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Posts for November, 2007

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”

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.

Watchmen Wrap-up

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2007

The Watchmen On the Walls are trying to get their last impressions in on their conference last weekend in Lynnwood, Washington. While they had anticipated that about 600-700 people would attend the conference at the Lynnwood Convention center, only about 100 people actually showed up.

Now, ordinarily such a dismal showing would be seen as something of a failure. According to news reports, there appeared to be more protesters outside the conference hall than inside. But the Watchmen are gamely putting a triumphant face on the whole thing.

Alexei LedyaevLatvian pastor Alexei Ledyaev put it this way:

I am very pleased with the way in which the conference took place in California and Washington. Surprisingly, the news media attack on the Watchmen in Washington has made us popular, and has brought us many new friends. … I am sure that next year there will be an even better Watchmen conference.

Taking the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity, they appeared to have been especially pleased to have been on television this time. Sergei Prihodko, US Coordinator for the Watchmen, claimed that “according to some estimates,” the publicity was worth half a million dollars.

Let’s see… Half a million, divided by a hundred people…

But despite all the attention, the Watchmen could not avoid their ominous rhetoric. The Stranger’s Eli Sanders observed:

Next Lively offers a disclaimer: “We do not promote or condone violence.” It’s quickly followed by more defiance: “We do not apologize for opposing homosexuality because it is morally, physically, psychologically, and socially wrong, unnatural, and harmful.” Technically, Lively’s statements do stop short of explicit calls to violent action, but they clearly lay the foundation upon which an impressionable and/or agitated mind could come to the conclusion that violence might be necessary to defend the Watchmen from their “enemies.”

Ken HutchersonAnd while it’s true that Lively, Ken Hutcherson, and others issued statements claiming that violence was not being promoted, there were some glaring inconsistencies. For example, Hutcherson said this about violence:

We have law enforcement, we have the police, and we have those who would say no that is wrong. And we have the responsibility if anyone is trying to take it that far to tell them that is absolutely wrong. That is not what the Bible teach. We’re not going to stand on anything the Bible doesn’t teach.

But holocaust revisionist and Watchman co-founder Scott Lively himself twisted the facts about Satendar Singh’s murder to paint the assailants in a sympathetic light before a Watchmen conference last August in Novosibirsk. What’s more, Lively has shown a violent streak himself. The SPLC reports that Lively was ordered by a court in 1991 to pay $20,000 to a lesbian photojournalist who he dragged by the hair through the halls of a Portland church.

Vlad KusakinAnd then there’s this ominous statement from another prominent Watchman, Vlad Kusakin:

“All of the events that happened during the week before the conference look like a filthy provocation. There was an incredible stir in media. We were accused of everything. Of hatred, of ties with the KKK, of incitement to murder! Someone has thrown this hoax in to gain political points. So far I can not tell for sure, but it looks like the root of this provocation lies somewhere in Latvia, and soon we will make all efforts to find this source and present to the public those real instigators and racists who wanted to provoke a conflict in Seattle.”

But if Mr. Kusakin really wants to find the “source” rather than a scapegoat, he needs to look no further than the Watchmen’s own web site.

The Watchmen: Protections for LGBT Youth Worse Than Holocaust Furnaces

Jim Burroway

October 18th, 2007

Earlier this week, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed several pieces of legislation which improves the rights of LGBT residents of that state. Much of that legislation is designed to protect students from harassment and bullying in public schools by making sure teachers and school administrators fully understand their responsibilities to protect youth.

These protections for LGBT youth have generated howls of protest among leading anti-gay activists. Not the least of them are the Watchmen On the Walls, an emerging international anti-gay extremist group we’ve been monitoring recently. The Watchmen will be meeting in Lynnewood, Washington this weekend. We’ve already offered a preview of some of the virulent, hate-inducing rhetoric emanating from that group from a Watchmen conference held last August in Novosibirsk.

Another glimpse into what we might find at the upcoming confab can be found in last weekend’s Watchmen gathering in Sacramento to protest the governor’s latest moves. For example, Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families spoke at that Watchmen meeting and said that the new laws in California will leave children “morally raped” in the classroom. And then there’s this, from a translation of the Watchmen’s Russian-language web site:

Vlad Kusakin, human rights activist and owner of “The Speaker” media holding company, told the audience: “Now it’s time to rescue our children from the public schools as from a hellish furnace. Just like one who would prescribe the burning of kids in the Nazi’s concentration camps furnaces, now 65 years later Arnold Schwarzenegger opened furnaces which are even worse for our children by his signature. Pray and fast for the kids and families of California and take your kids out of public schools”.

We earlier reported on Scott Lively’s influence in the Slavic-American evangelical community. That influence comes mainly from his book, The Pink Swastika, where he blames gay people as being behind the formation of the Nazi Party and carrying out the Holocaust. This theory has been readily accepted among a population who suffered mightily at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. You can see this reflected in Kusakin’s remarks.

Lively, who with Seattle-area pastor Kenneth Hutcherson, and Riga, Latvia megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev, founded the Watchmen. Lively also spoke in Sacramento. Again, according to the Russian language web site:

Scott Lively, human rights activist, historian and lawyer, stated that “in American legislatures there are ways to pass, as well as to repeal, any law. Therefore, the only thing we’re lacking in the struggle for Judeo-Christian morality is the unity of the churches and the courage of clergy. Let’s put away our denominational ambitions and unite our prayers and efforts for the sake of rescuing the civilization.”

George Neverov cited statistics on deaths and diseases among homosexuals, and he also demonstrated that 3% of population is dictating the moral principles of life for the rest of overwhelming majority: “For how long shall we cowardly bend before a morality that is alien to us? For how long shall we swallow all that loathsome stuff that is imposed on us by immoral law-makers and minorities? When, O Church, will you raise in prayer and spiritual battle over the land that is entrusted to you?”

Ken Hutchison dismissed objections to the Watchmen’s violent rhetoric, telling The Seattle Times: “You’re going to have extremists on any aspect on any teaching.” But these extremists aren’t just some fringe part of the Watchmen movement. Lively and Kusakin, along with Hutcherson, are among the most prominent U.S.-based leaders. In the Watchmen world, these guys don’t represent the extremes; they’re at the very the core of the movement.

The SPLC’s Casey Sanchez reported that the Watchmen “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.” Maybe it’s time we learned a little Russian.

Thanks to Ruslan Porshnev for his help with the translations.

From Novosibirsk To Lynnwood

International hate group Watchmen on the Walls will gather in Lynnwood, Washington Oct 19-21. Their conference in Novosibirsk last August may provide a provocative preview.

Jim Burroway

October 14th, 2007

Watchmen on the Wall’s Ad

The international anti-gay extremist group Watchmen on the Walls will hold a conference in Lynnwood, Washington October 19 through 21. Unfortunately, the Lynnwood Convention Center doesn’t appear to know who they are dealing with:

The venue is owned by the Lynnwood Public Facilities District, a public taxing district that operates the convention center but is separate from the city.

“Our understanding is that they’re law-abiding. They have a right of free speech just like any other group,” said Mike Echelbarger, the board’s chairman.

“If we were talking about the (Ku Klux Klan) we’d have a totally different take on it. Of course we wouldn’t rent to the KKK,” he said.

Of course, they wouldn’t rent to the KKK. But as we reported earlier, they may as well. The rhetoric the Watchman use has often been violent, using the rhetoric of warfare in their speeches and writings. Founded by Redmond, Washington by preacher Kenneth Hutcherson, holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev, Watchmen on the Walls have gained a tremendous amount of influence in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia. Ledyaev’s fomenting of anti-gay hatred in Riga, Latvia led to violence when skinhead and other demonstrators threw excrement and eggs at Gay Pride participants in 2006.

And as the SPLC recently reported, the Watchmen also represent an increasingly violent anti-gay movement among Slavic evangelical immigrants in several U.S. cities which have previously been known as being gay friendly. In July 2007, a group of Russian-speaking men killed Satendar Singh, a 26-year-old gay Fijian of Indian near Sacramento, California. Two men, Andrey Vusik, 29, and Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21 were charged in connection with Singh’s death. Vusik fled to Russian in July and is being sought by the FBI. Ledyaev and Lively have refused to publicly condemn the killing.

Scott Lively (right) at the Watchmen conference in Novosibirsk

Scott Lively (right) at the Watchmen conference in Novosibirsk, Aug 16-19.

I recently learned that the Watchmen held a conference last August in the Siberian capital of Novosibirsk in the Russian Federation. Scott Lively appeared at that conference, where he described Singh’s killing to his Russian audience his way:

Now, I’ve been working with the Russian community in Sacramento. And I want to tell you this is an example of how bad things are in the United States. Because we’ve come to a place in the United States where the homosexuals have achieved very high power. And they’ve begun to punish… They’ve begun to cause the political powers to punish anyone who says that homosexuality is wrong.

There was a situation in Sacramento a few weeks ago in a public park. There was a group of homosexuals and they were very drunk and one of the homosexual men was taking off his pants. And there were children in the park. And a Russian man went over to these homosexuals and he was rebuking them and there started a fight. And the Russian man punched the homosexual. [The audience starts to shout and applaud.] No, no, no, don’t… The man was very drunk… the homosexual was very drunk. He was very drunk and he fell down and he hit his head and he died. [Some in the audience start to applaud and laugh] No…. no…

Now the Russian man has been accused of murder and the FBI is seeking him. And all of the powers in Sacramento have been accusing all of the Russian community of being murderers. And the goal is to silence everyone who speaks against homosexuality. And this is a very dangerous situation because we don’t want homosexuals to be killed. We want them to be saved. Amen?

Do you feel the love?

Scott Lively’s fame in the Slavic-American evangelical community stems from his book, The Pink Swastika, where he blames the rise of Nazism in Germany on gays. This theory has been readily accepted among a population who suffered mightily at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. In a June 23, 2003 letter to the Washington Times, Lively wrote that “No clear-thinking person believes that the homosexual sexual ethic and that of the family-based society can peacefully coexist. …One must prevail at the expense of the other.” He repeated and expanded that war rhetoric in his remarks in Novosibirsk:

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.

This is a war you haven’t seen yet. You’ve only seen a little bit of it, because Russia had been protected against the homosexual movement by the Communists. One of the few good things that the Soviet Union did is that it stopped the sexual revolution from infecting the Russian people. But all across the West, the sexual revolution changed the culture of the nations. The sexual revolution embraces the idea that there should be no limits on sexual conduct.

And this is the design of the Devil to destroy civilization, because civilization is based on the natural family. One man and one woman united in marriage bringing children into the world and training them to replace them in the next generation. That’s the foundation of civilization and the heart of Christian living.

And in the United States where the sexual revolution began, it was the homosexual political movement that designed this strategy to attack Christianity. The homosexual movement teaches sexual freedom, and its first target is the heterosexual people. The homosexual activists stayed hidden but they taught this philosophy through their activists. And out of the philosophy came the principalities and powers that is destroying the West: The pornography industry, the abortion industry, and the destruction of marriage through divorce.

These things are the product of a way of thinking. They deny the Truth of God. They deny the design of God for human beings. And their purpose is the change the cultures of the world.

Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization. And Watchmen on the Walls is an organization to fight against this collapse. Watchmen On the Walls is an organization of men and women with courage, who will stand on the Truth of God and without compromise demand that the culture will follow the guidance of God. That marriage and family must be held at the highest level.

Ken Hutcherson has been equally blunt with the war rhetoric, telling the Seattle Times last January, “We better wake up. This is a war.” Hutcherson went to Latvia last March to speak at Ledyaev’s church in preparation for this year’s Pride celebrations. While there, he claimed that he was speaking on behalf of President Bush, saying that the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives named him “Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.” When the Seattle Stranger asked the White House about it, spokeswoman Alyssa J. McLenninghen said nobody gave Hutcherson any such title or authority to speak on behalf of the White House. Hutcherson promised to prove his status by producing video of him being given the “power,” but no such proof has surfaced.

According to a translation of the Watchmen On the Walls website, Vlad Kusakin says the conference in Lynnwood is intended to promote the “protection of traditional Christian and moral values, which, owing to the liberalization of mores are under threat of extinction.” Kusakin is the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle. He is also one of the speakers at the conference. Scott Lively rallied his Novosibirsk audience with a similar mandate:

If we allow the people who hate God to take control of all the centers of power, then they will change all of the rules and they will put barriers in the way of the Gospel. They will prevent us from telling the truth to the people around us. But if the people of God can step forward and take control of the centers of power, then we can make the rules work in favor of the Gospel. We can use the government to help us tell the message of Jesus Christ. And we must do this!

Hat tips: Ruslan Porshnev and BTB reader Tom.

See also:

Ever Wonder What Anti-Gay Hatred Sounds Like In Russian? — for video of Scott Lively’s talk last August in Novosibirsk.
The Watchmen: Protections for LGBT Youth Worse Than Holocaust Furnaces