News24

US pastor 'runs anti-gay effort in Uganda'

2012-03-15 07:48

Boston - An East African gay advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against a Massachusetts evangelist, alleging he has waged a decade-long campaign to persecute gays in Uganda.

The suit was filed in federal court in Springfield against minister Scott Lively under a statute that Sexual Ministries Uganda says allows non-citizens to file US court actions for violations of international law.

Frank Mugisha, who heads the advocacy group, said it was singling out Lively for "helping spread propaganda and violence" against Uganda's gay people.

"We hope that he will be held accountable for what he did in Uganda," said Mugisha, who won the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award last year. "We want to send out a clear message to him and to others."

Lively, of Abiding Truth Ministries, is one of a handful of American pastors whom Ugandan gay activists accuse of having helped draft the original version of the African nation's anti-homosexuality bill.

The bill called for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts such as when gay people with Aids were caught having sex. It has since been revamped to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment as a maximum sentence.

Lively said on Wednesday the legal action was "absurd" and "completely frivolous". He said in an email to The Associated Press that he has never advocated violence against homosexuals. He said he has preached against homosexuality but advised therapy for gays, not punishment.

Lively also told the AP in November that he advised the Ugandan parliament "to focus on rehabilitation and not punishment". He said he didn't oppose the criminalisation of gays but said imprisonment and the death penalty are too harsh. He was among US evangelicals who visited Uganda in 2009, after which debate began about the bill.

Wide-ranging legal action

About 70 protesters marched on Wednesday about a kilometre from the US District Court in Springfield to Lively's business, the Holy Grounds Coffee House. They dressed in black and beat drums, carrying signs with the names of persecuted Ugandans and coffins to symbolise death allegedly due to persecution. The group spent about 10 minutes in front of the coffee house, leaving white flowers there.

World leaders including President Barack Obama have condemned the Ugandan bill. But the draft legislation is popular in that country, where pastors frequently preach against homosexual behaviour.

The Ugandan government said in a statement last month that it didn't support the bill, but that debate about it is allowed under the constitution.

The suit against Lively, whose Springfield church is known as Redemption Gate Mission Society, is part of wide-ranging legal action Ugandan gay groups are considering against individuals they consider hostile to the rights of homosexuals.

The complaint claims Lively issued a call in Uganda to fight against a "genocidal" and "pedophilic" gay movement, "which he likened to the Nazis and Rwandan murderers". The suit asks for a judgment that Lively's actions are illegal and violate international law and human rights.

Lively said in his email that his words have been taken out of context.

"Most of the ostensibly inflammatory comments attributed to me are from selectively edited video clips of my 2009 seminars in Kampala," he said. "I challenge the plaintiffs and their allies to publish the complete footage of the seminar on the Internet. They will not do this or their duplicity would be exposed."

The New York-based group Centre for Constitutional Rights filed the suit on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda. Centre attorney Pam Spees said it also seeks monetary damages.

Comments
  • Martin - 2012-03-15 08:07

    typical

      zaatheist - 2012-03-15 10:30

      The usual preachers of hate - they thrive on it. When some religious people want to use ancient texts to justify acting upon their prejudices, citing the book of Leviticus suits them just fine. On the other hand, when such people want to indulge in practices prohibited by those same ancient texts, ignoring the bible suits them just fine. For example, Leviticus. Particularly the bit about no tattoos. It's amusing stuff. I frequently wonder why, among the many rules and prescriptions therein, Christians don't sacrifice oxen or go to the "priest" to be inspected for "white marks". It's all there, right next to the warning regarding the abomination of homosexuality. At some point in the future, an entire nation of people will look back and wonder how could people be so blind, as to deny others the rights they themselves enjoy. Unfortunately, that day seems to be still so very far away.

      Martie Kilian - 2012-03-15 16:25

      no one can judge another. each and every one of us has a right to do as they please. that is why we must respect everyone's religion and stop trying to force others to belive the same as you. all of you did quote out of the bible but not one as quote the important piece your not al loud to judge for only God may judge the sinners

  • J-Man - 2012-03-15 08:20

    These people make me sick.

      Jaymin - 2012-03-15 08:50

      Who makes you sick? Gays? Ugandans? Pastors? All of the above? hehe.

  • Stephen - 2012-03-15 08:41

    He's quite right; Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible! You can't be Christian and be gay, simple as that.

      Kobus - 2012-03-15 09:01

      Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

      Stephen - 2012-03-15 09:06

      OooH! 12 thumbs down, I ain't a Christian, or a gay, but I've had a good read at the bible, and it's pretty clear cut, it's as big a sin as murder.

      Stephen - 2012-03-15 09:33

      @Kubus, or loosely translated into African, "let's go stone a lesbian to death"

      zaatheist - 2012-03-15 10:35

      Here we have you typical Cafeteria Christians picking and choosing what parts of the Wholly Babble they want to fling around and what parts they ignore. When theywant to use ancient texts to justify acting upon their prejudices, citing the book of Leviticus suits them just fine. On the other hand, when such people want to indulge in practices prohibited by those same ancient texts, ignoring the bible suits them just fine. For example, Leviticus. Particularly the bit about no tattoos. It's amusing stuff. I frequently wonder why, among the many rules and prescriptions therein, Christians don't sacrifice oxen or go to the "priest" to be inspected for "white marks". It's all there, right next to the warning regarding the abomination of homosexuality

      Johan Blom - 2012-03-15 10:37

      I'm a practising Christian gay and I've been dating the love of my life also a practising Christian gay guy for three years now . The bible condemns the act of lustful sleeping around ( it did not know non selfish loving relationships ,that concept did not exist in biblical times ) . I'd even go as far as to say that God brought us together. But for the doubters out there : its a proven scientific fact that being gay isn't curable or a choice (once your gay you're gay ) and furthermore Jesus says in the new testament that life long celibacy (never getting a wife) is only for those capable of it or else lust will overcome them . Make your own conclusions.... Its easy enough for me.

      zaatheist - 2012-03-15 10:39

      He's quite right; Wearing clothes of mixed fibres is condemned in the Bible! You can't be Christian and wear non 100% wool socks. He's quite right; Eating shellfish is condemned in the Bible! You can't be Christian and eat shellfish. Geez you guys are close to being mentally ill with your beliefs.

  • MuttleyScholtz - 2012-03-15 08:42

    Scott Lively, you sad man. Get another hobby. You can't be Christian and judge other people.

      zaatheist - 2012-03-15 10:36

      Scott Lively????? Not here. Is he one of those guys who drops a stupid comment, gets challenged and then runs away?

  • emma.barrycox - 2012-03-15 10:33

    Lively is one of the most hateful and vile human beings on the planet. Stay in the US we don't you hear throwing fuel on the fire. Human rights for all not just the one who agree with your narrow minded bigotry.

  • Johan Blom - 2012-03-15 11:26

    I'm a practising Christian gay and I've been dating the love of my life also a practising Christian gay guy for three years now . The bible condemns the act of lustful sleeping around ( it did not know non selfish loving relationships ,that concept did not exist in biblical times ) . I'd even go as far as to say that God brought us together. So these americans should stop preying on vulnerable minds and rather busy themselves with building out their and His kingdom through the most important commandment .... Love your neighbour as you love yourself. They do more harm to christianity than good . But for the doubters out there : its a proven scientific fact that being gay isn't curable or a choice (once your gay you're gay ) and furthermore Jesus says in the new testament that life long celibacy (never getting a wife) is only for those capable of it or else lust will overcome them . Make your own conclusions.... Its easy enough for me.

  • Leila - 2012-03-15 14:13

    i just dont undestand why the ugandan government is making the homosexual thing an issue, let people be,all that matters is the emotions involved. if two guys love each other where is the crime in that.

  • Lindani - 2012-03-15 19:59

    the bible says its right to kill gay people therefore they mus be killed. what if you dont believe in the bible, why is the bible taking such a privaladge when it comes to commiting acts of evil. the bible is just as bad as mein kampt by hitler. the bible sanctions RAPE ETHNIC CLEANSING HOMOPHOBIA RACISM SLAVERY GENOCIDE FRATRICIDE inter alia. we need to END ALL ORGANISED RELIGION NOW...OR ELSE THESE PEOPLE(MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS) ARE GONNA GET THEIR HANDS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND FIGHT EACH OTHER AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO DONT HAVE IMAGINARY FRIENDS.

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