Scott Lively, the man who inspired the Uganda “Kill the Gays” bill and who is now on trial for crimes against humanity, has announced via a statement on his website that he intends to run for Governor of Massachusetts. I’m afraid this situation has to be taken seriously.
To give you an idea where Lively’s “Biblical” politics puts him on the political spectrum, he believes the Republican party has been taken over by moderate liberal “progressives” and that the Democratic Party is now just a bunch of Communists.
By Lively’s own admission, a win is unlikely: “I expect to often be asked by reporters what I think my prospects are for winning this election. To this I reply that it would take a miracle from God for Scott Lively to become Governor of Massachusetts — and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” As a result, Lively’s latest attention seeking press release might not appear that concerning. However, the Christian Post’s coverage of this announcement really is. Taking just the opening few lines from the article:
A Christian evangelist known for his activism against homosexuality in Uganda has announced that he will run as a candidate for governor in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Scott Lively, author of the controversial book The Pink Swastika and head of Abiding Truth Ministries, has declared his candidacy for governor of Massachusetts.
We must correct a few root problems here.
Lively’s name is now synonymous with Uganda’s disgusting Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, though you wouldn’t really know that from the Christian Post article which omits any real mention of the bill, its death penalty provision and despicable other infringements of human rights, opting instead for the blithe comment that Lively is on trial for allegedly helping to “advance social and legal discrimination against homosexuals in the African nation.”
Furthermore, Lively has now admitted to what we already knew: Lively, much like fellow anti-gay figures such as NOM’s Brian Brown, had a hand in encouraging Russian officials to adopt local gay gag laws. In fact, Scott Lively has called Russia’s national gay propaganda ban one of his “proudest achievements.” No mention of that in the Christian Post.
Most objectionable of all, Lively’s book “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party” isn’t just “controversial.” That risks lending it some legitimacy. It is history revisionism at its most pernicious because its claims against all established fact that the Nazi regime was really a product of a broader gay agenda.
Were this an isolated incident, it would hardly be worth the mention. Yet we continue to see the elevation of zealots into political power aided by the wholesale media’s pandering to the Religious Right.
Tony Perkins, ex-Louisiana state house lawmaker and president of the hate group the Family Research Council, has by act of the state’s governor been giving a position as part of Louisiana’s Commission on Law Enforcement which awards grants, trains officers and regulates law enforcement throughout the state.
Earlier this year, the police force in Baton Rouge, Louisiana made headlines for charging gay men under the state’s unenforceable sodomy ban because, they said, they were unaware that all sodomy bans were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2003. Officials from Baton Rouge are now attempting to have the state ban repealed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Despite Perkins being on record as comparing gay rights to terrorism and supporting Uganda’s Kill the Gays bill, he has frequently been a guest on various mainstream media shows as a conservative counterpoint on issues like gay marriage, pushing the boundary on what it means to be conservative into extremist territory. Perkins position will now serve as a neat stepping stone for a Louisiana Senate bid, as is hotly tipped — and why wouldn’t it be?
Perkins’ views are in no way divorced from those within the wider Tea Party. Take the man currently at the forefront of the forced government shutdown, junior Senator for Texas Ted Cruz. Cruz shares positions that are equivalent to Perkins’ own and not as far as we’d like from Scott Lively’s.
Cruz has embraced the rhetoric that says religious people will be imprisoned as a result of gay rights measures, has aimed at killing sensible gun control reform, has proffered staunch anti-abortion rhetoric that is broadly compatible with Lively’s, and has embraced the late Jesse Helms as a personal hero by giving a speech at an event meant to honor the man who was an avid segregationist, saying we need “100 more like Jesse Helms.”
Unsurprisingly, figures show that extremism is gaining ground in America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group dedicated to monitoring and challenging hate and extremism, there are 1,007 known hate groups operating in the United States. The SPLC reports hate groups are on the rise, with the number of groups using extremist rhetoric or tactics rising 67% since 2000, according to SPLC figures.
Yet while we might class these groups as still being on the ideological fringe, increasingly politicians who share many of the same core beliefs — thinly veiled racism, heterosupremacy and theocratic dominionism, are being elected under the more media friendly term “religious conservatives,” giving the likes of Lively, Perkins, Cruz, and their friends Perry, Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich, Hatch, King, and the entire host of ideological extremists in and around Congress platform and power.
So we return to Lively’s attempt at becoming Governor for Massachusetts: to be sure he will be the comic relief of the 2014 gubernatorial race, but the fact that the religious conservative media isn’t really challenging him and his disgusting attacks on life and liberty — indeed, that it is ready to embrace him within its own ideological framework as just another Christian voice — says that while Massachusetts might prove unfruitful for Lively, there is reason to think a win somewhere else might not be entirely out of the question.
That should worry all fair-minded Americans, of whatever political stripe.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.
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