Archives for posts with tag: Scott Lively

Quite by chance this week I found myself watching an excerpt from a documentary by the writer and comedienne Ruby Wax. It was made at the turn of the century, and in interviews at their Arkansas HQ key members of the Ku Klux Klan revealed their unfocused prejudices and fears about the rising power of homosexuals in America.

The KKK come across as comic rather than seriously threatening, but what’s shocking is that their confused rhetoric has survived the intervening years almost unchanged in the mouths of present-day US political figures such as Michele Bachmann who accuses the LGBTQ community of intimidation. It’s also alive and well in the slogans and leaflets of Besorgte Eltern NRW (Concerned Parents of North Rhine-Westphalia) who are busily organising marches in German cities like Cologne (there’s another one this weekend) in their campaign to stop children learning about homosexuality at school, and who sadly can’t be dismissed as unwitting clowns or mere echoes from another age, despite the tone of their propaganda.

It’s worth remembering the way many of us in the West reacted when we first saw the video footage from Uganda of preachers showing pornography to their congregations, finding Marin Ssempa’s speeches ridiculous, but with growing concern about how his simplistic misinformed bigotry was gaining hold.

You only had to look at the vile Facebook page of the Uganda Youth Coalition Against Homosexuality (now removed – thankfully – by Facebook following a barrage of complaints) to see how this rabble-rousing has led to the obscene torture and murder of members of the LGBTQ community in Africa .  And it’s worth remembering that the US evangelist widely credited with setting in motion what’s happened in Uganda is Scott Lively, now seeking a new platform in Massachusetts, where he is standing as an independent candidate for election to the post of Governor later this year. He talks openly of a coming anti-gay “revolution” in response to the “homosexual agenda”.

And it’s at this point that the Ruby Wax interviews with the Ku Klux Klan, from another century, suddenly aren’t quite so quaint and amusing.

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As Uganda’s president called gays “disgusting” in a CNN interview and a tabloid newspaper published lists of suspected homosexuals, feeding hysteria and witch-hunts following the introduction of the country’s new laws against homosexuality, politicians and pundits elsewhere may have made appropriate noises of disapproval, but in truth they don’t really know what to do.

Desmond Tutu, William Hague, Barack Obama and the Swedish government (among others) may all have voiced dismay and muttered of consequences, which is to their credit; but the reality is that within a few days, people will nod and say how terrible it all is for gays in Uganda now, and then ask how the elections are going in the Ukraine or if there’s other news we should know about.  Compassion fatigue kicks in quickly as far as the LGBT community is concerned.  It’s a shame we spoiled the Olympics for the athletes, because they worked so hard to get there…

Out journalist Alice Arnold rightly argued in the Telegraph that we “mustn’t be left to fight American and African religious zealots alone”, and whilst happily there are many who support her view, there’s also a growing murmur that somehow none of all  this uncomfortable noise about homosexuality would be happening if we hadn’t kept on rubbing it in people’s faces.  Look what happens when you get uppity. We have only ourselves to blame, and gay was such a nice cheery word until we ran off with it, behaving inappropriately in public.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s Governor is deciding whether to sign the bill allowing businesses to deny services to the LGBT community; that it’s got this far is a disgrace, but a sign of how US evangelists are now beginning to push back at home after their African adventures. Scott Lively, the man who will have blood on his hands for his meddling in Uganda, now has a new target; he wants the American Psychiatric Association to reinstate homosexuality as a mental illnesss.  Don’t be naive and think this will go away overnight, as the debate (yes, the word debate will be used, and we’ll be asked to be reasonable and “hear both sides”) has barely started. And it’s our fault it’s happening, because if we hadn’t made all this fuss about marriage, people would have left us alone…

Frank Mugisha, one of Uganda’s few public gay activists (good reason for that), is convinced that’s the case. The US-based Center for Constitutional Rights is working with him to take evangelist Scott Lively  to court over his alleged involvement in shaping the dreadful legal sanctions the LGBTQ community in Uganda has been fighting. There’s a good interview with Frank in the UK newspaper The Independent, in which he argues that “homophobia is actually imported, not African”.

“Lively has been the man with the plan in this enterprise,” said Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people. Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda.”

So far, Uganda’s President Museveni has refused to sign the bill which went through the country’s parliament in December 2013 – possibly because of international pressure – but he still said we’re “abnormal”, and that lesbians suffer from “sexual starvation”.

“You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation. It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people.”

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