After gay rights victories across America, religious fundamentalists are now taking their failed battles to other countries... and winning
Anti-gay activist Scott Lively is currently in a legal battle after a civil rights lawsuit was filed against him by gay rights advocate group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The lawsuit “accuses the well known pastor of a crime against humanity for allegedly inspiring a movement aimed at stripping away the rights of the Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community using legal, political, and social persecution.”
Uganda’s treatment of it’s LGBT community is deplorable. In 2014, there were 89 recorded violations against Ugandans based on their sexuality. Newspapers often publish the names of alleged homosexuals, with the purpose of agitating mobs to persecute them. But all the social and political intolerance towards gays can be traced back to Lively’s anti-gay activism in Uganda.
As Frank Mugish, executive director of SMUG explains, “Before, there was [name calling] and people disagreeing with homosexuality in general, but we didn’t have the idea of a ‘gay agenda’…That exportation of hatred is something new in Uganda.”
The name calling and sneering towards gays turned violent once Lively started indoctrinating Ugandans about the “disease” of homosexuality. As Mother Jones reports, Lively preached a message which exploited the fears and prejudices of Ugandans who attended his lectures.
Scott Lively lied about “Western Marxist” gay activists invading Uganda to make children gay, how gays were Nazi’s, sociopaths and murderers, and if the “disease” of homosexuality wasn’t stopped, the fabric of society would be torn apart and children would start having gay orgies on school buses.
Lively’s lectures had a mobilizing effect on many Ugandans. Vigilante crime against homosexuals soared, with some newspapers revealing names of alleged homosexuals who later ended up being killed by mob violence. One of the victims of this violence, David Kato, had been a prominent gay rights activist who was beaten to death by a hammer after a tabloid released his picture along with an angry editorial that called to hang him.
In 2009, with popular consensus, Uganda tried to pass a bill that was nick-named the “Kill the gays” bill for its imposition of the death penalty on homosexuals. Although the bill failed to pass, the Ugandan government passed a similar bill in 2013 that substituted life imprisonment for the death penalty (this act was later ruled invalid by the Constitutional Court of Uganda).
It is sad that due to the slow but increasing victories of the gay rights movement in America, religious fundamentalists are now taking their failed battles to other countries. Not only has the anti-gay movement made roots in Uganda, but they continue expanding their influence to other countries in Europe and Latin America. As a matter of fact, Lively has been an influential voice in Russia’s current anti-gay fervor. And he is extremely proud of that fact.
Currently, Scott Lively is being represented by Liberty Counsel, the same activist group that represented Kim Davis, and is casting himself as the victim of what he calls the “enormously wealthy and powerful international homosexual network.” Lively’s activism has caused the persecution and murder of homosexuals in Uganda and different parts of the world, yet he claims to be the victim.
To be fair, Lively is one of the more radical elements of the anti-gay movement. But even “moderate” “pro-family” advocates engage in dangerous rhetoric when they incessantly claim that homosexuality is against the “laws of nature” and that it will destroy the fabric of society. The consequences of anti-gay activism are more than clear in Uganda.
You can’t argue with anti-gay activists about the scientific facts that people who are gay are simply born that way, that punishing gays will do nothing to change who they are, and therefore calling for gays to repent or die is equivalent to mass extermination based on sexuality.
Just because “the Bible says so”.