Homophobic American pastor says Vladimir Putin is a “defender of Christian civilization”
File THIS under the heading: Bigotry Makes Strange Bedfellows:
When President Vladimir Putin recently banned “homosexual propaganda” in Russia, he joined sides in a new global culture war: a struggle to stop the march of gay rights abroad even as advocates wave rainbow flags in America. Now, as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics approach, both sides are bracing for unrest — and an American pastor is taking credit for the law that started it all.
Scott Lively [above] is a hero to some, a demon to others and a joke to still more. From his home in Springfield, Mass., he runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda,” and Holy Grounds Coffee Shop, where the faithful gather for java and Jesus. Lively also sermonizes overseas, promoting his books — most notably The Pink Swastika, which traces the Nazi Party to a gay bar — and portraying gay love as a “dark force” in human history responsible for the Inquisition, American slavery and the Holocaust.
Last month a federal judge allowed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to proceed against Lively that alleges the pastor persecuted gays in Uganda and committed a potential “crime against humanity” — one that contributed to a bill that would have made homosexuality an act punishable by death. And yet the grey-haired 57-year-old has refused to quiet down.
On his blog this month, Lively praised Putin as “the defender of Christian civilization” for signing this summer a ban on information that treats being gay as valid or attractive — and traced the idea to his own tour of Russia in 2006-7. Last week, Lively suggested Russian officials foil gay activists planning to rainbow-bomb the Olympics by flying a rainbow banner over the games so “the global homosexual movement” would be reminded that “the rainbow belongs to God!”
In his first interview since a U.S. district court judge refused to dismiss the case against him, Lively shrugged off the lawsuit, touted his rising global influence and seemed to dare civil rights advocates to launch another assault on him. “Come what may, I will continue to advocate for the Biblical view of family until my final breath,” he pledged, because “we’re talking about civilization — good and evil being played out in the United States and all around the world.”
Lively has reason to be a bit cocky. America may have “fallen to the gays,” he says, but much of the world still fears them and Lively is working to keep it that way.
In Moldova in 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, he helped several cities declare themselves “gay-free zones” and organized an “emergency” campaign to block a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus he met with politicians and pastors, fostering talk of new curbs on gay rights. Every place he goes, Lively says, his goal is to block the open expression of homosexuality, keep discrimination legal and make pro-gay advocacy a crime.
To whip up support for such policies, Lively simply shares his beliefs about gay people: They’re dangerous predators, even killers. And they caught this gay “disorder” through “an evil game of tag,” a chain of abuse in which gays recruit kids into sodomy just as they were once recruited. In this way homosexuality spreads like “a social cancer,” he claims, until nothing remains of the Christian world.
It’s unclear where Lively gets his virulent science, since study after study suggests homosexuality begins with biology not abuse, but his political strategy is easy to trace. It’s an export straight from the American culture wars of the 1990s, when Lively was communications director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance, then the largest anti-gay political group in America. OCA pioneered the idea of criminalizing gay advocacy, convincing more than a dozen Oregon suburbs to forbid anything that may “promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality” — much as Putin has done in Russia.