As mentioned in a prior post, anti-gay preacher Scott Lively has been sued on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, who argue that his international anti-gay activism constitutes persecution. To give readers a taste of Lively's anti-gay rhetoric, I'd like to share his January 15th webcast from European American Evangelistic Crusades entitled "The Global Threat of Homosexuality."
Pastor John S. Torell introduced Lively as a man who was not afraid, who acknowledged that "sin is sin." He claimed that if this service were taking place in Sweden, everyone participating in the service would be arrested because it is illegal there to speak against homosexuality. Torell insisted that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin, and that while they do not hate sinners, they do hate what they do and how they go about "imposing" what they do.
Lively stood at the podium and delivered a sermon against homosexuality. He claimed that in the late 1980s when he started dealing with the "homosexual issue," preachers still existed who would stand for the "word of God." Fewer and fewer preachers do this today, he said, especially in the U.S. He was working to make God's "truth" on the topic of homosexuality known, both in the U.S. and across the globe.
Lively complained that the church is being "infiltrated" with pro-gay theology. He lamented that no one was talking about the "truth" on homosexuality in any public realm of importance, except for a few Christian radio voices, allegedly.
Seriously!? I thought when I heard this. In the short period that I've been blogging on the Religious Right, I've found no shortage of homophobic rhetoric in the public sphere. The rhetoric and activism of anti-gay groups have been well-documented by the media. Conservative presidential candidates have waxed poetic about the sanctity of opposite-sex marriage as opposed to same-sex marriage. Even large-scale conservative gatherings have not been immune to anti-gay language. In short, plenty of right-wing voices have made anti-gay statements in the public realm. Fortunately, many enlightened, pro-LGBT voices have condemned such rhetoric.
Lively dismissed the idea that homosexuality was simply another sin, claiming that it is the paramount sin of the End Times. Whenever society reaches high levels of "idolatry or apostasy," he claimed, similar things occur. According to Lively, society goes through cycles of redemption, restoration, rejection of God, and finally divine punishment. America and the rest of the western world is close to the low point of this cycle, he argued, and God is providing us with signs to indicate this state of affairs, including the predominance of homosexuality.
Scripture, he argued, demonstrates how homosexuality is a "far deviance" from God's standards. Passages such as Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 illustrate God's intention for people to bond as opposite-sex couples, he said. Whenever homosexuality is mentioned in scripture, he insisted, it is in the context of personal or social catastrophes. Lively called homosexuality the "sin of Sodom" and cited it as the only example of God inflicting his wrath through fire and brimstone. On the topic of God's wrath, Lively offered commentary on the LGBT community's use of the rainbow at the 15:53 mark.
"When you see the gay pride parades going down the street in the major cities, what banner are they flying over them? They're flying the banner of the rainbow. What is the rainbow? The rainbow is God's covenant with man never to destroy the earth by water again. God's wrath was poured out in the form of water the first time, and everyone was wiped out except the eight who went into the ark and then the animals they took with them to replenish the face of the earth when the water subsided ... God's wrath is all consuming except for those who are taken into his protection."Calling same-sex marriage "marriage of perversion," Lively claimed that society is becoming like the time of Noah and the flood, an alleged time of perversion and apostasy.
To my surprise, protesters raised their voices at the 21:50 mark of the video. As Lively was detailing child sacrifices allegedly practiced in ancient times, a man in the audience shouted, "Hey, Scott Lively, whatcha talking about?" and "Sounds like Christian propaganda!" A woman shouted "Our love is no sin!" Lively, looking uncomfortable, stated, "They parade their sin like Sodom." After apologizing to the audience, Lively had this to say.
"This is a sermon illustration of the highest order. This is the kind of thing that happens when you stand up for the truth. They do not want to hear it. That's the key aspect of fascism, the suppression of opposing views."Lively continued, arguing that homosexuals who accept and celebrate their homosexuality are "reprobate" at the 30:39 mark.
"What is a homosexual? A homosexual is a person who rejects the testimony of their own body and ... can even look at themselves in the mirror, know that they're made either male or female to be compatible with a person of the opposite sex, and can look at that testimony and then deny the truth of the evidence of their own body and say, 'No, God intended me to do this other thing instead.' That's reprobate."At length, Lively shared arguments he made in The Pink Swastika, arguing that the gay movement started in 19th century Germany and was instrumental in the downfall of German society through the Third Reich (!). He proceeded to describe how the early gay rights movement worked to "subvert the moral culture," tying it into the sexual revolution, Kinsey's research, and the ascendancy of the adult entertainment industry. At the 45:46 mark, Lively grieved that homosexually was disapproved of when he was born, but became accepted in the span of five decades.
"At the time I was born, homosexuality was illegal all over the world. The only country that it wasn't was Sweden. In 1938, I believe, it was legalized there, but everywhere else throughout the world, it was illegal, and if a gay activist had come forward at that time and said 'I'm going to go into the grammar school down the street ... I'm going to go to the kindergarten class, and I'm going to sit there and I'm going to tell these children how good homosexuality is,' what would have happened to that person? They would have been thrown in jail! There would have been a huge scandal. People would not have tolerated that. Well, you know what just happened? That's the new law in California ... We have seen this tiny groups of people -- they really represent only about 2% of the population -- that has grown from being a reviled subculture to now having more power in the legislatures and courtrooms of the world than the Christian church does."After claiming that the gay movement promoted promiscuity in society, Lively said that rampant promiscuity would result in excess births if not for contraception on demand and abortion. The only reason for contraception on demand, he insisted, was to "facilitate fornication." Abortion was intended as a "back-up system" for when contraception failed. Thus, Lively tried to connect the LGBT rights movement with reproductive freedoms that have emerged in the modern era.
In short, Lively's January 15th talk cast homosexuality as not only unbiblical, but sinister and ultimately destructive to society. His words suggest deep contempt for the LGBT equality movement, which he imagines as the root of many supposed social ills. If we take LGBT equality seriously, we need to be aware of how anti-LGBT activists such as Lively are demonizing the LGBT community.
Hat tip to Box Turtle Bulletin. To watch the webcast, visit www[dot]eaec[dot]org/sermons/2012/RLJ-1325.htm
To read additional commentary, visit the following links.
Right Wing Watch: Scott Lively, The Rainbow Flag, and the End of Days
The New Civil Rights Movement: Gay-Straight Clubs Created So “Misfits” Will Adopt “Gay Identity” Says Lively
Towleroad: Scott Lively Says Rainbow Flag a Sign of the End Times