On February 26, 2013, Boston Magazine published a lengthy article on “The Crusader: Anti-Gay Pastor Scott Lively Explores Run for Governor,” following Lively’s November 2012 announcement that he was considering a bid for Massachusetts governor. Who is Scott Lively?
Lively currently faces a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), for the persecution of LGBTQ persons in Uganda. In early 2009, along with other prominent antigay activists, such as Don Schmierer of Exodus International, an ex-gay organization, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Extreme Prophetic Ministries, Lively presented at an anti-homosexuality conference in Uganda. Given the already tense relations in the country over issues of homosexuality, the event helped to ignite outbursts of violence and discrimination against individuals accused of being gay, including the 2009 introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality or “Kill the Gays” Bill introducing the death penalty for homosexual acts (which has now been resurrected). Lively says he is known as the “Father of the Ugandan Pro-Family Movement.”
Lively has assisted in founding organizations in the U.S. and abroad dedicated to furthering his extreme antigay agenda. Lively is founder and president of Abiding Truth Ministries, which maintains the website Defend the Family; founder of ATM’s Pro-Family Law Center; and former state director of the American Family Association of CA. The Pro Family Charitable Trust, which donates money to antigay organizations, is another ATM offshoot. Lively has also been a cofounder and American envoy for the virulently antigay Eastern European hate group Watchmen on the Walls. He resides and runs a Christian coffee house in Springfield, MA.
In October 2012, leading up to his gubernatorial announcement, Lively launched the King Josiah Project, “to begin challenging movements and ideologies in Massachusetts which he perceives as being most responsible for the moral and economic degeneration of Springfield and the state. These include in order of destructiveness: The abortion industry, the homosexual movement, the public education system, corrupt elements in state government, and a broken social welfare system that breeds dependency instead of rebuilding lives.”
Along with Kevin Abrams, Lively is the author of The Pink Swastika, first published in 1996, which argued that homosexuals were a driving force behind the rise of the Nazi Party. The antigay Family Defense Council’s Dr. Howard Hurwitz called the book “a thoroughly researched, eminently readable, demolition of the ‘gay’ myth, symbolized by the pink triangle, that the Nazis were anti-homosexual.” Lively’s later writings include The Poisoned Stream, which expands on his previous work, and two guides for combating the so-called homosexual agenda entitled Defeating “Gay” Arguments With Simple Logic and Seven Steps To Recruit-Proof Your Child. Lively has also written for the Chalcedon Report, a journal published by the Chalcedon Foundation, the leading Christian Reconstructionist organization in the country. (Christian Reconstructionism is the belief that countries should be run on Biblical Law.)
In 2007, Lively addressed a letter to the people of Russia warning them of the threat that the homosexual agenda poses as well as steps they should take to defend themselves from its encroachment. One possible action Lively advised entailed criminalizing “the public advocacy of homosexuality,” a recommendation included in the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.
Lively has more insidious connections to Eastern Europe for his role in founding Watchmen on the Walls. The Southern Poverty Law Center states that “in Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland.”
Lively credits the Russian translation of his book The Pink Swastika with helping gain notoriety for Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the right-wing, antigay head of the New Generation Church. Ledyaev in turn borrows heavily from the ideas of R.J. Rushdoony, the late founding thinker of Christian Reconstruction. He also has ties with other more or less well-known opponents of homosexuality such as televangelist Pat Robertson, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, and Sacramento-based Russian language radio host Vlad Kusakin. In 2007, Lively claimed to have been appointed as a special envoy by the Bush Administration to Latvia when he was there for a prominent anti-gay demonstration. However, this was refuted by a spokesperson for the White House.
Lively on homosexuality: “In reality, homosexuality is nothing more than same-gender conduct among people who are innately and unchangeably heterosexual. Homosexuality is thus biologically (and to varying degrees morally) equivalent to pedophilia, sado-masochism, bestiality and many other forms of deviant behavior.”
This profile has been adapted from materials created for PRA’s 2009 Globalizing the Culture Wars report.