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Posts for September, 2010

Watchmen On the Walls to Gather in Sacramento and Washington State

Jim Burroway

September 27th, 2010

Watchmen conferenceA Sacramento-area reader tipped us to this flier advertising a Watchmen On the Walls conference that is scheduled for Oct 1-3 at the New Hope Christian fellowship near Sacramento. The conference will feature Latvian pastor Alexey Ledyaev, who cofounded the Watchmen with Seattle-based pastor Ken Hutcherson, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Sacramento resident and Russian language media owner Vlad Kusakin. The Watchmen On the Walls has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of only about a dozen anti-gay hate groups.

Also appearing on the bill are Craig Carre of Gate Keepers and Alex Rykhlyuk of the Sacramento-based church Ecclesia, which mainly caters to the substantial Russian Evangelical immigrant community in Sacramento. The Russian Evangelical immigrant community has been among the most virulent anti-gay communities in California, and, along with Russian immigrants in the Seattle area, has provided leaders who have been an integral part of Watchmen On the Walls.

Alexeyev’s Riga-based megachurch, New Generation, was implicated of a violent confrontation during a Riga Pride event in 2006 when a churchmember was convicted of throwing feces at participants. Alexeyev and twenty other churchmembers were in the courtroom in support of the church member when he was convicted.

The conference is mentioned in the Watchmen’s official web site, but only in the Russian language version. That brief article mentions the Sacramento conference along with another one for Washington State in “early October.” No further details are given.

Scott Lively: Following The Money

Jim Burroway

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]

Exodus Board Member Joins Nazi Revisionist At Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2009

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

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

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

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

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

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

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

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. … Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LaBarbera Award: Scott Lively

Jim Burroway

January 27th, 2009

It doesn’t get any more disturbed than this:

Repealing the ban on open homosexuals serving in the U.S. military would be a mistake of historic proportions.” warns a Massachusetts attorney and pastor who authored a book on homosexuality in Nazi Germany….

Certainly there would be a mass exodus of normal men from a homosexualized military,” said [Scott] Lively, “probably leading to the reinstatement of compulsory service. (Watch the anti-war Lefties become supporters of the draft when it’s used to remedy “homophobia”) And yes there would be severe morale problems for normal men forced to live as the objects of sexual interest of other men with whom they share close quarters. However, the much bigger, longer-term problem is the threat of a homosexual takeover of the military branches.

Most people don’t realize that male homosexuality does not always lean to the effeminate. Historically, male homosexuality was much more often associated with hyper-masculine warrior cults which were usually very brutal and very politically aggressive. The most recent example was in Germany. Hitler’s initial power base when he launched the Nazi Party was a private homosexual military force organized and trained by a notorious pederast named Gerhard Rossbach.

We usually use this award to mock and laugh at the crazier things that are said about us. But unlike LaBarbera, Scott Lively is no mere buffoon. His influence is actually quite dangerous.

Scott Lively is the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he claims that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” In other words, it was gay people who brought World War II to Europe and killed twelve million people in the gas chambers. This book has been particularly popular among the Slavic immigrant communities of Sacramento, San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest, and it is gaining influence in Russia as well.

Scott Lively is one of the co-founders of the virulent hate group Watchmen On the Walls, along with Seattle pastor Ken Hutherson, Latvian pastor Alexey Ledyaev, and Sacramento anti-gay agitator Vlad Kusakin. Lively’s message has been received especially well among audiences in the former Soviet Union, many of whom are eager to blame gays for the horrible suffering many of their relatives faced during the Nazi invasions of their communities in World War II.

The Watchmen’s rhetoric has been particularly violent, tinged with the talk of war and the influences of evil forces. At a Watchmen conference in Latvia, Lively described gays as “followers of the Father of Lies.” He further described gays being sick, claiming that we don’t want to be gay but that the militant homosexual leadership has us somehow in their grip. When the Watchmen On the Walls held a rally in Novosibirsk, Scott Lively excused Satander Singh’s murder in Sacramento. Singh was a gay man from Fiji who was murdered by Russian immigrants. Lively went on to describe the broader confrontation between “civilization and homosexuals” as the design of the Devil to destroy civilizations:

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. … Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization.

Lively’s style fits in well with other Watchmen figures. Vlad Kusakin evoked Nazi imagery during a Watchmen meeting in Sacramento, saying that California’s anti-discrimination laws “opened furnaces which are even worse for our children” than those of Nazi Germany. Latvian Pastor Alexey Ledyaev lent his support to demonstrators who pelted Riga Gay Pride attendees with rotten food and feces. At the Watchmen conference in Latvia, Ledyaev prayed, “let a stone, without the assistance of a hand, come off the rock and hit this homosexual idol right on its legs!” Several members of the Latvian government are members of his New Generation evangelical church.

An Attack on Christianity

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of the other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

December 5th, 2008

I do not often find that the social issues that get Bill O’Reilly worked up are worth my attention. But I am troubled about a situation that he has highlighted involving religious displays in the State Capitol of Washington.

Last year the Alliance Defense Fund took time from their anti-gay activities to sue the State of Washington over Christmas displays. As a consequence, a policy was established to allow use of public space to sponsor a display, regardless of belief.

This year three displays went up: a “holiday tree”, a nativity scene, and a statement by an atheist organization.

That in itself does not bother me entirely; I support the accommodation of diverse views. I am, however, bothered by both the language of the placard and its placement next to the nativity scene. The statement says:

At this season of
THE WINTER SOLSTICE
may reason prevail.

There are no gods,
no devils, no angels,
no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but
myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.

This is not an endorsement of atheism; rather, it is an attack on religion, most specifically that religion next to which it was placed. Those who placed the sign, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, make no pretenses that this was not an attack on a Christian holiday nor do they apologize for the hurt and anger that they have caused Christians. In fact, they portray themselves as the victims.

In an interview with Fox News, the co-president had this to say:

DAN BARKER: If there is going to be a nativity scene that’s pro-Christian, which basically insults those of us who are not Christian, by telling us we’re going to go to hell unless we bow down before that Baby Jesus, then we want an equal time, too. We want a place at the table. We want to show America that we, atheists and agnostics, are here, too.

A statement of belief is not equivalent to a position of hatred and attack on others.

Nor do I think that the atheist organization is the victim here. The existence of a nativity scene is no more an insult or attack than a Sikh wearing a Dastar is attacking Muslims or the lighting of a menorah is an attack on Buddhists. That others observe that which I do not has nothing to do with me and I have no right to insist that they do so in secret nor does society have an obligation to respect my attack on them.

Many atheists are content with their conviction of the order of nature and the limitation of existence to that which can be observed. And they really don’t much care whether I agree.

But these particular atheists, like some others that I have encountered, are not interested in allowing disagreement. These evangelical atheists view the existence of anyone else’s religion as an attack on their own religious beliefs. It is not enough that each person determine whether to believe and that each religious viewpoint be respected, or at least allowed. No, rather than coexistence with religious faith, they want to attack religious faiths and those who practice them.

Ironically, this is very similar to the tactics and language employed by some religious opponents to gay civil rights. Those who are recoiling from the anti-Christian behaviors of this group includes, no doubt, many of those who made statements about gay marriage that were astonishingly similar.

The anti-gay marriage campaigns were full of those who indignantly demanded that gay people not have marriage because the mere existence of such marriages was at threat to their family. It was not enough that they had their own marriage, rather they insisted that mine not exist.

I think that our society would be better served if each of us allowed room for the other.

I am entitled to equality under the law, including marriage rights. But I can also respect those who disagree and I do not insist that my wedding be at their church. And while they can believe that I will burn forever in eternal torment, this does not entitle them to place placards next to the best man at my wedding.

This sort of religion-by-attack only escalates. Each slight is answered by a larger attack until the whole of society is embroiled in a nasty culture war.

Already, Ken Hutcherson – always ready with words of hatred and contempt – is threatening a response to the FFRF:

Redmond pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church called an 11 a.m. news conference Friday. The Olympian reports he’ll place his own pro-Christian sign in the Rotunda to mock atheists.

I think it is time for Washington State to establish rules that those seeking to display their religious positions are banned from attacking others. Tolerance does not include those who refuse to show it to others.

Further, I think that they should demonstrate some connection to the season. Perhaps the atheists could find a time of celebration, maybe the birthdate of a leader in freethought or a season in which there were fewer traditional mythologies. They can hardly expect to be taken with credibility when they oppose myth and mystery at the time of the Winter Solstice.

Anti-Gay Students Keep Control of Student Government at Sacramento Area Junior College

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

ABC News 10 is reporting

Nine members of American River College’s student association survived a recall effort this week staged in protest of their votes to support a ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage in California.

You will recall that these students representatives are part of a coalition of Russian evangelicals and Mormons that are using the college’s student government to serve their religious goals. Following an endorsement of Proposition 8, students concerned about their agenda collected enough signatures for a recall. Nine percent of students voted.

For a fascinating narrative of the anti-gay efforts of Russian evangelicals in the Sacramento area, one that features at least one of those students under recall, read Kel Munger’s article Things to do in Sacramento with a megaphone in the Sacramento News and Review.

These are not your usual collection of College Republicans or Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

A partial list of the protests over the last half-dozen years is impressive. The Dividers have protested at Wal-Mart (for saying “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!”); at theaters that screened Brokeback Mountain, the “gay cowboy” movie; and at other churches, with signs that read, “This is a fake church” (for sins such as offering free gasoline to new members or being too nice to gay people). Luke’s father has dressed up in a devil costume, complete with pitchfork, to make sure people know where they’re headed for not doing things the Divider way.

But this small band of Dividers have focused with laserlike intensity on protesting at gay events, where that “Sodomy is Sin” banner functions as both a calling card and a demand for gays to return to the closet.

And why does this matter?

What conclusions have I come to out of all this? It seems pretty clear that a small group of committed activists—the usual suspects—can stir up a ruckus and attract attention. But it’s also clear that they can alter the climate in a pretty serious way. At ARC, both students who identify as Christian and students who are members of the gay community have told me that they feel targeted. Young men and women there told me in tears that they no longer felt safe at school. A transgender student told me she’d transferred to another community college because she didn’t feel safe on ARC’s campus.

ARC Student Recall Election Update

Timothy Kincaid

October 20th, 2008

On October 1 we reported that the student body government of American River College in Sacramento had endorsed Proposition 8. This triggered a recall effort from frustrated students.

We had noted that five of the supporters were part of the vehemently homophobic Slavic community in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee provides addition information.

Three of the other student leaders up for recall are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In June, church leaders urged Mormon followers to “do what they can” to support Proposition 8.

Student Association Vice President Blaze Jeppesen, who authored the measure, declined to talk to The Bee about what role, if any, his LDS faith played in his decision to bring the hot-button issue to campus.

Association President Jacob Johnson, who also is a Mormon, said since he was conducting the meetings, he remained impartial. He said he didn’t try to influence the council and didn’t vote on the issue.

But Johnson said his faith is important to him and he supports Proposition 8.

His sister Heather Johnson supported the campus resolution and is on the recall list.

When You’ve Run Out Of Rational Arguments…

Jim Burroway

May 22nd, 2008

Randy Thommason… there’s always the Nazis to fall back on. This come from Randy Thomasson’s Campaign for Children and Families, who are calling for California’s County Clerks to violate the state’s recent Supreme Court ruling:

Ask your county clerk if they were a Nazi officer during WWII and had been ordered to gas the Jews, would they? At the Nuremberg trials, they would have been convicted of murder for following this immoral order.

Randy Thomasson is closely associated with the hate group Watchmen On the Walls. Founded by Scott Lively, Kenneth Hutcherson, Vlad Kusakin, and Alexei Ledyaev, members of the Watchmen have justified violence against LGBT people.

Thomasson is no stranger to false allegories like this one with the Nazis. He told a Watchmen gathering in Sacramento last fall that California’s laws protecting LGBT kids from bullying was tantamount to “moral rape.”

Update: Jeremy Hooper has now noticed that Thomasson has done some “cleansing” on his web site.

Hutcherson to Annoy Mt. Si High School Again

Timothy Kincaid

April 23rd, 2008

Ken HutchersonRev. Ken Hutcherson is determined to be a general nuisance and all around pain in the ass.

He has opposed Washington’s non-discrimination laws. He’s threatened Microsoft with a hostile take-over because they support their gay employees. But now he’s set his sights a bit lower – Mt. Si High School where his daughter attends.

He has tried to get two teachers fired. He’s tried to get the Gay-Straight Alliance banned. He harassed and threatened the librarian. And now he’s going to be protesting the schoolkids who observe the Day of Silence.

Oh yeah, while kids on the inside are silently bringing attention to bullying, Hutcherson will be outside presenting himself as a screaming ranting example of the type of threat that gay kids face.

On his church’s website he says

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Prayer Warriors, it’s time to put on your knee pads and start praying! I am organizing a protest of Mt. Si High School and the Snoqualmie Valley School District. We will be protesting at Mt. Si High School on the Day of Silence, April 25 at 10:00 am. We have taken out a huge ad in the Snoqualmie Valley newspaper which will run next Wednesday. Please pray that over 1,000 people will participate.

Enough is enough. We have tried to work with the School District and they will not hear us. They will hear this protest. Pray it up! It’s time to make a moral stand in our public schools.

Pastor Hutch!

Please, no one tell Pastor Hutch that by next Wednesday the event will be over.

The Stranger reports that Hutch also took to the airwaves to spread his own special brand of hate-the-gay.

The Monday radio program that featured Hutcherson claimed that several high schools in and around Seattle are trying to stop the event from happening. All of the schools contacted by The Stranger, however, including some of those mentioned on the program, said the activity is going forward—sponsored by students and without interference from school administrators. “Of course we would hope that there’s tolerance of other people and other lifestyles, on any day of the year and not just one day,” said David Tucker, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson.

Fortunately, the Reverend Ken Hutcherson will not be the sole voice of Christianity or community to be heard by gay kids at Mt. Si

A group at Tolt Congregational Church in Carnation plans to run an ad beside Hutcherson’s in Wednesday’s edition of the Snoqualmie Valley Record reading, “We are One in The Spirit,” and pledging to support the GSA. Another group, called “Friends of GSA,” is encouraging Snoqualmie residents to confront Hutcherson’s group outside of Mount Si on Friday morning, although McCormick isn’t thrilled about that. “A school is not the right place for this,” she said.

Poor Hutch. His efforts to stop the Day of Silence are not going to be any more effective than his bid to remove domestic partners insurance from Microsoft. But at this point I doubt that he has any illusions about his effectivity; he just likes to see his name in print.

Watchman On the Walls’ Domain Name Expired

Jim Burroway

March 22nd, 2008

It looks like hating gays can be a full-time job. Someone forgot to renew the Watchmen On the Walls’ web site.

Hutcherson Threatens and Intimidates High School Librarian

Timothy Kincaid

March 12th, 2008

Ken Hutcherson
Ken Hutcherson, known for his anti-gay activism, is continuing his harassment of teachers at Mt. Si High School where his daughter is a student.

The Snoqualmie Valley Record reports:

Mount Si librarian Elaine Harger said she had received an e-mail from Rev. Ken Hutcherson that referred to Mount Si’s Gay-Straight Alliance as a “sex club” and asked if Harger wanted to be added to the list of Mount Si teachers he was pushing to have fired.

“What had I done to justify that he would try to get me fired from my job? This is intimidation, pure and simple,” said Harger.

Hutcherson may call himself a Reverend and a Christian. He may even pastor a church. But I find his behavior to be indicative of a heart full of arrogance, anger, and self-righteousness and I want nothing to do with his form of religion.

UPDATE: (hat tip to reader a. mcewen)

The text of the letter was:

Dear Elaine Harger,

I see that my name was used many times in your letter to Mrs. Garding,(names removed). These are concerned parents, in which I am one, and not Hutcherson supporters as you have said. I could disappear at this very moment but the parents are not going away.

I want the teachers Kit McCormick and George Potratz fired and I will not stop until they are gone. Do you wish to be added to that list? I want the day of silence silenced and it will not happen during school time anymore. I have never said that the GSA should not be a club but have asked why a sex club is pushed on campus.

You have the right to invoke my name for being an invited guest, and as an invited guest that was treated very poorly, I demand that all students have a safe environment and not just the students of the GSA.

Do you think my daughter feels Mount Si is a safe environment for her? Do you think that conservative, ultra-patriotic, pro-war, Bible-stumpers as one administrator has said feels safe at Mount Si? Do you think Christian, Mormon, and any other religious groups of kid think Mount Si is a safe environment for them?

You and others may have wished I was never invited but I was so now you have to deal with me and how I was treated. I am here for the long run and I am not going away, even if letters like yours are continued to be written. Please do continue to write because I am collecting them for my case of a hostile environment for me as a parent, for me as an invited guest, for me as a Christian, and for me as a resident of the Snoqualmie School District.

Dr. Ken Hutcherson
Senior Pastor Antioch Bible Church

Hutcherson’s Hate Sermon

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2008

Watchman On the Walls cofounder Ken Hutcherson is at it again. This came from a recent Sunday sermon by the good reverend:

On a Sunday when Tarico was present, Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”

“That was a joke,” Hutcherson said Friday, when I asked him about the comment. But it’s not really funny, is it?

No it isn’t at all. Especially in light of Lawrence King’s recent murder. Remember, he was described as effeminate by his classmates. It’s appalling to see a Christian preacher make light of violence like this. This man man has no sense of shame or decency.

Makeshift memorial for Larry King

With a constant torrent of statements like these coming from pastors, it’s no wonder that nearly eight out of ten evangelical youth consider their own church to be “too anti-homosexual.” Exodus International claims that they want to change that by “demonstrat[ing] love and compassion to homosexual individuals.” And yet, Hutcherson has been a regular speaker at Exodus International’s annual conference for some time now. If Exodus leaders proudly stand on the stand on the same stage as their “good friend” again this year, their sham will be vividly apparent to everyone.

Guilty Verdict in Riga Feces-Throwing Incident

Jim Burroway

January 16th, 2008

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

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

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

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

Hutcherson Reboots His Microsoft Project

Jim Burroway

January 7th, 2008

Kenneth HutchersonWhen last we checked in on this strange saga, Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Ken Hutcherson appeared before a Microsoft shareholders meeting threatening that if they didn’t drop their support for equal treatment of LGBT employees, he’d become their “worst nightmare.” Soon after, we learned that Hutcherson plans to pack Microsoft shareholders with like-minded investors. Today, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Hutcherson has a new financial venture to support this effort:

Hutcherson, joined by some of the country’s most influential Christian leaders, has created a new organization, AGN Financial Network, to finance the effort. The worldwide venture asks people to buy three shares of company stock, and donate one to AGN. Its Web site tells visitors, “You have the power to change the world,” and contains tips on how to open a brokerage account. Among the listed supporters are Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and religious pundit Gary Bauer.

“We’re not trying to hurt Microsoft or their shareholders, nor are we calling for a boycott of their products,” volunteer spokesman Dennis Sullivan said. “We are trying to get Christians to buy their shares.”

When we first reported on this plan, we did the math on what it would require to take over a $318 billion company. Not an easy did thing to do. The Post-Intelligencer also ran the numbers:

It would be difficult to influence company direction — just to gain a 1 percent stake in Microsoft, about 31 million people would each have to spend $104 to buy three shares. Microsoft has about 9.36 billion outstanding shares, and its largest holder is Chairman Bill Gates, with 858 million shares, or 9 percent of the total. Capital Research and Management Co. follows with nearly 557 million shares, or 6 percent.

Interestingly, Hutcherson thinks that Microsoft should confine its policies to “within its four walls,” and that they should have no voice in public policy whatsoever. Hutcherson also thinks he is exempt from that same principle:

Hutcherson said it’s not Microsoft’s job to influence the public agenda, and that it should be left to others, like him.

“That’s what my job is,” he said. “I’m a pastor.”

Some people seem to think the First Amendment doesn’t apply to everyone.

Ken Hutcherson: Rejecting “Loving the Sinner?”

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2008

There was a very quick article in Thursday’s Christian Science Monitor about the Watchmen On the Walls. Yours very truly was interviewed for the story. The quote they used was a very quick one, about the Watchmen’s militancy and explicitly theocratic leanings. I wish reporter Ben Arnoldy had included my explanation that I am very careful about who I label theocratic. It’s a label that I very rarely use because very few fit it. But many of the Watchmen do. Nevertheless I think Arnoldy captured the gist of it.

Kenneth HutchersonOf course, I wasn’t the only one contacted for the article. Among others, so was Watchman co-founder Kenneth Hutcherson:

The Watchmen is a Christian movement that doesn’t teach hate or seek out violent followers, says Mr. Hutcherson, who is a pastor in Washington State. “God’s word does not allow us to hate. It tells us to stand up for righteousness and call a sin a sin,” he says. He rejects, however, the idea of loving the sinner while hating the sin. “The Bible says when a sinner will not separate himself from a sin then he is condemned with it. The one thing I’m trying to do is get heterosexuals out of the closet. We are the majority,” he says.

If Hutcherson really rejected the idea of loving the sinner while hating the sin, that represents an about-face from fellow co-founder and holocaust revisionist Scott Lively’s band-aide attempt in Riga, Latvia last November:

Scott Lively in RigaSay that with me. “We love the sinner, but hate the sin.” That must be your phrase because that will protect you from being misrepresented.

Presented that way, it sounds more like a magical incantation instead of theology. Understandably, Hutcherson doesn’t believe in magic. I get that. And since he’s won’t even avail himself of that simple fig leaf of a phrase, I guess the rest of the nakedness metaphor becomes appropriate as well.

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