Nel's New Day

August 27, 2014

Lively Runs for Massachusetts Governor

Little did my partner and I realize what the drastic changes for our lives during the next two decades after we retired from teaching and moved from Arizona to the coast of Oregon. It was 1992, the year of the virulently anti-LGBT Proposition 9 that led to thousands of closeted people in the state coming out in response to the proposed ballot measure. (Note that this wasn’t the only Measure 9: it was followed eight years later by another anti-LGBT measure, ironically numbered Measure 9.)  was the Oregon Citizens Alliance, led by Lon Mabon and Scott Lively. We joined the other LGBT people who came out of the closet because of the outrageous Prop 8 and have had a very different life because of our freedom in Oregon.

Mabon has disappeared, but the 58-year-old Lively has made his mark around the world in the past 22 years. He disappeared from the Oregon scene with his move to California where he founded the Abiding Truth Ministries, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Lively is highly qualified in hatred. He and his believers think that “the gays” are responsible for every problem in history and in the Bible from the Spanish Inquisition and Holocaust to the need for Noah’s ark. According to Lively, God’s anger about wedding songs for gay weddings caused the flood.

In the recent release of his book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, co-written with Kevin Abrams, Lively wrote that gay people are responsible for Nazi atrocities and accuses gays in the United States currently carrying out the same agenda against Christians in this country.

His hatred went international in 2002 at a conference in Uganda about the connection between homosexuality and pornography. That speech led to others and then to meetings with government officials. Seven years later, Lively was a key speaker in Uganda where he proclaimed that homosexuality caused the Rwandan genocide, Nazism, and AIDS, a justifiable punishment by God. After his impassioned speeches, the Ugandan legislature introduced its infamous “Kill the Gays” bill, downgraded to “Jail the Gays” bill that removed the death penalty. The bill passed but was recently overturned on a technical basis.

On behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the Center for Constitution Rights has filed a federal lawsuit against Scott Lively and Abiding Truth Ministries. The complaint states that he specifically sought out Uganda to further his agenda, knowing that Uganda was fertile ground to “meaningfully provoke and bring about the persecution of the LGBT community.”  It connects his actions to the escalation of anti-gay propaganda and persecution in Uganda. The suit is the first known sexual identity and gender discrimination suit under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows foreign victims to sue corporations, governments and individuals for human rights violations.

A year ago, a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor ruled that the plaintiffs were on solid ground under international and federal law and that First Amendment arguments were “premature.” Ponsor wrote, “[Lively] has allegedly supported and actively participated in worldwide initiatives, with a substantial focus on Uganda, aimed at repressing free expression by LGBTI groups, destroying the organizations that support them, intimidating LGBTI individuals, and even criminalizing the very status of being lesbian or gay.”

Lively’s European came from his organization, Watchmen on the Wall, that he co-founded with a Russian radio host and Latvian pastor. In his 50-city European tour in 2007, Lively declared LGBT rights “as the most dangerous political movement in the world.” Lively is partially responsible for Russia’s anti-LGBT law, causing an increase in anti-LGBT violence and discrimination that Lively blames on the LGBT people themselves. During a radio interview with Bryan Fischer, Lively has taken credit for the Russian law: “I believe I did have something to do with that. I included [these suggestions] in my letter to the Russian people that I published in the very last city of the tour, which was St. Petersburg, and of course, St. Petersburg turns out to be the first city that adopted this law.”

While appearing on religious-right activist Linda Harvey’s “Mission America” radio show, Lively explained that the only LGBT violence in Russia is “gay-on-gay crime.” He said that “the guys that are beating up gays in Russia … are butch homosexuals who are beating up effeminate homosexuals, the same thing that happened in Germany.” In both these situations, Lively has no credible evidence to back up his claims.

Lively also wanted the Russians to adopt the rainbow “as a Russian symbol, a Christian symbol” and said that he met with Russian Orthodox Church’s leadership to present this idea. His idea was that the Russian Olympics could be held under the banner of the rainbow stating “the rainbow belongs to God.” He said:

“It looks like they are going to do that. Get all the pro-family organizations to come along to declare 2014 ‘The Year of God’s Rainbow’ and all of us adopt it—I’m wearing a pin right now that says ‘Reclaim The Rainbow: Ezekiel 1:28’—I think all of us should just start taking the rainbow, putting it on our webpages, wearing it and just take it away from them, it doesn’t belong to them.”

I haven’t noticed that happening.

Six years ago, Lively moved himself and the Ministries to Springfield (MA) where he’s working on his latest goal—running for governor. After talking about running for Massachusetts governor for a few years, Lively has now submitted the necessary 10,000 valid signatures to be an independent candidate for the position. As gubernatorial candidate, Lively has tried to disclaim his involvement with the Ugandan law, but records show that he told reporters that he was “one of the people that helped to start the pro-family movement there. … This was all new to them.” He also said that his campaign against homosexuality was like a “nuclear bomb” against the so-called gay agenda.

Lively has not restricted himself to bashing his description of “the gay agenda.” He said that he “would prosecute abortionists for aggravated first-degree murder if it were in my power to do so.” He believes that the educational Common Core is “Commie Core,” that notions like the DREAM Act are “Marxist,” and that public employee unions are “unconstitutional.”

In his announcement as a candidate, Lively did include condemnation of homosexuality, but he’s also concentrating on changing Massachusetts into a religious state. “They need a leader who will remind the people that Massachusetts was founded upon Jesus Christ and the Bible and that our future security and prosperity depend on restoring our trust in Him. ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!’ Psalm 33:12.:

The candidate knows full well that he has no chance of winning: “My main goal in running for Governor is to advocate Biblical values in the political arena,” he wrote on his website. He does think that “real conservatives” will take back the GOP.

Meanwhile, Democrats are cheering him on. Radical-right votes are sure to go to Lively and away from the mainstream Republican, especially if front-runner, pro-choice Charlie Baker wins the GOP candidacy at the 9/11/14 primary. In 2010, Brian Camenker of MassResistance said:

“Lively is everything that Charlie Baker is not. He is principled, pro-family, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-2nd-amendment, pro-religion, pro-parents’ rights, and utterly fearless.”

Run, Scott, run!

August 15, 2013

Olympics Endanger LGBT Athletes, Tourists

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:20 PM
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260px-Stamps_of_Russia_2012_No_1559-61_Mascots_2014_Winter_OlympicsUsually the Winter Olympics is a sort of ho-hum event, fascinating only those people who enjoy watching athletes in the featured winter sports. This time, however, the upcoming XXII Olympic Winter Games, scheduled February 7-23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia, has drawn a great deal of publicity almost six months in advance. It’s not the trio of mascots—Polar Bear, European Hare, and Amur Leopard—although they are very cute. It’s the politics of the event that is taking center stage.

Two months ago, three days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his divorce, Russia passed a “family values” law against the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” (aka propaganda from “the gays“). Law defenders claimed that this meant “relations not conducive to procreation,” but, as usual when procreation is considered in laws, it will not be applied to opposite-sex couples who cannot or choose not to have biological children. Fines of up to $31,000 will be levied for providing information about the LGBT community to minors, holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships. Foreigners can be detained in jail for 15 days and then deported.

This is where the problem becomes that belonging to the entire world. The law applies to foreigners and media organizations as well as Russians.

A few protesters demonstrated what any LGBT people can expect in Russia. When they staged a kiss-in, they were assaulted by a mob—and then arrested by the police. Russia has always been hard on LGBT supporters: when Madonna announced her belief in equal rights for all at a concert, she got in trouble with the law. Conservative organizations argued that she would increase the divorce rate, bring down the birthrate, and hurt the country’s ability to maintain its army. Putin declaimed no anti-gay discrimination in Russia and then also blamed the dropping birthrate on “homosexuals.”

Russia has no official numbers on anti-gay crime in the country, but the Russian LGBT Network reports that the number of physical attacks and verbal aggression against LGBT people has accelerated since initial parliament debate on the law. A spokesperson for Kaleidoscope Trust reported that the increasing level of violence is both spontaneous and premeditated.

LGBT acceptance has decreased in the past six years. To show the danger to LGBT people in Russia, whether visitors or residents, Dmitri Kisilev, anchor of the state-controlled news show, said that homosexuals’ hearts should be buried in the ground or burned after an automobile accident “as unsuitable for the continuation of life.”

Russia’s interior minister has confirmed that athletes will not be exempt from the anti-gay law, contrary to the statement issued by the International Olympic Committee. Previously, the IOC had claimed that the law would not affect competitors, officials, journalists, and spectators. Now the IOC states that it will punish athletes who make a political statement citing that Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter bans political and religious demonstrations at Olympic venues.

Thus far, the IOC has not said anything about its “fundamental principle of Olympism” stating that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement.” This principle would exclude Russians from participating.

Hundreds of people demonstrated against Russia’s law in London and the IOC’s lack of interest in the issue, and Germany’s Development Minister Dirk Niebel said:

“We must make clear when in contact with Russian politicians that this collapse in fundamental democratic values is not acceptable, and that Russia is moving towards becoming a flawless dictatorship.”

Sweden has seen a series of actions against the Russian law, including the re-painting of a crosswalk in front of the Russian embassy.

NBC will have a high profile at the Sochi 2014 Olympics because it will be broadcasting the events. The organization sent a reassuring memo to its employees on Friday, stating that NBC will take steps to ensure their safety at the Winter Olympics. They didn’t say what steps the corporation would take. The news media will also have trouble in how to deal with the Russia hate law during the actual Olympics. In the past they covered Salt Lake City’s bid-rigging scandal, Athens security concerns, and China’s bad human-rights record. The question is what NCB, having paid $775 million to get the gig, will do in a foreign country where they can be put in jail if they talk about LGBT concerns.

sweden protest

The arrest of four Dutch filmmakers on July 21, three weeks after Putin signed the bill into law, shows what journalists might expect if they even mention LGBT. After beating one of them, 33-year-old Kris van der Veen, the police detained all four in jail for over six hours. The filmmakers had met with LGBT activists and were interviewing them in a closed space. There were no minors present, although the film footage showed a 17-year-old gay teen who had told them he was 18.

Leaders such as Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama, who oppose a boycott and ask athletes to perform their best, can do so with impunity. They aren’t the ones who are in danger of being beaten and possibly murdered, just by their presence in Russia.

This issue may cause a change for the IOC. Minky Worden, the director of global initiatives with Human Rights Watch (HRW), said her organization and other like-minded advocacy groups will be lobbying for the IOC to elect a president next month “who’s actually going to enforce the human rights requirements of the Olympic charter.” Last week, HRW reported government abuses in Sochi in its intimidation of those who investigate or spoke out against migrant workers’ abuse, unfair compensation of people forcibly evicted from their homes, and harassment of journalists who are reporting on the preparations.

Russia refused to allow an Olympic Pride House, like the ones at previous Games in London and Vancouver because it would “contradict the foundations of public morality.” Worden said, “This will be the first homophobic Olympics, certainly. That’s without precedent.”

The Sochi Olympics will take place 78 years after the “Nazi Olympics” in Berlin, Germany. The 2014 Winter Olympics may gain its own nickname for violence and repression.

From the United States, however, there is a bit of good news. Scott Lively, head of Defend the Family International, will be tried in a Massachusetts court. A federal judge has ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. Lively is accused of violating international law by inciting the persecution of LGBT individuals in Uganda.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG). Charges include his leading the Ugandan anti-LGBT movement, advising Uganda’s government on the “Kill the Gays” bill, and conspiring with them for the past decade to persecute LGBT Ugandans.

Lively further spread his hate message by sending “an open letter” to the Russian people and has tried to take credit for the new stringent anti-LGBT laws. “This was one of my recommendation to Russian leaders in my 50-city tour of the former Soviet Union in 2006 and 2007,” he said. He has also been a regular visitor at the House on C Street in Washington, D.C., home to many highly conservative Congressional lawmakers and and sex scandals.

Over two decades ago, Lively started his hating career with the Oregon Citizens Alliance in my own state of Oregon. I am grateful that he will now have to defend his hate crimes in a U.S. court.

December 9, 2012

Christians Support Violence, Theocracy

It’s another Sunday and time for a roundup of religious oddities.

The word of God must not be enough to bring people to worship in the 21st century: several churches are now offering concealed firearms training. Pastor James Miller of Heights Baptist in San Angelo (TX) explained, “We’re about 150 miles from the border with Mexico and we’re very unsure about our insecure borders–about what’s coming into our cities. Personally, I feel more secure that should our worship time be interrupted by a life-threatening intrusion, that we would at least stand some kind of a chance in stopping either a mass killing or terrorizing experience.” Miller added, “Jesus advises his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword. He instructed his people to be prepared to defend themselves.”

Not everyone agrees with the gun approach as shown by this sign next to the church in Marengo (OH) that teaches classes necessary to get a concealed weapons permit.


While churches provide secular training,  South Dakota’s legislature advocates Bible study in public schools. One supporter said it was a tiny step toward “taking back the heritage of our country.” The minority said, “It sends the message that other religious texts are not as important as the Bible, which I think is probably a dangerous path for us to start down.” A Republican added that the state should let “the church regulate church things.”

The federal government has been regulating “church things” in marriage for almost two decades. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is so intent on keeping same-sex couples from marrying that he’s paying lawyers to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defends marriage only for heterosexual couples. Having spent over $1.5 million of taxpayer money, he’s planning more expenditures in the Supreme Court. Now he’ll have to explain how he has “standing” and show how he’s been personally hurt by marriage equality.

Taxpayer money continues to promote Christianity in the military. Last week Blake Page quit West Point five months before graduation, citing mandated Christian involvement at the military academy in New York state. “I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same,” he wrote in his letter of resignation. He described routine prayers at mandatory events and awarding off-campus passes and credit to students who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs, activities which foster “open disrespect of non-religious new cadets.”

Christian requirements at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were criticized in 2005 when evangelical cadets received preferential treatment. and the promotion of religious proselytizing. In 2010 people raised concerns that the war in Afghanistan would be viewed as a Christian crusade because the the Pentagon used gun sights engraved with Bible verses.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC) showed Christianity at its worst when he praised Uganda’s commitment to Christian faith and “national repentance” in that country’s determination to kill LGBT people. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill introduced in Ugandan Parliament in 2009 included a provision of the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”  The Speaker of Parliament has promised the bill’s passage as a “Christmas gift” to the people of Uganda.

The praise of the FRC for dictator Yoweri Museveni’s dedication of his nation to God shows FRC’s desire for theocracy in America. FRC states that it does not support the death penalty for homosexuality but does oppose “the suggestion that gay and lesbian acts are universal human rights.” They have said nothing about other provisions in the proposed legislation including long prison sentences and punishment for people who don’t report people who engage in same-sex relations to government officials.

Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day. Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights leader, helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948. She wrote:

“Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places close to home. So close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world.”

Each one of us occupies one of these “small places.” It is our choice to lead the world toward human rights awareness and action.




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