More on Uganda Anti-Gay Vigilante Incitement
March 25th, 2009
A man shocked parents on Sunday when he confessed to recruiting school children into homosexuality as part of a programme to promote the practice in Ugandan schools.
George Oundo said funders gave them “much money” and training abroad and that he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuition and pocket money and “others who like outings.”
Oundo describes a rather structured effort
Oundo said he got seriously involved in promoting homosexuality in 2003. “I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools,” he explained.
And Oundo identifies the culprits
The training, he said, was facilitated by Gay and Lesbian Coalition. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he asserted.
Oundo said homosexuality was spread by international human rights organisations.
In the West most readers would recognize this as rather outlandish and not be quick to believe Oundo’s statements. Uganda, however, is fertile ground for these statements and it is almost certain that this seed will grow vines.
It is difficult to know the motivation for Oundo’s actions and statements. But perhaps it helps to know that Oundo was a gay activist who in September was arrested for “recruiting homosexuals”, beaten, denied food and medication, and held for several days until international pressure from human rights organization led to their release. I think that it is likely not coincidental that Oundo’s statements now vindicate the police claim and vilify the human rights groups.
The Christian community in Uganda has now declared war on the lives of gay men and women in that county. And they have been abetted by American leaders in the anti-gay and ex-gay ministries.
Sadly, these Americans wish to pretend that their actions have no consequences, that they were just presenting “a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality” to the world and that they bear no responsibility for any blood shed as a direct result of their anti-gay missionary efforts.
And make no mistake, there will be blood shed.
Other pastors yesterday told journalists in Kampala the war against sodomy would be long and challenging but must be fought.
In Uganda, “war” is not engaged by polite discourse and ballot box propositions.
It is not often in life that we experience real evil. But I do not hesitate to state that the participation of Exodus International in this conference and the justification of this anti-gay incitement by its president, Alan Chambers, is truly evil.
From Kampala to Temecula: Scott Lively To Speak At California Republican Club
March 25th, 2009
Casey Sanchez reports that Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively will speak at the The Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly on April 3. The group is a local chapter of the conservative GOP activist group California Republican Assembly. They’re pretty proud of their guest speaker, who they describe as “The Pastor Vilified by the Newspapers as a Hater Because of his stand Against the Promotion of Homosexuality in our Culture”.
Lively called Temecula home for many years before relocating himself and his Abiding Truth Ministries to Springfield, Massachusetts last year.
Update: The golf clubhouse where the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly was to hold its meeting has cancelled the group’s reservation. The group will now probably meet in a private home.
Another Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign May Have Begun In Uganda
Three television stations, two newspapers reporting senstional allegations.
March 25th, 2009
Two newspaper (so far) and three television stations in Uganda have reported on a sensationalistic press conference organized by Stephen Langa, director of Kampala-based Family Life Networks, which appears to be the start of a fresh public anti-gay vigilante campaign.
The Ugandan media is continuing to take notice of the recent anti-gay conferences and meetings which have been taking place in Kampala the past few weeks. The most recent meeting was held on March 22. These series of meetings were instigated by a three-day conference organized by Langa and featured talks by three American anti-gay activists, including Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.
Ugandan news media have been issuing regular reports of that conference and two follow-up meetings which have been held on successive Sundays since then. The latest one from Uganda Pulse reported on a press conference held today:
Parents in Uganda have expressed concern over the increasing levels of homosexuality, defilement and sexual harassments of children. The parents under the Family Life Network (FLN) says that information revealed from several reliable sources indicates that many children in schools are facing horror, frustration, mental and psychological torture for being cajoled into homosexuality.
FLN’s Executive Director, Langa Steven say [sic] that there are agents involved in recruiting children into homosexuality and lesbianism. Langa says that these suspected groups take advantages children by using deception, manipulation and coercion.
Pastor Joseph Male who addressed a press conference in Kampala with Langa also says that findings show that immorality groups are recruiting children into homosexuality. He says these homosexual promoters hide behind human rights organization and claim to be protecting sex minorities Uganda.
Pastor Male claims that these groups spend about 2,000,000 per week to recruit university students into homosexuality and lesbianism.
Another news outlet, New Vision, reported:
EIGHT more men yesterday confessed involvement in homosexuality and gay activities, which they said they had abandoned. Speaking to journalists at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, the youthful men described homosexuality as abnormal and anti-Christian, and declared war against it.
The tough-talking men were accompanied by George Oundo, who earlier in the week denounced homosexuality and confessed recruiting school children into the practice.
“We have been involved in recruiting homosexuals, spreading the gospel of homosexuality, and we know the operations of homosexuals,” said 27-year-old Emma Matovu, who took to homosexuality 13 years ago. “We shall do all it takes to eliminate the practice in Uganda.”
Matovu, who said he abandoned the practice two weeks ago, asserted: “Homosexuality is dangerous and dehumanising but is growing fast in Uganda.”
According to the New Vision article, the press conference was organized by — you guessed it — Stephen Langa, the same pastor who hosted the three American anti-gay activists during the first week of March.
Past campaigns of anti-gay vigilantism have called out gays by name and description in the public media. This looks disturbingly like the start of a new campaign:
Oundo said the eight men would fight the vice because they were victims with a tormenting experience. “We shall expose those who refuse to abandon the practice and we shall not be intimidated because we are protected by Jesus,” he asserted. “We know their operations, including a restaurant in the city centre where homosexuals wait for clients from nearby hotels.”
He urged his former partners to abandon the practice, saying Uganda should become a role model in fighting the “barbarism”.
He called on Juliet Mukasa, the head of the Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, a gay rights activist and headmaster Kisule (other name withheld) to abandon the practice.
…Addressing the press conference, Family Life Network chief Stephen Langa read a statement from parents and concerned citizens, urging the Government to establish a probe to assess the prevalence of homosexuality in Uganda.
The anonymous blogger GayUganda has posted a series of panicked short posts about the news conference which was shown on three national television stations. These latest developments have him understandably nervous:
Our nice, confortable closet is well and truly blown apart. In a homophobic country, our anonymity is torn up, and we are being accused of the most heinous of crimes. We are recruiting, and teaching children homosexuality.
Damage control now is a necessity. What will follow?
Is funny that the lies and sensationalism has so caught up everyone that it is impossible for us to insist that these are lies. The lesson of history. Tell a lie about a small unpopular group, and you are able to sustain the conversation with bigger and bigger lies. Think the Hutus in Rwanda. Jews in Germany…! Stretching the point? Am I?
A witch hunt. Very possible.
Some interesting outings? Possible.
How long will I be able to continue blogging? How safe is my blogging?
But we have survived adversity before now. We will survive even this. Will kind of mean that some of us will have to stand up and take the heat. Problem may be jobs and other things. Can we beat the taint of evil? Homosexuals recruiting! Oh well.
Tough days ahead.
The papers tomorrow will be interesting. Watch this space.
(Remember some prayers for those who are outed, whether or not they are gay!)
Indeed. Remember some prayers.
Scott Lively: Following The Money
March 25th, 2009
How is a well-known Holocaust revisionist able to gain so much cooperation among other anti-gay groups? Let’s follow the money.
Lively’s Pro Family Charitable Trust is an arm of his Abiding Truth Ministries, which is one of only twelve anti-gay hate groups listed by the the SPLC. A quick look at the trust’s contributions tell an interesting story:
- NARTH received three grants totalling $2000.
- The Jewish ex-gay group JONAH received a grant for $500.
- Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation received a grant for $500.
- Peter LaBarbera received two grants totally $2000.
- Watchmen On the Walls, a group that was co-founded by Lively, received a grant for $500. The Watchmen are also listed among the SPLC’s twelve anti-gay hate groups.
- Paul Cameron’s Family Research Institute received a grant for $300. The FRI is another of the SPLC’s anti-gay hate groups.
- Exodus-Affiliated ministries receiving grants include Living Stones Ministry ($250), HIS Ministry ($500), and PFOX ($750).
- Other notable recipients include San Diego ex-gay gadfly James Hartline ($500), Stephen Bennett ($500) and Linda Harvey’s web site, Mission America ($400).
These must be considered minimum sums. The top grant is described as being the 31st grant on a page which only lists 28 grants, so this is clearly not a complete list.
It also appears not to be an up-to-date one either. Abiding Truth Ministry’s 2007 IRS 990 form (PDF; registration required) from Guidestar.org lists:
- an additional grant of $750 to Linda Harvey’s Mission America,
- an additional grant of $300 to James Hartline
- a grant of $1750 to the Pro Family Law Center in Temecula, California, a project of Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries.
Some of these values may not look like much, but most of these groups operate on a shoestring budget. Some are little more than volunteer operations much like our own vast conspiracy here at BTB (which consists only of a web site and four volunteers). So to many of these outfits, these contributions can be significant. Maybe that’s why Peter LaBarbera has been carrying Lively’s water the past few weeks.
[Hat tip: Warren Throckmorton]
Schmierer’s & Lively’s Uganda Talks Continue to Reverberate
March 23rd, 2009
We mentioned earlier that there would be a follow-up meeting for the anti-gay conference held by three American activists, including Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus board member Don Schmierer. A follow-up meeting was called for March 15. The anonymous blogger Gay Uganda has posted an eyewitness account of that meeting.
Stephen Langa, of the Kampala-based Family Life Network was the principal speaker at the follow-up meeting. For the first part of his talk, he channeled the false pseudoscience of Exodus Board member Don Schmierer and Richard Cohen, a so-called “coach” who has been banned for life by the American Counseling Association. Gay Uganda’s anonymous eyewitness reported:
In his presentation Stephan Langa said homosexuality is not about sex, it is about the search for a fatherly or motherly figure. Children with bad parenting end up becoming homosexuals as they search for mother’s or father’s love.
He also mentioned another cause of homosexuality as child abuse; he said that the homosexuals he has counseled have been abused as children. He sited broken families as another cause of homosexuality.
He mentioned domineering mothers and abusive fathers as another cause of homosexuality, as well as negligent father who are emotionally off with children. Exposure to pornography as another cause of homosexuality.
He said some people are lured into homosexuality by money and other social favors
Rebellion, he said some children become homosexuals because they want to be rebellious, noting that homosexuality is some kind of rebellion.
He also said same sex attraction is a disorder and quoted: Richard Cohen MA. He emphasized the point that all homosexuals can change since all disorders can be changed. Homosexuality is not genetical, it is a learned behavior and what is learned can be unlearned. (Richard Cohen MA.)
These discredited theories, of course, run counter to a significant body of science which has investigated various aspects of the origins of homosexuality. But then, as Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who defends the right of practitioners to offer sexual identity therapy, points out, “This coalition is not dedicated to ministry but political engagement.”
And an important part of the political movement’s tactics has been to emphasize heavily the allegations that children are recruited into the “homosexual lifestyle” through sexual abuse. These allegations were on prominent display at the follow-up meeting. In the clearest use of the allegation, Langa repeated Lively’s fanciful history of the gay rights movement:
He talked about Henry Garber, who was a German American soldier in 1924, that Henry Garber sodomized Champ Simmons and Champ Simmons Sodomized Harry Hay. Then Harry Hay started the whole gay movement that gays follow to date. Source: The PINK SWASTIKA – Dr. Scott Lively.
One might be forgiven if they thought that Langa had grossly overly simplified Lively’s history. But on page 150 of The Pink Swastika, Lively provides almost exactly this perverse “genealogy” in just two short sentences: “This ‘peculiar fact’ was that the man who recruited (Harry) Hay into homosexuality (at age seventeen), Champ Simmons, was himself seduced by a former member of the SHR. In a perverse sort of way, then, it seems appropriate that Hay would become known as ‘The Father of the Modern Gay Movement’.” (The SHR, or The Society of Human Rights, was founded in Chicago by Henry Gerber.)
Langa’s presentation of “the gay agenda” followed on these same lines, with repeated emphasis on the false link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse. The so-called agenda began with, “They focus on who they are and what they want. They are after your children.” And it ended with, “They don’t care about you adults they want your sons and your daughters.” The repeated warning of being “after your children,” is especially troubling given that it was an incessant refrain in past Ugandan anti-gay vigilante campaigns. Reactions from the audience, therefore were predictable:
We should investigate homosexuality in Uganda
…Recruit people to become activities against homosexuality, in this case people with in the audience volunteered to be members….Find out what or who is making homosexuality prominent in Uganda.
There are many dangers and anti – social behaviors in schools which are not talked about. This was mentioned while refereeing to head teachers / teachers who are homosexuals. An emphasis that homosexual teachers should be stopped from teaching.
Participants emphasized life career developments and moral uprightness in schools The need for a strategic plan to train, teachers to identify children practicing homosexuality. The laws on homosexuality are weak, hence the need to strengthen these laws.
Parents were encouraged to participant in law making decisions in Uganda so that to strengthen the laws on homosexuality
To establish a unit at Police to deal with homosexuality
At one point in the meeting, there was this disturbing development:
…During the reactions a prominent pastor also said that they have been talking with an ex gay activist who has given them a five year plan for the gay agenda in Uganda. And they have submitted this plan to the ministry concerned, that they await reactions.
Is Exodus Board member Don Schmierer the “ex gay activist” with a five year plan? Exodus has been recklessly silent over their board member’s involvement in the conference alongside a well-known holocaust revisionist and two-time entrant on the SPLC’s hate groups list. And Exodus’ silence continues to facilitate the chain of events that their board member has set into motion, events which may well lead to increased dangers for LGBT citizens of Uganda. Already, in this account the tensions appear to be close to the boiling point:
A participant asked a liberal question on issues of sexuality: You have associated homosexuality with all evils, defiles, child molesters etc don’t you think that also heterosexuals defile or molest our children why don’t you address this issue as well. He was answered: We are here to talk about homosexuality, do not divert us. After this question he was intimated, almost thrown out of the meeting.
The meeting ended with calls to “tighten the law on homosexuality.” One participant told the audience that parliament was drafting a new law that “will be tough on homosexuals.” Conviction of homosexual acts in Uganda already carry the threat of a life sentence. Another meeting was called for yesterday, March 22.
Don Schmierer and Scott Lively have set in motion a chain of events which have not yet played themselves out. And Exodus remains irresponsibly silent as these events continue to unfold. We will continue to watch events in Uganda very closely, and we will hold Exodus accountable for their role in lending their name to legitimize these developments.
NARTH Scrubs Lively From Web Site, Cameron Remains
March 17th, 2009
Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton noticed Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively’s letter to the Russian People (where Lively advocated for the criminalization of “the public advocacy of homosexuality”), where Lively recommended “a large association of doctors and therapists in the United States who help homosexuals to recover (see www.narth.com)”. That got Dr. Throckmorton thinking:
Lively’s referral to NARTH made me wonder if NARTH incorporated his views in a similar manner.
Until yesterday, the answer was yes. There were six references to Mr. Lively on the NARTH website. I asked Dave Pruden if NARTH supported the positions Mr. Lively stated above (criminalization, therapy as an option to jail and limits on free speech), and he reacted quickly to remove all but one reference to his past involvement with NARTH.
That remaining reference was to PDF version of a 2005 NARTH conference report in which it was briefly noted that Scott Lively spoke during a luncheon. The PDF version of the report retains Lively’s comments, but a separate HTML web page containing the same article was scrubbed. The original version contained this paragraph:
Also during the luncheon, attorney Scott Lively noted that NARTH’s critics are supported by tens of millions of dollars from foundations on the left, which effectively permits them to “steer the culture through grants.” In an effort to begin reversing that trend, he recently created the Pro-Family Endowment, with one of its initial grants being made to NARTH.
According to Throckmorton, Pruden said that Lively “was not invited by NARTH to speak at the 2005 luncheon but instead asked for time to make the presentation and was granted permission.” Throckmorton also said that Pruden determined that “Mr. Lively’s views are not consistent with the policies and views of NARTH,” and took down the remaining articles in response to the inquiry.
One of those articles was a book review for Lively’s Take Back the Schools, which was touted as “the latest addition to NARTH’s Irving Bieber Memorial Library.” The name of the book reviewer is not listed. I wonder if the book is still in NARTH’s library. One other article, “‘Gay Days’ at Santa Rosa High” by Scott Lively continued on the same theme as the book review, while another article, “Public Schools Face Growing Demands from Gay Activists” featured an extensive quote from Lively.
Two other articles remain active, but were edited to eliminate references to Lively. In addition to the web page on the 2005 NARTH conference report, Joseph Nicolosi’s “Interview with a Parents’ Rights Activist: Brian Camenker” was edited to remove the line indicated in boldface:
BC: …One of the things for which I’ve looked to NARTH, is help in getting the scientific facts together. I really enjoyed a book by one of your Scientific Advisory Board members, Jeffrey Satinover. His Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth has been very important to us. I also liked both of Scott Lively’s books…very good. That’s what I find is very powerful–when you confront people with the truth.
I’m actually somewhat conflicted over this edit. While I’m glad that this endorsement is now gone from NARTH’s web site, having this statement available nevertheless tells me everything I need to know about Brian Camenker’s character and judgment. But in the end, it’s removal is good from the standpoint of NARTH appearance of condoning Lively’s policies or theories.
It’s important to note that NARTH continues to carry multiple links to Paul Cameron’s discredited work on their web site. Cameron, you may recall, has his own unique take on homosexuality in Nazi Germany, one in which he admires how concentration camp commandant Rudolph Höss “dealt with homosexuality.” NARTH’s most recent Cameron citation was in an article printed in NARTH’s 2007 conference report, which isn’t available online.
It’s fascinating to note that one Holocaust revisionist has become an embarrassment to NARTH while another one still remains well linked on NARTH’s web site and publications. I guess another way of looking at it is that Scott Lively is now more of an embarrassment to NARTH than a psychologist who has been denounced by four separate U.S. professional organizations.
Lively Defends Forced Therapy Proposal
March 17th, 2009
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.
When Good Men Do Nothing
March 16th, 2009
Anti-gay activists are not all cut from the same cloth. There’s a broad spectrum of behavior among them, from the well-reasoned and considerate to the dangerously crazy. One can imagine a hierarchy of sorts: Those at the top of the hierarchy are the more reasonable ones who can generally see gays and lesbians as human beings and can usually address the debates with honesty and integrity, even as they continue to oppose policy proposals which are important for LGBT people. Only a few examples come to mind which fit that description (David Blankenhorn would be one). The most visible LGBT opponents, like Focus On the Family or the Family Research Council, sit recognizably below that top notch, but they are nevertheless well above the bottom rung of this hierarchy.
Now don’t get me wrong. Focus and FRC certainly fight against us at every turn, and they aren’t above lying and distorting to try to get their way. But one can imagine that there are steps they will not take, steps that those at the very bottom of our hierarchy have no qualms about taking.
Those who anchor themselves firmly at the bottom include those who have called for our execution (Paul Cameron), who rejoiced in our deaths (Fred Phelps), who excuse those who have killed some among us (Scott Lively), who tell everyone who will listen that the Nazi movement was a fully homosexual one (Lively, again), that it was the gay Nazis and not straight Nazis who harbored a special animosity towards Germany’s Jews (ditto), or that gay activists are all secret fascists determined to remake the world in the image of Nazi Germany (ditto again).
In other words, there are those whose purpose it is to stoke the fears and visceral hatred of ordinary people to prod them into doing the most extraordinary, horrific things — whether its killing a gay immigrant in Sacramento, flinging feces at gay worshipers at a church in Latvia, or hunting down LGBT people on the streets in Uganda.
However much we disagree with Exodus, FOTF, FRC and others, we must at least grudgingly recognize that there are many things which are beneath them.
Hatred Is An Extraordinary Thing
It is that recognition of this hierarchy of opposition which leads us here at BTB to refrain from using the word “hate” wherever possible. We use that word to describe people’s motivations only under the most rare and extraordinary circumstances because we recognize that the evil of hatred in its purest form is a most rare and extraordinary thing.
The Southern Poverty Law Center agrees. They list only twelve anti-gay hate groups across the country. Notice that Exodus, FOTF and FRC are not listed. That’s because the SPLC doesn’t label just anybody as a hate group based on policy positions. To be listed, the group must “go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.”
There are only twelve groups on the SPLC’s list, which suggests to me that it’s pretty easy to avoid landing on it. But one man bears the unusual distinction of appearing on the list twice. Scott Lively is Abiding Truth Ministries, and he is also a co-founder of Watchmen On the Walls. As far as I know, he’s the only person to have inaugurated one-sixth of all the SPLC’s listed anti-gay hate groups in America. One really has to go out of one’s way to earn that rare position, but Lively has well earned his place.
Exodus International however has operated in a very different mode from Lively’s. They’ve tended to operate somewhere nearer to the Focus On the Family territory rather than than the Traditional Values Coalition territory in my anti-gay hierarchy. Exodus has worked vigorously against gay-supportive policy proposals, sometimes being less than candid about their own movement in the process. And Exodus International president Alan Chambers isn’t above deploying in a bit of rabble-rousing himself. When he spoke at the Family Impact Summit in 2006, Chambers described gay advocates as following an “evil agenda” while reminding his audience of the famous warning attributed to Edmund Burke: all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
But for the most part, Exodus tends to shy away from alarmist rhetoric, preferring instead to present a shiny, agreeable face for the ex-gay movement. While they’re not averse to the politics of personal vilification in front of selected audiences away from the spotlight, they’ve avoided completely immersing themselves in it to the degree that Lively has with such consistency.
Chambers: “I Do Care How People Are Impacted By My Words”
In early 2008, New Direction Executive Director Wendy Gritter gave a profound keynote address at the Exodus Leadership Conference, which she followed up with a heartfelt essay on Ex-Gay Watch. Wendy pointed to the distractions that politics placed on their work in the ex-gay movement, and she called upon ministries to become “pastorally-focused, not politically driven.” She also called on ex-gay leaders to express remorse for the harms they had done to clients and others in the gay community. Chambers, who just a few months earlier gave his rousing talk at the Family Impact Summit, appeared to have been touched by Wendy’s words, particularly in how the ex-gay movement impacts the gay community:
“What is said by gay activists is not lost on me. I do care how people are impacted by my words, actions and ministry. Ironically, I know the Lord uses every voice, suggestion, encouragement and criticism to shape me.”
That’s not to say the Exodus changed much since then. Despite eliminating the position of Director of Governmental Affairs, Exodus remains as engaged in the culture war today as it ever was. And yet for all of our vigorous disagreements with Exodus International, we believed that there were still places that Exodus would not go. Places too — dare I say it? — hateful for Exodus to enter.
I’ve heard Alan Chambers publicly denounce the hatred — yes, I said it — of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church. He has done it in front of ex-gay audiences, and he did it at the much more hard-line Family Impact Summit — the same venue where Chambers delivered his “evil agenda” line. I personally witnessed Chambers denounce Phelps both without reservation and with conviction in front of an audience which, frankly, was only a little more moderate than a roomful of Phelps’s (judging by how many in the audience who were uncomfortably fidgeting with their Blackberrys as Chambers spoke). This tells me that Chambers recognizes that people are impacted not just by his words, but by Phelps’ words and others’ as well.
Exodus Board Member Don Schmierer worked alongside Lively in Kampala last week at a conference which lauded Uganda’s draconian criminal penalties against LGBT people and recommended a reinforcement of that law by forcing LGBT people into therapy. Exodus International president Alan Chambers applauded Schmierer’s participation, saying:
Unfortunately, Uganda as a country has demonstrated severe hostility towards homosexuals supporting criminalization of homosexual behavior and proposing compulsory therapy – positions that Exodus International unequivocally denounces. It is our sincere desire to offer an alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality not just here in America, but around the world. We applaud our board member’s attempt to convey these truths to a country in need.”
The problem, of course, is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Schmierer attempted to “convey these truths.” There’s no record that Schmierer spoke up against criminalization of homosexual behavior or compulsory therapy. But he didn’t do nothing. In fact, we have it on record that Schmierer did more than nothing. He pointedly deferred to Lively when asked about whether homosexuality was natural.
There are so many things wrong with this picture, it’s hard to know where to begin. Should we be more outraged over an Exodus leader lending legitimacy to Lively’s hate-inspired revisionist history — I no longer hesitate to use the word “hate” in this context – which Lively has been energetically spreading throughout the world? Or should we focus our anger over Schmierer’s deferring to Lively instead of addressing the precarious situation LGBT people find themselves in Uganda while he was actually there and on the ground? Or should we instead remain appalled that Chambers remained silent and watched as this episode unfolded for all to see?
I’ve pretty much come to expect just about anything from Lively. His rhetoric is extremely dangerous, especially in countries like Uganda where his relentless vilification of LGBT people finds fertile ground. But I didn’t expect Schmierer to remain silent while sharing the stage with the founder of two — two!– hate groups which conduct ”campaigns of personal vilification” against an entire community. And the last thing I expected from Chambers was to see him refuse to denounce Lively.
Chambers can denounce Phelps but not Lively. Why is that? Is it because Phelps is an easily dismissed clown while Lively has considerable influence in some quarters? Is it because Phelps is harmless because he lacks a measurable following, while Lively attracts large crowds when he speaks overseas? Or is it because Phelps has denounced Exodus as sharply as Exodus has denounced Phelps, but Lively is a colleague of Seattle pastor Ken Hutcherson — another Watchmen co-founder who Chambers counts among his close friends?
Chambers’s silence in the presence of a Holocaust revisionist is shocking because, irony of ironies, it is the Holocaust itself – the very tragic historical fact that Lively skewers to vilify gay people — that warns us about the consequences of good men doing nothing.
Scott Lively and Alan Chambers Respond to Questions About Uganda Conference
March 13th, 2009
Dr. Warren Throckmorton contacted Scott Lively about the coverage of the Uganda conference in which he endorsed criminalization of homosexuality. Here is his response:
I did promote therapy as an option to imprisonment, citing my own experience benefiting from optional therapy after an arrest for drunk driving many years ago. In fact, it was during that period I accepted Christ and was spontaneously healed of alcoholism and drug addiction.
I don’t think under the circumstances homosexuality should be decriminalized in Uganda since it seems to be the only thing stopping the international “gay” juggernaut from turning Uganda into another Brazil.
He also posts the full Exodus International response.
Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, responded to reports about an Exodus board member’s participation at a conference in Uganda on homosexuality:
“Unfortunately, Uganda as a country has demonstrated severe hostility towards homosexuals supporting criminalization of homosexual behavior and proposing compulsory therapy – positions that Exodus International unequivocally denounces. It is our sincere desire to offer an alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality not just here in America, but around the world. We applaud our board member’s attempt to convey these truths to a country in need.”
I don’t trust myself to respond just yet other than to say that it would seem that Alan doesn’t know the meaning of the word “unequivocally”.
Exodus Applauds Schmierer’s Part in Uganda Conference
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.
South African LGBT Advocates Condemn Exodus
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.
Open Letter To the Exodus International Board of Directors
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.
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:
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.
Scott Lively: The Gay Agenda Is “To Turn The Whole World Gay”
March 10th, 2009
Kasha Jacqueline has reported some more statements made by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively at the anti-gay conference held in Uganda last weekend. That conference featured three anti-gay American activists, including 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.
This lastest post by Kasha at the IGLHRC web site focuses mainly on a question-and-answer session with Lively. It’s unclear to me whether this is a literal transcript or a highly detailed paraphrasing. I’ve watched Lively speak at length during multiple sessions at two other conferences. If this isn’t a transcript, then Kasha certainly did a great job at capturing Lively’s tone, manner and cadence.
On the gay movement’s tactics in Uganda and elsewhere:
They gay movement is very evil and we must stop it immediately.
You have a gay movement in Uganda that is operating at a high level, which you must bear in mind. This gay movement around the world has a handbook that they use and that is what the Ugandan gay movement is using now. You must be ready to stop this gay agenda. And don’t think that fighting the gay movement is the solution—you will be fighting a losing battle because this movement has come to stop humanity. They have a clear vision, mission and strategies. The only way to defeat them is to compete with them. Their movement is 70 years old and that’s why they don’t care about you. They know you will die soon and they will replace you and take over the nation. They have decided to recruit the youth.
You have a lot of work to do. Homosexuality is immoral and we cannot sit back and see immorality controlling nations. Homosexuality is equivalent to paedophilia in many ways. Homosexuals cannot control their sexual desires and behaviors. If all of us acted upon our desires and feelings then where would the world be? Families would break up because of adultery. People would continue to molest children, etc.
Again, Lively reinforces the charge that gays molest children as a tactic for recruitment. This, despite the evidence from experts in the field of child sexual abuse who say that gay people do not molest children at rates any different from straight people.
On the LGBT movement’s ultimate goals:
“But again why is it so important for us to stop people from becoming gay?”—a participant asked. It’s very important because the homosexual agenda is to turn the whole world gay.
Lively was asked about the World Health Organization’s scrapping of homosexuality as a mental illness. Again, he sees conspiracy:
Gay people have penetrated all international bodies to their advantage; they are the ones in all important places/positions because of their political agenda. Editors of national newspapers, TV chiefs… Remember I told you they have a very clear vision, mission and strategies, said Lively.
And finally, we cannot leave unnoticed the veiled threat which levied against gay observers at the conference by an unnamed “facilitator”:
“They are homosexuals among us updating their networks about what we are discussing. What should we do about that?”—an angry participant asked. If they are homosexuals here, feel at home, responded a facilitator. We are not against you. We love you. But if you have been planning to get us, we are planning to get you back.
It is unclear what the facilitator would consider constituting “planning to get us,” but the response of “we are planning to get you back” must be taken seriously in a country where LGBT advocates have been forced into hiding or made to flee the country. Police sweeps, public vigilantism and extrajudicial torture and deaths were common during recent anti-gay pogroms heralded by Ugandan media with close ties to the government. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and conviction can garner a life sentence.
This conference, which featured Exodus board member Don Schmierer during its first two days, has recommended an added penalty for gays and lesbians of mandatory ex-gay therapy.
Exodus Removes Link To Scott Lively From Its Web Site
March 9th, 2009
Exodus has made an adjustment to its web site. Until today, a visitor to Exodus’ web site could find a link to Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively’s article which looked like this:
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.”
Now when you look for Scott Lively’s article, it looks like this:
Homosexuality and the Nazi Party
This opinion article by Scott Lively from 1995 is no longer offered by Exodus International.
I find the link’s removal a good first step, but what remains seems rather ambiguous.
When Exodus removed their references to Paul Cameron, they did so with a retraction which reads, “This article has been removed due to the inaccuracies surrounding the research of Paul Cameron.” At the time, Exodus President Alan Chambers promised that in “coming months we will be doing a survey of the content on our site to determine… if there are other articles or links that need to be removed.” If Exodus did conduct such a survey, the Lively article apparently survived.
This time Exodus does not explain why Lively’s article was removed, which it merely identifies as an opinion piece “from 1995.” Did they remove it because it’s fourteen years old and out of date? Should people look for the article by Googling for it elsewhere? Or was it removed because it is an odious piece of Holocaust revisionism? Readers are left in the dark. Absent a clear and unequivocal denunciation of Lively, we’re somewhat in the dark as well.
EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference
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]
Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Three — Gays Blamed For Rwandan Genocide & Pedophilia; More Exodus Ties To Holocaust Revisionism
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
Exodus’ Silence About Uganda: Day Five
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.
Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy
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 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.”
Warren Throckmorton Speaks Out Against Uganda Conference
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.
International LGBT Group Expresses Concern About Uganda Conference
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.