Scott Lively, the man who is largely credited for pushing Ugandan officials toward enacting the bill now known as the Jail the Gays law, is a name you’re likely to have heard. What you might not know is that he has just qualified for the ballot to be Governor of Massachusetts.
It emerged this week that Lively has submitted the necessary number of signatures to appear on the November ballot as an independent candidate for Massachusetts governor. In order to qualify, Lively needed to submit 10,000 valid signatures. The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office has confirmed that Lively in fact submitted 11,494 valid signatures, putting him in the running with a strong showing of support. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lively is the most right-wing candidate on the ballot, but to understand his special brand politics, one really has to look at his own words and, crucially, his actions.
As mentioned above, Lively is of course infamous for the role he played in 2009′s introduction of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill which, at the time, contained the death penalty for certain offenses. While admittedly Lively has always maintained that he thought the death penalty was a step too far, and that the current version of the legislation (known now as the Jail the Gays bill) is too focused on punishment and not enough on “therapy” or treatment for homosexuals, he is known to have preached heavily against homosexuality while in Uganda that year and, alongside a number of other American religious conservatives, to have helped foment what was already a strong anti-gay climate.
The Springfield, Mass. native has tried to talk down his involvement with the law, and has called those who have reported on this story “racist” for insinuating that Ugandans were mere puppets to his anti-gay will. The racism charge is opportunistic when we have on record that by Lively’s own words 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,” and is on record as saying that the campaign he and other American religious conservatives started in Uganda that year was like a “nuclear bomb” against the so-called gay agenda.
Lively is no stranger to notoriety though. He recently re-released his infamous book “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,” a revisionist history book that puts gay people at the very top of the Nazi regime and makes them responsible for its atrocities, saying that the very same agenda is present and unfolding in America today with Christians as the victims. Co-written with Kevin Abrams and originally released in 1995, the book has been decried as peddling a “pernicious myth” that ignores the true horrors of what the Nazi regime did to homosexuals during its reign, including physical castrations, medical experiments and psychological torture, in addition to the staples of violence and mass killings for which the Nazi regime is infamous.
Lively, who now heads Abiding Truth Ministries, was also part of the Oregon Citizens Alliance which, in 1992, introduced a ballot initiative known as Measure 9 that would prevent the state government from offering what the group termed “special rights” to gay people, or ”promoting homosexuality.” The legislation also required that public schools must teach that “homosexuality, pedophilia, [and] sadism” are “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” The measure lost but there was a reported uptick in anti-gay violence that year and local ordinances were modeled after this state wide initiative. If this sounds eerily familiar, that’s because Lively appears to have been using much the same tactics ever since.
In fact, Lively’s self-professed mission is to “fight” what he perceives as the “War on Christianity” that he believes the LGBT rights movement is waging around the world. For this, he has visited several Eastern European nations and in particular Russia. If alarm bells are ringing, they are not undue. Lively has admitted, and is even proud of, playing a role in Russia’s detestable gay propaganda law that, while Lively maintains that gays are actually bashing themselves in Russia, has coincided with a disturbing rise in anti-LGBT violence and discrimination.
In a radio show appearance he told Bryan Fischer, another rabidly anti-gay religious conservative: ”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.”
Lively is now being sued for crimes against humanity over his role in Uganda’s anti-gay crackdown under laws that make it an offense to stir up hatred in other countries. He has said that he fully expects to be sued for his role in the Russian legislation, too.
While predominantly known for his anti-gay work, Lively vehemently believes in heterosexuals-only marriage and opposes cohabitation, sex outside of marriage and related freedoms. However, he seems to reserve special ire for a woman’s right to choose.
Earlier this year he told BostInno that: ”I view the killing of innocent unborn babies to be the most vile and wicked act of which human beings are capable and I would prosecute abortionists for aggravated first-degree murder if it were in my power to do so.” He hastily tried to qualify the statement with a series of caveats that this was a hypothetical situation under future law, but the stance remains fairly self-explanatory.
In other areas, he believes that Common Core is, well, “Commie Core,” that notions like the DREAM Act are “Marxist,” and that public employee unions are “unconstitutional.”
It should be made clear that Lively seems to know that he is incredibly unlikely to win the election race, but he’s not doing it to win. By his own words, he’s doing it to raise his profile and his staunch Christian cause. “As I said, my main goal in running for Governor is to advocate Biblical values in the political arena,” he writes on his website, while also saying he wants to send a message to the apparently too-liberal GOP that real conservatives have power and are going to take back the Party.
In short, we probably shouldn’t be concerned about Lively winning in Massachusetts, but we should be concerned about what he’ll do after he loses.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.
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