”. His appeal has been a colossal flop, and here are some of the reasons why.

First, Mendeleev confuses advertising with alliance. He lists, in Stoli’s defense, a number of sponsorships that Stoli has made recently of gay events and groups.

That does not impress us much anymore. While it truly would have been an act of courage – one deserving of loyalty – to sponsor gay pride events in 1993 or even to advertise directly to the gay community in 1983, there no longer is a social, political, or economic price to be paid for such action.

Placing your brand before one of the most influential trend-setters (when it comes to high end spirits) has no correlation with support. It’s marketing. Stoli doesn’t automatically deserve much more appreciation for target-marketing to me than does Christian Mingle for placing their advertising on television shows that I watch.

Secondly, Mendeleev demonstrates a lack of awareness of global attitudes impacting gay people. He insists that Stoli is not really all Russian, but really kinda more Latvian, you know. Which is a bit like insisting that your political alliance is not to Stalin, but to Stalin’s little brother.

Announcing that one of your main production facilities is in Riga, Latvia, does little to alleviate my concerns. Rather, it demands an explanation of what Stoli did in 2006 when local attendees at a Riga pro-gay worship service were pelted with feces or in 2009 when the Riga city counsel voted to ban Gay Pride. Did Stoli object?

Third, Mendeleev demonstrated a sense of separateness and otherness. Stoli fully supports and endorses “your objectives” in fight this vile situation. But it isn’t really their objectives. They passionately stand on your side, but their role is cheer-leader, not advocate.

Mendeleev did not offer to join forces in a campaign to educate the public about the abuse of gay people in Russia. They did not promise to fight for better treatment in the Baltic States. They did not own the problem in any way. Rather, they were offended that we were insufficiently grateful for their nominal support.

Finally, the most important reason why Mendeleev’s argument is not compelling, the strongest reason why I have little sympathy for SPI group, is that they are trying to have it both ways.

Russian Stoli

Stoli banks its image on linkage to Russia. For decades Stoli has used imagery and advertising to portray their product as traditional Russian vodka. And while they may insist that they are not the same as the Stolichnaya Vodka made in Russia, their bottling is as close to that of the “other” Stoli as it can get.

And it was successful. In fact, a measure of that success is that while Latvia was attacking gay people, it did not immediately result in a Stoli boycott. “Stoli” equaled “Russian”.

And that’s the tricky thing. Adopting and presenting a connection to the traditions of Russia – furry hats, icy weather, and the pure vodka that burns its way down your throat staving off the Siberian cold – means that you build a connection to the traditions of Russia – homophobia, human rights violations, and oppression.

And, as yet, SPI Group is not willing to give up that connection. They want to be not-Russian in the eyes of the LGBT community, but they still want to extol the virtues of Mother Russia – when we aren’t looking.

Yes, they’ve put a statement on the Stoli webpage. Yes, they have assured us that they are appalled. And I do not doubt that Mendeleev and the corporate structure at SPI Group are not personally in favor of the Russian legislation that essentially makes being openly gay a crime.

And yet, the SPI Group website has this to say about another of their products, Kaznacheyskaya Vodka:

Kaznacheyskaya is a quality brand created for the Russian market, designed to evoke a sense of national status. But since its launch in 2003 it has also proved to be a hit in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Austria.

Kaznacheyskaya is all about pride in Russia. The early 19th century was a golden era for Russian vodka when quality, solidity and strong character could all be taken for granted.

Having tied themselves to pride in Russia, SPI Group now owns it.

Riga City Council Tries To Ban Baltic Pride

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2009

City officials in Riga, Latvia,  banned the Baltic Pride march planned for Saturday, but a court has overturned that ban.

The march had been approved by city officials, but a majority of the city council members moved to overturn the decision. Mozaika, the Lithuanian Gay League and Estonian Gay Youth, the group that had organized the march, challenged the decision in court. The court overturned the ban less than twenty-four hours before the march was due to take place.

Pride celebrations three years ago were marred by angry protests and feces-throwing. Janis Dzelme was found guilty of “gross public disorderliness” in connection with the incident. He worked in the Saeima (Parliament) for Dainis Turlais of the Latvia First Party, and is a member of Alexai Ledyaev’s New Generation Church. The Latvia First Party is closely connected with New Generation and Watchmen On the Walls, a millitant anti-gay organization. Dainis Turlais has a reputation for being among the most homophobic lawmakers in Parliament, calling gays “pigs” and “bacteria.” Ledyaev was in the court room to hear the verdict and sentence along with 20 members of New Generation.

Last year’s march went ahead without incident.

Latvian Pride March Held, No Incidents Reported

Jim Burroway

May 31st, 2008

Riga Pride organizers Mozaika

An estimated 400 gay and lesbian marchers took part in a Pride parade in Riga, Latvia, today amid tight security and insults from anti-gay extremists. No incidents were reported, as police sealed off the streets surrounding the Pride parade and kept an estimated 400 anti-gay protesters behind barricades and away from the marchers.

Riga Pride protesters

As the parade concluded, a statement by Latvian President Valdis Zatlers was read out to the crowd in Latvian and English, in which he called for tolerance and accommodation:

“We have a truly free country in which every citizen has the right to express himself, and that opportunity is respected. … I think that these are values from which we must not retreat.”

“If some people have a common household and they have — let’s say — the common life of a single gender, then we certainly need to resolve these aspects of social privileges … inheritance, the right of the spouse to enjoy certain privileges, and so on.

“That is what needs to be done, and it would be a gesture of understanding, comprehension and good will.”

Riga Pride marchers

Given some of the rhetoric surrounding Pride activities recently — particularly the violent rhetoric coming from the Watchmen On the Walls and its Latvian co-founder Alexey Ledyaev — many LGBT Latvians don’t feel safe.  A Ledyaev supporter was found guilty of throwing feces as worshipers emerged from an LGBT prayer service two years ago after that year’s Pride march was canceled.

Which is why marches like this are so important:

…[T]here is a considerable number of Latvian gay men and women who remain too scared to participate.

“I would very much like to go on the march,” a gay man, who asked not to be identified, told UK Gay News over a drink in the Golden Bar yesterday evening.

“But I am scared that I will be seen by someone I know and this will result in problems within my family and at work.

“You are so lucky in your country that homosexuality is so open. Perhaps one day here…”

Guilty Verdict in Riga Feces-Throwing Incident

Jim Burroway

January 16th, 2008

An assistant to a Latvian Parliament member was found guilty by a Riga court Tuesday of “gross public disorderliness” in connection with the feces-throwing incident at Riga Pride in July, 2006. Janis Dzelme, 32, was sentenced to 100 hours of “compulsory labor,” which is considered a harsher sentence than the fine recommended by the prosecutor.

Dzelme works in the Saeima (Parliament) for Dainis Turlais of the Latvia First Party, and is a member of Alexai Ledyaev’s New Generation Church. The Latvia First Party is closely connected with New Generation and Watchmen On the Walls, a millitant anti-gay organization. Dainis Turlais has a reputation for being among the most homophobic lawmakers in Parliament, calling gays “pigs” and “bacteria.” Ledyaev was in the court room to hear the verdict and sentence along with 20 members of New Generation.

Ledyaev is a co-founder of Watchmen On the Walls. Other prominent leaders include Americans Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuals and the Nazi Party, which claims that gays were fully responsible for the rise of the Nazi party and the resulting holocaust. Another co-founder is Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington. Last March, Hutcherson traveled to Riga, claiming that he was a special envoy of President Bush and was authorized to speak on behalf of the administration. When the White House strongly denied this, Hutcherson responed by saying he had video evidence. So far, that evidence hasn’t materialized.

Ledyayev will travel to the United States to speak at the Synergy Pastors Conference in Atlanta from January 29 and 31. Also appearing at that conference is David Sobrepeña of the Word of Hope Ministries in Manila, the Phillipines. Sobrepeña also spoke at the Watchmen’s conference in Riga.

The Watchmen In Riga, Part 4: “A Militant Army Marching Against Evil”

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 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.)

Watchmen On the Walls Conference in Riga, Latvia, Nov 14-18, 2007.So far, our coverage of the Watchmen On the Walls’ conference in Riga, Latvia has focus on their depictions of the so-called dangers that homosexuality poses to civilization. They claimed that Christian society is besieged by the “homosexual movement,” by those who follow “the father of lies” who hold closely guarded secrets that they keep from the rest of the world, and whose actions have the moral equivalence of throwing innocent children into the furnaces of Nazi Germany.

But the Watchmen didn’t gather in Riga to just moan and groan about a world overrun with evil. They also wanted to impart a plan for combating this supposed scourge. We touched on one part of that plan — American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively’s call to his Russian-Latvian audience to come to Springfield, Massachusetts as missionaries.

But their greater plan was to prepare the way for the New Generation church movement to become more directly involved in political activism from the very top. I believe that the statements at the conference, combined with statements made by Watchmen leaders, illustrate a desire to create, at the very least, a theonomic-based system of governance not only in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, but in the West as well — including right here in America. And as always, I don’t ask that anyone take my word for it. Instead, I’ll simply offer you a generous sampling of their own words so you can judge your yourself.

Scott LivelySome of the positions advocated by Watchmen founders and spokespersons — including those of American Watchmen — run distinctly counter to the values of America’s founders. For example, American holocaust revisionist and Watchman founder Scott Lively wrote an open letter “to the Russian people” a month before the Riga conference, in which he offered this recommendation:

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

Of course, Russia does not have the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and redress of grievances that we enjoy in the U.S., and recent events show that Russia doesn’t really need much encouragement along these lines. And so it’s very disturbing to see an America lawyer advocating totalitarian solutions for other countries, and one wonders what sort of country his movement would like to see here in the U.S. if they were to have their way here.

So how do the Watchmen see the role of church and state — or more specifically, their church and state?

David SobrepeñaOn Thursday evening (November 15), evangelist David Sobrepeña, Senior Pastor of the Word of Hope Church in Manila, Philippines, gave a talk on “the promises of God.” This talk was in many respects a continuation of the theme of “spiritual weapons” that Ledyaev opened the conference with the night before. As Sobrepeña spoke on Matthew 16:18 (“On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”), he described a militaristic vision of God’s promise that he said that passage represents:

I began to picture a militant army marching against the forces of evil. A great and vast army, very powerful, marching against the forces of hell. Do you know that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is greater in number and more powerful than the combined air force and military force of the United States, of Russia, of China, and all the other countries in the world?

The armies of the world are no match for the powers of Satan. But tonight, let me tell you brothers and sisters, that Satan trembles at the sight of God’s army we call the church. Over one billion committed Christians in the world today. God promised power to the church.

David SobrepeñaHe then spoke about the need for Christians to become active in government because that is where the real exercise of power takes place. As an example, he described his efforts to get a born again Christian appointed to the Philippines Supreme Court. This, he believed, was evidence that God ordained the church to wield political power:

The homosexual agenda, all the other agendas of this world by liberal politicians, don’t be afraid of them because the church will emerge victorious. The church will emerge victorious. Even though many times it seems like the power of darkness is covering our society and many people are backsliding. In the end, the church will emerge as victorious because Jesus promised a victorious church, a church without spot or wrinkle.

As the conference continued, a picture emerged which shows that their message is often an uncomfortably close fit to the Dominionist or Christian Reconstructionist movements in the U.S., and it directly follows the political stance of Alexey Ledyaev’s New Generation church movement. And while the Watchmen do not have an official statement on the role the church should play in a democratic society, it appears that many speakers at the Watchmen conference shared Ledyaev’s political views.

Alexey LedyaevIn 2002, Ledyaev wrote a political manifesto he called The New World Order. (A rough English translation was posted online by the New Generation church in Springfield, Massachusetts, Scott Lively’s new home.) In The New World Order Ledyaev says that the church needs to be the spark for a great revival.

But unlike most Christian denominations, he doesn’t place much value in promoting an evangelical revival among ordinary people — those “from the bottom,” as he puts it. Instead, Ledyaev, says that it’s far more important for this revival to take place among political and social leaders, “from the top.” He believes that if political leaders undergo a revival, then all of society will begin to change from the top down. The advantage of focusing on revival at the top, says Ledyaev, is that the kind of reform he seeks is not as likely “to be bogged down in a couple of years.” He writes:

When the government bows its knees before the name of Jesus Christ then the country will be Christian. It cannot be otherwise, because the God of the kings will sooner or later become the God of their nations. This is how life is.

And Ledyaev cites the United States as an example:

After a short break and a fierce election struggle God has once again restored Christian Government in USA. The born again president of the country, his administration that mostly consists of Christians on the key positions of authority – it is a great victory.

Advent to power of the Christian government does not mean that the whole country will at once automatically become puritan. It means that the country will have all preconditions for it, because in such circumstances church receives an unprecedented freedom to influence and to act.

George Bush Jr. is more of a preacher, than a politician. However, it is exactly this quality that determines his political insight, pragmatism and invulnerability.

Ainars ŠlesersThe Watchmen’s hopes for creating a “Christian government” for Latvia was on full display at the Watchmen conference. Just before David Sobrepeña took the stage, Ledyaev introduced three members of the Latvian government, all of whom are members of the Latvia First Party which is closely associated with New Generation. The first, Ainars Šlesers is one of the Latvia First Party’s founders and currently serves as Minister of Transport. He is also a member of New Generation and reportedly one of the wealthiest people in Latvia. He talked about the success he had in having Christianity taught in the public schools, and the importance of political engagement in the state.

Janis SmitsŠlesers was then followed by Janis Smits, who is a Latvia First member of parliament and, paradoxically, the chairman of that country’s Human Rights Committee. He also spoke out for the need for direct engagement against the gay rights movement in Latvia:

We’re living in a real world with real spiritual enemy. There is a spiritual war going on. Not only those people who gathered on the Square have their rights. We also have our rights: to raise our voice, to protect our government elected by us, our parliament, our deputies and our faith. Let’s not stand aside of this. Let’s actively participate in it.

…We can do it because we are the majority, we are united in our faith and our beliefs.

Inta FeldmaneAnother Latvia First member of parliament, Inta Feldmane, addressed the crowd that night:

We’re living in a global world where borders are vanishing. Through these borders not only people are moving, not only finances, services, but also philosophies, religions, false teachings and there’s a new enemy now: secularism and humanism, which places into its center not God and the Ten Commandments, but a human being, his wishes and will. I’d also like to say – sinful lusts.

Now it’s a struggle for that will and these wishes should become laws by which all people must live, including religious people. I thank God for Latvia being a chosen land, for these churches existing.

And she spoke about the constitutional separation of church and state:

They say that the Constitution separates Church and State and that’s why the Church is unable to speak and publicly protect its interests. It’s all a lie. The constitution only says that there should be no state church and that government can not interfere with church business and church can not interfere with governmental business.

But we do have a right for dialog. We have a right to express our opinion – publicly, in media and on such conferences. And we should know this. We will not allow our mouths to be silenced. We will not allow ourselves to be placed in a certain framework, stuck inside the walls of the church.

Joseph MatteraThe theological underpinnings for all of this were cemented on Friday afternoon when Joseph Mattera, senior pastor of Resurrection Church in New York City, spoke to the conference. Basing his talk on John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”), he said:

That means the Word of God is the starting point for all living and nonliving things. The Word of God is the starting point for mathematics, the starting point for biology, the starting point for grammar, for language, for science, for education and philosophy, for social structures.

The reason why the church is fighting the battle it is today is because a few hundred years ago, we forgot what I just said. We have given up the arts and the sciences. We’ve given up education and we’ve given up the study of nature to those who are secular humanists.

And so the church needs to be on the leading edge of all of these disciplines of life, because if all we’re doing is morality, then we will be trying to catch up for the next hundred years.

Larry JacobsBut the talks weren’t all political theory or theology. Larry Jacobs, of the World Congress of Families, was on hand on Thursday afternoon (Nov 15) to lay out a concrete strategy for confronting gay activists. It was a rather sketchy strategy, but it illustrates what the World Congress of Families sought to do in Warsaw last May. That strategy includes:

  • Shifting the anti-gay movement “from defensive to offensive.”
  • Changing the language, questions and parameters of debate (for example, say “natural families” a term which he says “drive(s) homosexuals crazy because if you’re not part of the natural family then you’re unnatural.”)
  • Finding ways to be seen as progressives, touting a better way of life for the economy and society.
  • Building new alliances among different Christian groups, whether they are Orthodox, Catholic or Pentecostal.
  • Using scientific data which “supports Biblical Truth” (Jacobs exclaimed, “The exciting thing about this is if we use this data it sounds like Scripture but the world listens to the scientists.”)
  • Reaching the next generation (For example, through children’s books and cartoons like The Veggie Tales).
  • Using the World Congress of Families, Watchmen On the Walls and others for networking, direction, encouragement and to celebrate the family.

To illustrate some of these efforts, Jacobs announced that they received a proposal from the Russian government to bring the World Congress of Families to Moscow in 2009. Several others mentioned planning for various conferences in various countries of the former Soviet Union as well as a Watchmen conference in Africa for 2008. While details of this African conference weren’t disclosed, there is a strong likelihood that it might be planned for Lagos, Nigeria, home of the Revival Assembly whose pastor, Anselm Madubuko, spoke at the Watchmen’s conference in Novosibirsk and who closed the conference in Riga.

And Scott Lively announced that his holocaust revisionist book, The Pink Swastika, will be released in a Russian translation in 2008, which will only serve to fuel the flames of hatred of gays and lesbians further in Russia and among Russian-speaking communities in Eastern Europe and the U.S.

Until the past few months, the Watchmen have largely flown under the radar. A quick round of private message to national gay-rights groups here in America has found that few people here know anything about them. The language barrier seems to have something to do with it, along with the fact that the Watchmen movement is a relatively recent phenomenon. But it appears to be an aggressive and growing movement, with the potential for serious repercussions internationally as well as here at home.

When Scott Lively spoke Thursday morning, he warned his audience that “We have to understand that we are being watched by people all over the world. There are probably even homosexual spies in this room.” And he said that those “spies” would like nothing better than to catch them saying something ugly or hateful. And then, of course, the Watchmen put videos of their conference on the internet for all the world to see. No “spying” is needed to see what this organization is all about. Their own images and words can now speak for themselves. All we have to do is watch them. And we will.

(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.)

See all the posts in this series:
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”

The Watchmen In Riga, Part 3: The “Secrets” Of Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 3rd, 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.)

Last week, we devoted extensive coverage of the Watchmen On the Wall’s five-day conference in Riga in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, and yet with all that we’ve barely covered the first day and a half of the conference. Much of those first sessions were devoted to promoting a doom-and-gloom scenario of a world besieged by “the homosexual movement.” While I intend to pick up the pace and wrap things up more quickly than I started, I want to be sure that you are able to thoroughly understand what these mostly American anti-gay extremists are telling the rest of the world.

And if you think that what I presented so far covers just about every ugly word that can be said about homosexuality, you’re tragically mistaken because there was another set of themes that were explored on Friday morning that I found to be shocking. I left you last week with Alexey Ledyeav’s prayer which went, “In the name of Jesus I curse this phenomenon! I curse the root of this movement! In the name of Jesus I curse the culture of death and say to it: DRY OUT!… ” Now I want to share with you two talks which immediately preceded that prayer.

Scott LivelyIt all began when Scott Lively returned to the stage on Friday morning (November 16), this time promising a “university course on the things the homosexual movement does not want you to know.” And I have to say that this has to be the most amazing anti-gay talk I have ever heard — and remember, I sat through the Family Impact Summit in Florida last September. But nothing I heard there prepared me for Lively’s talk that morning. I don’t have the powers of written expression to fully convey how strange his talk was. That’s why I strongly encourage you to watch the video yourself. (Unfortunately, Lively doesn’t begin speaking until the 19:30 mark, but you can listen to Russian contemporary Christian music while you’re waiting.)

But I understand that not everyone can sit still for an hour-long anti-gay speech. So I’ll do the best I can with the highlights. Lively began his talk on the “secrets” of the homosexual movement this way:

“The first thing that the homosexuality community doesn’t want you to know, number one, most homosexuals do not want to be homosexual. Homosexuality is a disorder inside of you. It’s when you have an attraction, a sexual attraction, towards someone of the same gender. Every person that begins to feel this attraction towards someone of the same gender knows that it’s wrong, because they live in a world where they see what is normal and they can compare the way they feel with what everyone else does.

Lively explained that lots of teens experience same sex attractions during puberty, but most of them pass through this “phase” and the feelings go away. But for some, it’s becomes more than a phase:

Scott LivelyBut for some people, for different reasons, they don’t overcome it. But all of them know that it’s wrong, and almost all of them feel ashamed and they don’t want to have this. And so they begin to struggle against it. Inside themselves they struggle against the feelings. … But it’s also very difficult to overcome. And so what happens is they struggle and they struggle and they struggle against the feelings. And they fail and they fail and they fail and they fail. And then after a while, they give up struggling because its too hard to keep struggling against something that they can’t defeat. So they give in to the feelings.

This is the secret to why the homosexual movement is so aggressive about making society accept them. Because they’re living a lie about who they are. Their acceptance of a gay identity is an admission of failure. And so psychologically they turn it around. Because they feel so much shame, they create “gay pride.” And they insist that they’re full of pride about who they are. And it’s just a gigantic self-delusion. It’s a psychological self-defense mechanism. And it makes these people social activists. But that’s the first secret: most homosexuals do no want to be homosexual.

Lively’s explanation of the first “secret” is barely coherent. He doesn’t cite a single study, nor does he provide one scintilla of evidence — not even anecdotal evidence — that gays and lesbians who have come to terms with their sexuality “do not want to be homosexual.” Instead, he simply provides this explanation as though it were established fact. It’s a surprising “secret,” one which, I have to say, I have never heard in my nearly forty-seven years. It must be quite a secret indeed, one that even I am not privy to.

I really have no idea whatsoever where he could have gotten such an idea — unless the only gays and lesbians he’s ever met were members of ex-gay ministries. (He does mention ex-gays towards the end of this talk.) By definition, they don’t want to be gay. Is that where he got such a preposterous idea about gays and lesbians as a whole? If that’s the case, ex-gays would represent a rather unique echo-chamber which no reasonably intelligent person would mistake for being representative of gays and lesbians broadly. I suspect that most ex-gays would agree with me on that point at least. And so we’re left wondering where he could have discovered such a strange secret.

Lively continues:

Scott LivelyThe second secret of the gay movement has to do with the word “hatred.” Now, anyone who has stood up against homosexuality has been called a homophobe. … [T]here are two reasons for this, and many people know about the first reason. The first reason that they do this is to silence us. And that’s a kind of obvious thing.

But the second and more important thing is a secret. The homosexual leaders, the leaders of the homosexual movement, they are the ones who push this. Not the average homosexual. Of course many of them fall into using it as a tactic. But this aggressive accusation of hatred is coming from the homosexual leaders because they need to keep the other homosexuals inside of the gay community.

Remember, most homosexuals do not want to be homosexual. And if they really believed that there was a way to overcome their homosexuality, many of them would leave the gay community. And the people who have the real hope for change, the ones who have the ability to overcome their sins and their compulsiveness are the Christians. We’re the ones who have the power to help them. But the gay leaders can not let them know that. And so they have to keep calling us hateful bigots and they have to keep all of these gay people inside of their control. And they do this by making them afraid of us.

Here, Lively ascribes a degree of power wielded by “homosexual leaders” that few actual gay rights leaders would ever dream of. Lively says that the only reason most of us remain gay is because it’s the gay rights leaders are able to exercise some sort of mind control to make us afraid of Christians.

Did you get that? It’s the gay rights leaders who make the rest of us fearful. Not pastors who pray for curses. Not people who describe gays and lesbians as followers of the father if lies” or who write revisionist “history” books which claims that gays were responsible for Nazism and the holocaust. Not people who say that gays are subjecting children to “moral rape,” and who equate fair treatment in schools to the Nazi’s throwing children into the holocaust furnaces. And not people who lie about the gay-bashing death of Santender Singh..

No, it’s gay rights leaders who make gays and lesbians afraid of Lively’s brand of Christianity, according to Lively anyway.

Lively continued with secret number three:

Scott Lively The third secret of homosexuality has to do with this idea that homosexuals are born that way. Homosexuals are not born gay. God does not create people to have no choice in a behavior that he condemns. But it’s not the same kind of choice as choosing to become a carpenter or a journalist. Like I said, most homosexuals don’t want to have those feelings. But all sex is voluntary, except for rape. And so if a homosexual is living an active homosexual lifestyle, he is making a choice every single day.

Here, Lively plays a slight of hand, conflating behavior with orientation. It’s true that no behavior is compelled by circumstances of birth. And it is true that all consensual acts, including sex, are voluntary. But by confusing behavior with orientation, he performs a rhetorical trick which dismisses the very essence of what it means to be gay.

But having done that, it’s somewhat surprising that he goes back to cover the ground he skipped when he began revealing his thirds “secret”: Why are gay people gay? And here’s the thing that’s really fascinating.

I’ve been critical of anti-gay activists who claim that homosexuality is strictly the result of childhood experiences. I’ve also been critical of pro-gay activists who claim that science has proved that homosexuality is strictly biological in origin for all gays and lesbians. The fact is, neither extreme position has been proven to be true, and neither extreme position is likely to be true for all gays and lesbians.

But one thing that cannot be denied: Both sides are keenly interested in proving that their understanding of the origins of homosexuality is correct because they believe their framework bolsters their cause. And both sides eagerly tout every scientific finding that supports their beliefs while pretending the other findings don’t exist. Right?

Well, no. Lively has detected a different conspiracy. Hence the secret:

Scott LivelyThe real secret is that the gay movement does not want to find the cause of homosexuality. You understand what I’m saying? The gay movement does not want to find the cause. Why? Because the day that science finds the cause is the day that begins the race for the cure. Amen?

Think about it. If science were to come forward and say, “it is this gene,” then all of the secular people who don’t have any moral values, they would begin using the science, the gene selecting science that already exists to abort the children who have that gene. And the scientific community would be looking for a way to be able to prevent that gene from influencing the children. So whatever turns out to be the cause provides a place to begin searching for the cure.

And the gay leaders cannot allow this because they’re the ones who are so, … they’re insane, in their minds, because they are so deeply entrenched in this gay identify, they cannot leave it. They’re like the worst of the worst of the heroin addicts.

Here, at the mention of the word “addict,” Lively begins to turn toward the framework often employed by many leaders of the ex-gay movement by characterizing homosexuality as an addiction:

Scott Lively The most powerful addiction of all is sexual because we’re actually created to be sexual. Nobody’s created to be an alcoholic. When you give up alcohol, there’s nothing in your body that requires alcohol. But every body, male and female, is designed for sex. And the most powerful drug in all the universe is a human orgasm. It’s a human orgasm. Because when you have that sexual experience, it floods you brain with the same addictive chemicals that you get when you’re an addict. It’s like the ultimate pleasurable drug.

Now if you’re a young person and you’re experiencing same sex attraction, and someone comes along to you that’s an older homosexual and invites you to participate in a homosexual act, if you enter into that homosexual act and your first orgasm as a human being is the result of homosexual behavior, you can be locked in to an addiction that will last your whole life.

This strange theory is one which some anti-gay activists promote to explain how children and young adults are “recruited” into homosexuality. It’s this idea that some parts of our bodies are designed for sexual pleasure, and if our first experiences of that pleasure is associated with homosexual behavior, then presto! — we become gay due to some kind of Pavlovian conditioning. Some in the ex-gay movement offer similar theories of recruitment based on sexual molestation. I heard Christine Sneeringer of the Ft. Lauderdale ex-gay ministry Worthy Creations offer this explanation at last September’s Family Impact Summit in Tampa.

Lively ended his talk on an “ex-gay” who was dying of AIDS. The Livelys brought “Sonny” into their home and took care of him, and “Sonny” returned the favor by sharing these “secrets” with them before he died — which may partly explain the bizarreness of some of Lively’s “secrets.” Yet Lively used this story to build credibility for his “secrets” — after all, he got them from a pitiful former homosexual himself:

Scott Lively Sonny does not deserve our hate. He deserves our pity. And that’s who most of these people are. These are people who have become enslaved to a satanically inspired addiction. But their lives become so much defined by their perversion that they feel completely cut off form anyone else in the world. For these people the only hope is Jesus Christ and we are the only people that can bring them that message.

But the gay movement tells them that we hate them, we want to kill them and hurt them, and so they are afraid to talk to us. And so that’s another major secret. And you should take these secrets and use them to your advantage.

Lively said that there were more secrets, but he ran out of time and so “they’re going to have to wait for the next lecture.” That next lecture was given by George Neverov, a Sacramento resident who spoke on “Homosexuality Unmasked.” And just when it seemed that nothing could be more outrageous than Lively’s talk, Neverov began his talk this way:

George Neverov…[The USA] has a terrible secret and this country is afraid to reveal it. It caught a horrible virus on which I’d like to talk with you. This virus has a damaging impact. It aims to destroy the family and it’s name is homosexual culture.

To illustrate what that virus is, Neverov began reading from an essay that was originally titled “Gay Revolutionary” (anti-gay extremists have dubbed it “The Gay Manifesto“), a satire that was written in 1987 by “Michael Swift” and published in the Gay Community News, a radical Boston-based newspaper that went out of business in 1992. The more extreme elements of the anti-gay movement like to quote from this fictional call to arms as though it were a real manifesto. This essay performs a very similar function in anti-gay circles that The Protocols of the Elders Of Zion once served among anti-Semites: To stir passions and outrage against a hated minority.

You’ve heard quotations from the so-called “Gay Manifesto” before, but it was probably very new and horrifying to that audience in Riga, as it is to many audiences in America. Neverov read along as a Russian translation of the text appeared on a giant multimedia screen behind him:

George Neverov“We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies. We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, …”

And on it goes. Anti-gay extremists love reading this aloud to shocked audiences. But when they do, they invariably omit the preface. Neverov omitted it as well:

This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.

That’s right. It’s a work of fiction, a satire — and the author said so when it originally appeared in the Gay Community News way back in 1987. In fact, the anonymous writer used the pseudonym “Michael Swift,” which is an obvious tip of the hat to the English language’s most famous satirist, Jonathan Swift. But whether Neverov or any of the other Watchmen are aware of this for not, the Latvian audience is almost certain to be uninformed of the nature of this so-called “manifesto.” And so Neverov points to this fictional essay and tells his audience, “You and me — all of us are ‘hetero swine’ — and they tell us to tremble.” And then he reflects on what the supposed manifesto means for all of us:

George NeverovI believe that outside the family, outside God’s design, a man gets into a psychological state where his soul is like a bucket without a bottom. No matter how much you pour into it, it’s impossible to achieve happiness, and that’s exactly the psychological state of homosexualists today.

This is often the reason why they are reaching for marriages. They just can’t get enough self-satisfaction. Their heart is on fire like in hell; they cannot satisfy themselves, so they want to sodomize the whole world — to have a broader choice for partners.

The rest of his talk continues along similarly alarmist lines as he focused on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, complete with grotesque graphics on the multimedia screen:

Watchmen GraphicThis is a culture of death! But I won’t ever name homosexuality a culture. In all my publications you will see the word “culture” in quotes. Homosexuality does not have a culture: it’s immoral, and immoral means uncultured! And it destroys the human soul, emotions, healthy families! As we read in the manifesto, homosexuality aims to turn healthy families into hospital beds. That’s why this information is important to you! Your future depends on what you do with this information!

Neverov then goes though a long recitation (and butchering) of statistics and medical information about AIDS, some of it culled from such Cameronesque sources as LifeSite. Then Neverov closed his talk by issuing a stirring manifesto of his own:

George NeverovToday those 3% of the population have dictated to my governor of California what they will teach my kids and it’s very funny and disgusting, but on the other hand they do not have any rights to my kids! They do not have any rights to kids at all because they cannot birth children and we will not give them ours kids! And if you are listening to this information through the Internet – I WON’T GIVE MY KIDS TO YOU!!!

Listen, my dear — I am now speaking to the Church! You are still standing on your knees and praying and telling me that I need to leave Sacramento!!! You tell us to leave this struggle for good! I will not leave it because those are bloody figures, they are written in blood.

And that’s when Alexey Ledyaev took the stage and offered his prayer for the morning.

(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.)

See also:
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”

The Watchmen In Riga, Interlude: A Pastor’s Prayer

Jim Burroway

November 29th, 2007

Parts 3 and 4 of “The Watchmen In Riga” series will resume next week. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Pastor LedyaevMeanwhile, I leave you with this “pastor’s prayer” from Alexey Ledyaev. He heads the New Generation Church movement (based in Riga, Latvia, with congregations throughout the former Soviet Union, Germany, Israel, Argentina and the U.S.) and he is one of the co-founders of Watchmen On the Walls, along with Scott Lively, Kenneth Hutcherson, and Vlad Kusakin. (Translation from the Russian courtesy of Ruslan Porshnev of the Russian LGBT web site Anti-Dogma. You can read more about his work here.)

In the name of Jesus I curse this phenomenon! I curse the root of this movement! In the name of Jesus I curse the culture of death and say to it: DRY OUT! Let every plant that is not planted by my Father be pulled up with it’s root and thrown away! In the name of Jesus I proclaim fair God’s judgment on every disgrace and people’s lies who suppress truth! We are setting your hands free and say: God, deal with all activists and leaders of homosexual movement! Raise, God! And your enemies will dissipate! Raise God! Save America! Save Latvia! Save Europe! Save us!

… God, please forgive us for stepping down and please give back the weapons the Church possessed before. Let your strength and fire and authority come back!

… God, raise brave pastors and brave people and raise an army of holy people, raise the Watchmen on the Walls who would stand and protect their cities!

… We love America, please protect it from suicide and self-destruction!

… Let a stone, without the assistance of a hand, come off the rock and hit this homosexual idol right on its legs! Let this idol come down to ashes! Let this stone become a mountain and fill the whole Earth.

… Today we proclaim the death of the culture of death! We proclaim the victory of life!

… You, the Pharaoh of homosexualism – we will not give a hoof, a rusted nail to you! Our houses, our wives, our sons and daughters will go – and you will go bankrupt.

… Homosexualism is a global problem and it is only the first wave. After that comes Islamization. If we won’t stop the first wave, then the second wave won’t wait for long.

See also:
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”

The Watchmen In Riga, Part 2: From Babylon To Jerusalem

Jim Burroway

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 KusakinVlad 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.

Vlad KusakinKusakin 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.

Vlad KusakinIf 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.

Don Feder (left)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.

Don Feder (left)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.)

See also:
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”

The Watchmen In Riga, Part 1: “Become A Missionary To America”

Scott Lively announces his move to Springfield, Massachusetts, and invites the world to join him as "missionaries to America."

Jim Burroway

November 26th, 2007

The Watchmen On the Walls held another conference two weeks ago, this time in Riga, Latvia, home of Alexey Ledyaev’s New Generation church. Ledyaev is one of the Watchmen’s founders, along with holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Seattle-area pastor Kenneth Hutcherson. This latest conference garnered very little attention here in the States, but since Ledyaev’s New Generation church put the video of the entire conference on their web site, I thought it might be informative to learn what was discussed in Riga.

Pastor LedyaevPastor Alexey Ledyaev opened the conference on Wednesday evening, November 14, with a strident sermon on the weapons of spiritual warfare. While he described these “weapons” as spiritual in nature, the war metaphors were pushed to their most militant limits as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy:

Liberalism is penetrating into our brain, but we must return to the fundamental things and name things as they are. If God names it evil, then we must name it evil. When you tell the truth, strength comes to you.

…We’re in the war and we’re in it because of trophies — human souls.

Today our home is being ravaged before our eyes. Our weapons are being taken away. We were strong when we had those weapons.

Conference audienceLedyaev stoked the crowd even further by describing the “danger” in the most ludicrous terms:

They are trying to wash our brains and explain that Bible is obsolete, that the form of the traditional family is obsolete. Today homosexualists boldly enter the schools with the bold slogan “Your kids are our kids. We will re-educate them.” Sexually immature kids are being seduced and taught about traditional and non-traditional sex. They are forced to cross-dress in order to feel which orientation is inside them. They are being told that if you are born as a boy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a man. If you were born as a girl, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a woman. It’s all happening now.

The devil is ravaging our home and I want to ask our Church: where are we? We are told to surrender our weapons and be silent – but we are refusing to take this dictation down. Because we have another commander-in-chief and he tells us to act!

Scott LivelyThings had calmed back a bit the following morning when American author and holocaust revisionist Scott Lively took the stage. And even though his talk was lower key than Ledyaev’s, it was no less provocative.

Lively began by bringing the conference up to date with the Watchmen’s activities over the previous months. He talked about going to Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, and then followed that with an account of the U.S. conferences in Sacramento and Seattle. And here’s where his grip on reality became somewhat tenuous. He began by talking about how the Watchmen had been “attacked” in a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center:

There’s an organization in the United States called the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is a very powerful and influential organization. This is an organization that got its start fighting against the Ku Klux Klan and racism in the Old South in the United States. And it became very famous for fighting against hate groups.

Then in about the nineteen nineties, then there was very, very little racism left in America. And this organization had no more people to investigate. So they picked a new target, what they called the Christian Right. Christian Conservatives. And they began taking the side of the homosexuals against the Christians.

Scott LivelyLively then went on to embellish the story about the attention the Watchmen received in Seattle:

The devil was trying to kill Watchmen On the Walls in Seattle. But God was with us. We had a very good conference and we got publicity throughout the whole state of Washington that we never would have had. But at the very beginning of the conference we held a press conference. And we met with the media and we told them who we were. And we wrote a statement about the Watchmen On the Walls and who we are. My translator, Lev here has translated it and it will be posted on the Watchmen On the Walls web site.

And the next morning, when we came to the conference, the sidewalks was filled with homosexuals with signs attacking us. And the media was back again. They were looking to see if there would be a fight. But what they saw was Christians coming to together to praise God and to stand strong on the values that he has given us about the family. And the next day, in the biggest newspaper in the whole state, was a very positive story about Watchmen On the Walls and about how it was not the hate group that we had been called. Glory to God! Hallelujah.

The largest newspaper in the state, The Seattle Times, did indeed write about the Watchmen. But it does not appear to draw any conclusions about who they are, as Lively claimed in Riga.

Scott LivelyBut Lively was clearly flattered by the attention, calling the Watchmen a very important international movement. And since they are now “very important,” they have to be careful with everything they say. “We have to understand that we are being watched by people all over the world. There are probably even homosexual spies in this room.”

These “spies,” Lively warned, would love nothing more than to catch someone associated with the Watchmen saying something ugly. And that’s where Lively coached his Russian-speaking audience with a new phrase that he claimed would inoculate them against the charges of being a hate group:

In America, the Christians have chosen a phrase that explains what we believe. And you may have heard this phrase. “We love the sinner, but hate the sin.” Amen? Okay. Say that with me. “We love the sinner, but hate the sin.” That must be your phrase because that will protect you from being misrepresented. And it will bring you in harmony with Christians around the world.

And with that, Lively went on to speak in those “harmonious” terms that many Christians all over the world have used to describe gays and lesbians:

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

Scott LivelyThat’s quite a long ways from loving the sinner.

Lively ended his talk that morning with an announcement that he and his wife will be moving to Springfield, Massachusetts to join a New Generation church which serves the Russian-speaking community there. And he invited others in Riga to join him in his quest to change America:

We’re going to Springfield as missionaries to America. We want to do the three tasks of the church. We want to take that goal of transforming society and to apply it in all the areas of life. And I want to invite you, whether you’re here in Riga, whether you’re watching on the Internet, or whether you’re watching on DVD, come to Springfield. Come and be part of the experiment. Help us to develop New Generation and the Watchmen On The Walls into the English-speaking world.

(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.)

See also:
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”

Watchmen On The Walls Conference Coming To Riga, Latvia

Jim Burroway

October 30th, 2007

The Watchmen On The Walls have announced their next conference in Riga, Latvia for November 14-18. Speakers include:

  • Scott Lively, revisionist holocaust author of The Pink Swastika.
  • Vlad Kusakin, publisher of the Russian language “The Speaker” in the United States.
  • Joseph Mattera, also from the United States.
  • Alexei Ledyaev, the Ukrainian- Kazakh-born pastor of the influential “New Generation” megachurch in Latvia.
  • Andrei Tischenko, a Bishop association of churches which operate under the “New Generation” umbrella in Ukraine.
  • Larry Jacob, vice president of the World Congress of Families.
  • Don Feder, author of Who is afraid of the Religious Right?
  • David A. Sobrepeña, senior pastor of the Filipino Word of Hope Church in Manila and head of “Transformation Philippines,” a conservative political lobbying group in the Philippines.
  • Anselm Madubuko, founder of an evangelical church in Nigeria.

International Hate Machine: Hutcherson, Lively and Ledyaev’s “Watchmen On the Walls”

Jim Burroway

October 5th, 2007

Last July 1st, Satendar Singh, a 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was beaten to death at Lake Natoma near Sacramento by Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away. They singled Singh out from among his party, saying “We just want your faggot friend.” He was bashed in the head and died the next day of a brain hemorrhage. Two men, Andrey Vusik, 29, and Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21 were charged with hate crimes in connection with Singh’s death. Vusik fled to Russian in July and is being sought by the FBI.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report has a very informative article by Casey Sanchez about the growing Russian, Ukrainian and Latvian immigrant communities in the Western U.S., and the increasingly violent threat they pose to gays and lesbians in the region.

A growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in the Sacramento Valley is centered among Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking immigrants. Many of them are members of an international extremist anti-gay movement whose adherents call themselves the Watchmen on the Walls. In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

…Slavic anti-gay talk radio hosts and fundamentalist preachers routinely deliver hateful screeds on the airwaves and from the pulpit in their native tongue that, were they delivered in English, would be a source of nationwide controversy.

Ken Hutcherson, Scott Lively, and Latvian megachurch preacher Alexey Ledyaev

Kenneth Hutcherson, Scott Lively, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev.

These Slavic groups aren’t operating in a vacuum however. They are actively supported and encouraged by two key American anti-gay extremists, Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington and Scott Lively, author of the holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika. Together, they have formed an alliance called “Watchmen on the Walls” with Riga, Latvian pastor Aleksey Ledyaev.

That alliance operates not only among Slavic evangelical churches here in the U.S. but in Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia as well. Hutcherson and Lively traveled to Latvia last spring to speak at pastor Ledyaev’s New Generation Church in advance of that country’s contentious Pride celebrations. Lively told that audience:

God gave Kenneth Hutcherson and me to see that [New Generation pastor] Alexei [Ledyaev] is the very man God placed to direct this battle, and church should support him in all respects. We are going to help you consistently and effectively to fight those who violate Christ’s rights and target his ministers for their insults.

Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, claims that Hitler was gay. He go further and claims that the Nazi Party, World War II and the Holocaust were the products of a vast gay conspiracy. That book as found an eager audience among a population that suffered horrendously from Nazi aggression during World War II. Casey Sanchez reports:

The Pink Swastika has become Lively’s passport to fame among anti-gay church leaders and their followers in Eastern Europe, as well as Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. Lively frequently speaks about the book and his broader anti-gay agenda in churches, police academies and television news studios throughout the former Soviet Union.

Lively credits the popularity of Russian-language translations of The Pink Swastika to the support of Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the head of the New Generation Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch based in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. New Generation has more than 200 satellite churches spread throughout Eastern Europe, Argentina, Israel and the United States.

Sacramento, Calif., editor Vlad Kusakin; Vadim Privedenyuk, who runs an anti-gay church in Springfield, Mass.; Kenneth Hutcherson; and Alexey Ledyaev

Sacramento, Calif., editor Vlad Kusakin; Vadim Privedenyuk, who runs an anti-gay church in Springfield, Mass.; Kenneth Hutcherson; and Alexey Ledyaev.

Sanchez also reports on the standard rhetoric coming form Hutcherson, Lively and Ledyaev’s alliance. The rhetoric is chilling:

In a speech given after Riga’s first gay pride parade in 2005, Ledyaev told his international congregation: “Homosexuality is a … dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community.”

Lively echoed his Latvian ally’s comparison of homosexuality to disease in a 2003 letter to the editor published in The Washington Times. “The homosexual movement in a society is analogous to the AIDS virus in the human body,” Lively wrote. “It is not benign but destructive; it thrives at the expense of the host, and you’re most likely to get it by saying yes to sodomy.”

The Watchmen portray the battle against gay rights as nothing less than a biblical clash of civilizations. “The homosexual sexual ethic” and “family-based society” are at war, Lively proclaimed in his letter to The Washington Times. “One must prevail at the expense of the other.”

That sort of militant rhetoric is standard among Watchmen followers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Speaking to his American counterparts in a Watchmen video, a Latvian anti-gay activist intones: “Your generation beat the Nazis, and our country beat the Communists. Together we will defeat the homosexuals!”

This may explain why, when Lively and Ledyaev were contacted for comment on Singh’s death, they refused to condemn the murder.

The rhetoric emanating from this group is extremely dangerous and violent. It’s hard to imagine how people who consider themselves to be good and faithful Christians can continue to maintain any connections with the Watchmen.

But some not only nurture those connections, they value them tremendously. Kenneth Hutcherson was a featured speaker at last summer’s Exodus Freedom Conference. Exodus president Alan Chambers and vice-president Randy Thomas glowingly introduced “Hutch” as their person friend. And unlike any other speakers, Hutcherson spoke not just once, but twice in featured prime-time spots before the whole conference — once in the evening, and once again the following morning. And throughout his talks, he proclaimed his love for homosexuals and how precious they were in God’s sight — or at least the “strugglers” who were in the audience that night.

Hutcherson Speaking at the 2007 Exodus Freedom Conference

Kenneth Hutcherson, speaking at the 2007 Exodus Freedom Conference.

And yet when he’s away from Exodus International’s warm embrace, Hutcherson is actively collaborating with an international organization which is spreading a dangerously violent and deadly message throughout the world and here in America. If Alan Chambers really wants to talk about what an “evil agenda” looks like, he need look no further than his own stage.

See also:
From Novosibirsk To Lynnwood

Scott Lively Speaking in Riga in March

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2007

Jeremey Hooper from Good As You found this video. Here is holocaust-revisionist Scott Lively speaking at a workshop at New Generations church in Riga, Latvia last March.

YouTube Preview Image

This is what the extremists of No Pride Riga are spreading.

American Anti-Gay Extremists In Collusion With Riga Pride Opponents

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2007

Last weekend, we watched in horror as anti-gay violence broke out with police backing in the streets of Moscow during a peaceful demonstration. This weekend, all eyes will turn to Riga, Latvia, for their third Riga Pride. No Pride Riga, which staunchly (and in the past, violently) opposes Riga Pride, has warned on its web site that foreigners should stay away. But UK Gay News reports that they aren’t following their own advice.

American Scott Lively, author of the holocaust-revisionist book, The Pink Swastika is already in Riga. Lively goes beyond the small cadre of anti-gay extremists who deny that gays were victims of the holocaust. He claims that ‘homosexualism’ itself was responsible for the rise of the Nazi party and led directly to the Holocaust. He writes that “homosexuality is primarily a predatory addiction striving to take the weak and unsuspecting down with it.”

Despite the crackpot theories manufactured largely from rumor, conjecture and the recycling of popular myths, Lively’s book has become something of a best seller. It’s now in its fourth edition. While it has been dismissed by historians, it has gained a significant following among anti-gay activists, particularly among European neo-Nazi groups who have been responsible for several anti-gay assaults in recent years.

Lively has been active in Latvia recently. On March 21st, he was invited to speak at a Kaunas Police Academy about “the effects of sexual ‘freedom’ that is promoted by the homosexual movement.”

Another American anti-gay extremist rumored to be in Riga is Rev. Ken Hutcherson, of Redmond, Washington’s Antioch Bible Church. You may remember him for persuading Microsoft in 2005 to withdraw support for bill before the Washington state legislature that would have made it illegal to fire an employee due to their sexual orientation. After a huge outcry, Microsoft reversed its decision.

In recent years, Hutcherson has formed an alliance with Seattle- and Sacramento-area Slavic evangelical churches, as well as Latvian pastor Aleksey Ledyaev of Riga’s New Generation megachurch. Both Lively and Hutcherson were in Riga in March to speak at New Generation during Sunday services. It was on this visit that Hutcherson claimed to speak as a “special envoy” of President George W. Bush, a claim that was denied by the White House. Janis Smits, chairperson of the Latvian Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, was among the dignitaries who attended the anti-gay rally and spoke at the event. Also attending were Janis Pujats, Cardinal of the Latvian Roman Catholic Church; Inta Feldmane, member of Parliament; and Aina Krukle, representative of the Riga City Council.

Lively told that audience:

I have studied homosexual movement now for 17 years and with all responsibility state that currently Latvia a zone of intense confrontation between Christians and homosexuals…

This nation will be our main battlefield against this counter Christian culture. God gave Kenneth Hutcherson and me to see that [New Generation pastor] Alexei [Ledyaev] is the very man God placed to direct this battle, and church should support him in all respects. We are going to help you consistently and effectively to fight those who violate Christ’s rights and target his ministers for their insults.

Last year, Riga officials banned the Pride parade. Indoor events went ahead, and No Pride protesters showed up and pelted participants with excrement and eggs. Two years ago, No Pride supporters tried to physically block the path of the parade. This year, with a new administration in city hall, officials are reportedly much more proactive in providing protection for Riga Pride participants.

Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organizers of last weekend’s Moscow Pride, is hoping to be in Riga. It’s uncertain if he can make it as his own legal problems stemming from his arrest last weekend may prevent him from leaving Moscow.