Human Dignity Trust CEO Jonathan Cooper responds to Scott Lively’s assertion that he is not anti-gay, to question whether it is fair to suggest he is a homophobe.
US Evangelical, Scott Lively, laments that he is described as anti-gay? Is he?
Lively is being sued by leading Ugandan LGBT group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in the US courts. SMUG alleges that Lively has aided and abetted the commission of crimes against humanity against the Ugandan LGBTI community. Lively sought to have the case thrown out of court, but the judge hearing the case disagreed. He said the case must continue.
To stop their case being thrown out, SMUG had to establish that the level of persecution the Ugandan LGBTI community has been subjected to could amount to a crime against humanity and that Lively had aided and abetted others to carry out that persecution.
SMUG pointed out that Lively (along with others) devised and carried out a ‘campaign of harassment and intimidation, and a resulting atmosphere of fear … directed at the LGBTI community in Uganda’. SMUG catalogued Lively’s activities between 2002 and 2009 and quantified the influence he has had in Uganda. This included the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009. That Bill, amongst other things, criminalised LGBTI advocacy.
The judge held that not all instances of persecution would amount to a crime against humanity. In deciding that Lively had a case to answer, the judge asked himself whether these alleged atrocities or acts may be regarded as part of an overall policy or a consistent pattern of inhumanity, or whether they instead constituted isolated or sporadic acts of cruelty or wickedness.
The judge then decided that the allegations feature Lively’s active involvement in well-orchestrated initiatives by legislative and executive branch officials and powerful private parties in Uganda, including elements of the media, to intimidate LGBTI people and to deprive them of their fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, life, liberty and property.
In particular, the judge accepted that SMUG had plausibly argued that Lively worked with associations within Uganda to coordinate, implement, and legitimate ‘strategies to dehumanize, demonize, silence, and further criminalize the [Ugandan] LGBTI community’, Furthermore, his international activities ‘succeeded in intimidating, oppressing and victimizing the LGBTI community’.
The judge made an analogy between Lively’s role and that of an upper-level manager or leader of a criminal enterprise. He participated in formulating the enterprise’s policies and strategies. He advised other participants on what actions might be most effective in achieving the entrepreneur’s goals, such as criminalizing any expressions of support for the LGBTI community and intimidating its members through threats and violence. He generated and distributed propaganda that falsely vilified the targeted community to inflame public hatred against it.
On this basis the judge considered that Lively had a case to answer and the case continues. If SMUG wins, their damages will be significant.
Lively’s activities are not limited to Uganda. He has published two books, ‘Defend the Family: Activist Handbook’ and ‘Redeeming the Rainbow’ which outline a comprehensive plan of action against ‘the most dangerous social and political movement of our time’. Two primary tactics advocated were criminalising advocacy, i.e. subjecting any public expression of support for the LGBTI community to criminal prosecution; and secondly, attributing to LGBTI individuals a compulsion to sexually abuse children.
In a further book, ‘The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party’, Lively has made claims that homosexuals were behind the rise of the Nazis in Germany and the genocide in Rwanda. In other works, the US court was told, Lively has also attributed the Spanish Inquisition, the Terror in France and South African apartheid to homosexuals.
“From Genesis to Revelation”, according to Lively, “the Bible teaches that homosexuality is not ‘just another sin’. It is a symbol of extreme rebellion against God and harbinger of His wrath.” Does the Bible say this? The Gospels make no mention of homosexuality. I wonder why Lively omits that. Those references to homosexuality that there are in the Bible are few and far between and depending upon what text you rely upon (the original text or later translations) there is nothing particularly censorious or noteworthy to justify such statements.
Is it unfair to describe Scott Lively as anti-gay?
Jonathan Cooper is the Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust. Follow the Human Dignity Trust on Twitter: @HumanDignityT
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