US Anti-Gay Pastor Scott Lively: ’I Influenced the Russian Law’
In a new interview with NBC News, the anti-gay pastor Scott Lively claimed he is responsible for Russia passing its controversial "homosexual propaganda" law.
"Yes, I think I influenced the Russian law," Lively told NBC News.
In a blog post last month Lively, who is currently fighting off a lawsuit that alleges he persecuted gays in Uganda, lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin for signing the anti-gay measure into law, calling him "the defender of Christian civilization."
Lively also "traced the idea to his own tour of Russia in 2006-7," NBC writes before adding: "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!'"
Though many have written off Lively and laugh at his attempts to promote his anti-gay agenda (he's even written a book called "The Pink Swastika"), Boris Dittrich, the director of LGBT advocacy for Human Rights Watch, says that Lively may have helped shape Russia's attitudes towards the LGBT community. When the American pastor visited Russia a few years ago he met with lawmakers who later passed "gay propaganda" laws, which were enacted in more than a half-dozen Russian regions (including St. Petersburg) before Putin signed the bill into national law.
NBC News reports that in 2006, after Lively attempted to ban the "homosexualization" of Sacramento's public schools, he teamed up with Alexey Ledyaev, a pastor of a Latvian megachurch with more than 200 branches across the world, to create Watchmen on the Walls -- a network of activists who want to take down homosexuality. In fall 2006, Lively went to Blagoveshchensk, Russia, a river city on the border of China, for 10 days, spreading anti-gay speech through local communities.
The pastor has also traveled to a number of other countries, promoting his homophobic message. A video shows him visiting Riga, the capital of Latvia, in May 2007, where he said gay rights were "the most dangerous political movement in the world." He also visited Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, in August and told a room of 1,000 Christians, "There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It's been waging in the United States for decades, and it's been waging in Europe for decades. It's a war between Christians and homosexuals."
Though Lively has been accused of inspiring violence against LGBT communities, he touts the mantra "Love the sinner, hate the sin." According to NBC News, he didn't support Uganda's proposed death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," and he says he believes gays should be shunned from public life and their "recovery" supported in private.
Nevertheless, NBC News writes, "And yet where Lively's message goes, violence seems to follow." The report notes that in Oregon in 1992, a same-sex couple died when their house was firebombed during a Oregon Citizens Alliance campaign, then the largest anti-gay political group in America. In Sacramento, Calif., in 2007 a gay man was called a "faggot" and beaten to death by a stranger in a park. Then in Uganda in 2011, the country's first out gay man was bludgeoned to death.
"And right now in Russia and in the former Soviet states, there's been a surge in homophobic vigilantism, including a torrent of shaming videos, some depicting gay teens being tortured by skinheads," NBC News writes. "Lively has not been linked to any of these crimes but we asked: Couldn't his talk of predatory gays, 'good and evil,' and 'war' have played a role?"
"Wow, that's a leap," Lively said.