In yesterday's post on DailyKos, I noted how the group "Watchmen on the Walls"--a neopentecostal dominionist group promoted in ex-USSR countries that promotes literal Holocaust revisionism and has become infamous for such acts as literally throwing feces at protesters and kicking a gay Fijian national to death--is in fact essentially an especially violent "Joel's Army" group, spawned from the Assemblies of God's first attempt at "steeplejacking" of a church.
Today, we don our Internet hip-waders as we explore the actual website of "Watchers On The Walls"--with the help of a bit of the modern miracle that is Google Language Tools--and also go in-depth into supporters of "Watchmen On The Walls" who will be attending a conference in Lynnwood, WA less than a day from this posting. Some of the supporters include the Assemblies on an official level...and, disturbingly, possibly elements of the Bush administration as well.
"Watchmen On The Walls", revealed;
We've discussed so far the most infamous and most notable thing about Watchmen On The Walls--the promotion of anti-LGBT Holocaust revisionism as well as violence, occasionally fatal, against LGBT people.
Now, we go a wee bit more in-depth about the group itself.
The term "Watchmen On The Walls" is a bit of subtle Joel's Army theology--namely, the name derives from the "watchmen on the walls" of Jerusalem, ready to defend the city against any attackers--an Alan Keyes speech targeting dominionists during his election campaign describes it in considerably more detail, but in essence being a "watchman on the walls" in neopentecostal dominionist-ese means "God Warrior"...a member of "Joel's Army" on the frontlines.
The group does have a website--almost entirely in Russian, but practically all of the adverts for dominionist speakers, etc. are in English. (This includes, notably, the advertisement for an upcoming seminar beginning all of a day from now near Seattle. At least one of the names listed should be very familiar to longtime readers--I'll get into that in a bit.)
From the Cyrillic text (I will not claim at all to read the Russian language), there are sections for the US, Europe, Latvia, a fourth category, and "the world" (the tiny, tiny, tiny amount of Russian I do know nokes that "v mirye" does mean "the world" or "our world"). The group advertises itself as an international group for "Christian human rights"--with almost no English text, one could easily confuse it with a page promoting the right to worship, not as a home-page for a violent Joel's Army hate group.
The Google Tools translation from Russian to English of Watchmen On The Walls' website...well, THAT is a lot more enlightening indeed.
Among other things: the page claims that the American Family Association boycott of Ford is bankrupting the country; it promotes the "Muslim/Gay Conspiracy" (promoted in The Pink Swastika) on its news-site; it claims that "Christians stopped complete corruption of Germany" in protesting sexual education that merely consisted of teaching children about appropriate names for their "naughty bits", and the fourth category is apparently "Watchmen in the CIS" (per following the link to "STRAH H Y CIS" and the translation of "watchmen" as "strahzy" by Google's tool--it is, alas, still in beta :D). Vladimir Putin is condemned for wishing to abolish the death penalty; and Russian Orthodox are accused of child abuse (remarkably, there's a lot of "Bible-based" child abuse going on in neopente circles that is far better documented. The group also brags about its harassment of LGBT people in Kiev, Ukraine and its attempts to have being gay made illegal (as in people can be fined for being gay).
Of particular note is their church section--among other things, steeplejackers are praised, and a rather informal list of neopente pastors in the ex-USSR can be had by clicking one of the conference links.
The translated "About Us" page is also rather revealing:
What is "Watchmen On The Walls"
Abortion, euthanasia, same-marriages, and other signs of decomposition of society are becoming the norm in many countries and attracting more and more supporters. They do not suffer negative attitudes towards ourselves and trying to discredit Christianity encouraged to be even more of an impact on society. Who would argue with that? But who said this? Who promotes Christian laws? Who tells about this church? Who organizes protests?
"Watchers On The Walls" is the international Christian movement that brings together Christian leaders, as well as Christian and community organizations, and aims to protect morality and Christian values in society.
In order to know what was happening outside the church, somebody should stand on the wall. This is the police. Nehemiah stood at ruins of Jerusalem, as we are today from the ruins of our corporate walls. Protection of Christianity begins with the restoration of the walls, which would have to stand. That is the chief meaning of the "Watchmen On The Walls".
Why were created "Watchmen On The Walls"
Public organization "Watchmen On The Walls" is a sort of Christian Trade Unions(1), which represent and protect the rights of churches and Christians. Who organized a large-scale protest illegals from South America? - Their unions. Who raised a wave of youth shares in France? - Their unions. Who organized gay - parade? - Their unions. The task of trade unions is to examine the situation, monitoring of laws, as well as the immediate reaction in the event of infringement. For a full work necessary legal, political, informational and administrative resources.
A fundamental principle of social organization is a citizen's right to knowledge on the one hand and freedom of expression enshrined Constitution on the other. To play an active role in the life of their country, people must be educated and politically aware. This involved "Watchmen On The Walls".
"Watchmen On The Walls" also hold large-scale events at the level of city administrations with the assistance of pastors, politicians, singers and musicians. Such conferences also play its positive role in the dialogue with the state church.
At regular meetings of the focal point, discussed the situation in the country, and, if necessary, collect signatures and organized protests, compiled open letters, statements, as well as the scheduled preventive measures such as the march of Jesus, and other family parade.
What happens in the world
It is no secret that the decomposition of society in the world progresses. Unfortunately, often that happens, blame themselves Christians, time is not expressed their civil position on the issue. Homosexual marriage, abortion, the growing number of divorces, the devaluation of family values, party registration in Europe pedophiles reduce the age at which it is possible to have sexual relations with adults to twelve years, concerted ousting Christian values of the society - the list could go on and on.
In the meantime, few thinking on the implications of such phenomena. So recently, the government of Canada has apologized for the legalization of same-marriages, recognizing the negative effects of this phenomenon, which has affected and other countries. "We mourn happening in a world that was inspired by our actions," argued in the letter. Canada already understood demographic crisis, in which Canadian authorities were forced to streamline immigration policy, facilitating potential immigrants to obtain a residence permit and adding extra points for having children.
Immediately worth abandon the myth that community immoral acts in each country on a scenario in the original. Everywhere the same scenario. For example gey-dvizheniya(2) it looks like this: using slogans of democracy, gay and lesbian activists loudly claim discrimination. Once they manage to achieve pity on the part of society, the increasing attempts to change the law to protect them from such "discrimination" in the future. Gradually changing the country's legislative framework, they are seeking to establish gomodiktaturu(3), which does not accept any criticism in his address.
(Translation cleaned up a bit from Google translation; "Watchmen On The Walls" is translated as "Guardians On The Walls" in Google.
- "Trade Union" as in social union--the use of the term "trade union" or "social union" for a social activism group is not quite the same as in English, and is closer in meaning to "activist group" or "political action committee". This is a holdover from Soviet days.
- This term does not have a good English translation but may be best described as "dictatorship" or "absolute reign".)
Their declaration is even more hilarious--among other things, the Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the works of Cyrus the Great, the Magna Carta, the French Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations Charter are all misused to promote hatred of LGBT people. (It should be noted that the vast majority of the material they are quoting is either non-Christian or explicitly secular.)
Even Israelis aren't good enough--the group whinges about Israelis being instructed by rabbis to avoid the Assemblies of God frontgroup International Christian Embassy Jerusalem when they do their "march to support Israel" later this month.
So, what have we learned so far? Not only are they virulently anti-LGBT, they're also anti-Latino (and probably all-around racist), explicitly dominionist, and are essentially promoting themselves as the Dominionist Soviet. (And yes, I'm using that term in the Russian sense--"Soviet" means "collective union", much like the "Christian trade union" they are promoting themselves as.)
A recent Bartholomew's Notes article also is particularly telling--Ledyaev, head of "Watchmen On The Walls", has apparently been banned from Russia due to promotion of hate speech:
In 2002, Ledyaev was barred from Russia, where, according to Charisma, his denomination has sixty branches (there are also plans to expand into Africa). He believes that George Bush "is a man chosen to fulfill God’s plan on earth in the last days", and that there will be a "New World Order" of Christianity.
This has, alas, not stopped dominionism in Russia and elsewhere. In fact, in Latvia, the promotion of dominionism has become such that political cartoonists are coming under threat and dominionist political parties (like the Constitution Party here in the States, and Family First in Australia) are starting to take shape:
The antics of New Generation, a mostly Russophone sect closely tied to Ainārs Šlesers' Latvia's First Party (LPP), have long been reported in Latvia -- I'm choosing to describe it as "a mostly Russophone sect" on purpose, because that's what it is (Ledyaev, its leader and a self-described "apostle," was furious when our President described it that way). Ledyaev, who doesn't speak Latvian and sees LPP and his sect as having the same goal (including "establishing bilingualism in Latvia" -- see an interview with the Apostle here, in Latvian), is one of the major forces behind gay-bashing in Latvia.
The latest ruckus was caused by the caricature pictured above, drawn by Ernests at the Internet portal of Latvia's most important newspaper, Diena (some of the comments [there were more than four hundred at last count] are in English). The cartoon shows the Lovecraftian creature Cthulhu, his name crossed out and replaced with that of Jesus, and a small dog yapping: "Hello, I am Ledyaev -- I lead a Christian congregation that worships the living god, Jesus!"
Ledyaev has suggested replacing Latvia's constitution, the Satversme, with the Ten Commandments, introducing Christian totalitarianism, and "humbling all liberals and homosexuals." The publication of Ernests' cartoon resulted in the offices of Diena being surrounded by Ledyaev's "Dream Team." As to how "bilingual" the sect is, check out their forum (perhaps Šlesers' dream Latvia will be bilingual in Russian and English, sans Latvian... there's also some impressive "bilingualism" in the list of their pastors' names). The caricature event was especially amusing because Apostle Ledyaev is also a rabid Islamophobe (N.B.: "The first devastating wave of homosexuality makes a way for the second and more dangerous wave of islamization," sic; op. cit.).
And there are a lot of American dominionists--including some in very high places--all too willing to help them along.
Harvesting bitter fruit
Disturbingly, it appears that the partnerships between American and Eastern European neopentecostal dominionists made by "Watchers On The Walls" could be the beginning of an import-export cycle of increasingly hardline neopentecostal dominionism--an import-export cycle, in fact, that is even now generating a considerable amount of "feedback" (in the amplification sense).
As the SPLC article on the "Latvian Connection" has noted:
The New Generation theology Ledyaev preaches borrows heavily from R.J. Rushdoony, the late founding thinker of Christian Reconstruction. Pastor Ledyaev's 2002 book, New World Order, calls for evangelical Christians around the world to influence the wealthy and powerful in their home countries to implement biblical law in order to stave off a supposed alliance of gays and Muslims hell-bent on destroying Christianity. "The first devastating wave of homosexuality makes a way for the second and more dangerous wave of islamization [sic]," writes Ledyaev.
Born in Kazakhstan, Ledyaev doesn't even speak fluent Latvian. But he's quite proficient in the international language of the anti-gay Christian Right. Ledyaev is close friends with Southern Baptist televangelist Pat Robertson -- a man who once predicted God would punish Florida with hurricanes and other disasters because Disney World had allowed a "Gay Days" discount -- and was invited to the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President George Bush.
At 56, Ledyaev is still youth-oriented enough to promote his vision of global theocracy through elaborate, large-scale Christian rock operas that Ledyaev writes, directs and stars in, and which are replete with lasers, smoke machines, and spandex-clad actors in ghoulish makeup. One of the rock operas, which young Russian-speaking anti-gay activists promote on video-sharing websites, features a hero character wearing a tuxedo battling men in black tights armed with tiki torches. Over heavy-metal guitar riffs, a military-like chorus sings of "victory over the gays."
In addition to Lively and Robertson, Ledyaev has cultivated the support of Rev. Ken Hutcherson, the African-American founder of Antioch Bible Church, a Seattle-area megachurch. "Hutch," as the ex-NFL player is known, played a key role in persuading Microsoft to temporarily withdraw its support for a Washington bill that would have made it illegal to fire an employee for their sexual orientation. In 2004, his "Mayday for Marriage" rally drew 20,000 people to the Seattle Mariner's Safeco Field to oppose legalizing same-sex marriage.
One of Ledyaev's nephews saw Hutcherson speak in Seattle at a March 2006 debate on gay rights and arranged a meeting with the Latvian pastor. By the end of the year, Hutcherson, Ledyaev and Lively had teamed up with Vlad Kusakin, the editor of The Speaker, to form an international alliance to oppose what Hutcherson characterizes as "the homosexual movement saying they're a minority and that they need their equal rights."
And--much as in the States--neopentecostal dominionism is becoming increasingly influential. From the SPLC report:
The group has also convened outside America. In the summer of 2006, the Watchmen and their supporters gathered in Riga, Latvia, to "protect the city from a homosexual invasion." Gay rights activists in Europe counter that it's gays who need protection from the Latvian capital, not the other way around.
And, indeed, the city is a hotbed of violent homophobia. In 2005, for example, a group of 100 gay activists, most of them from Western Europe and Scandinavia, traveled to Riga to hold a gay rights march that was widely viewed as the first real test of Latvia's official commitment to freedom of assembly, a requirement for its tentative admission to the European Union in 2004. Under heavy police escort, the gay rights demonstrators walked a few blocks through a gauntlet of ultranationalists, neo-Nazi skinheads, elderly women and youths wearing "I Love New Generation" T-shirts. They were pelted with eggs, rotten tomatoes and plastic bags full of feces.
The mayor of Riga at the time was Janic Smits, a close friend of Pastor Ledyaev and a prominent member of his New Generation Church. During a parliamentary debate on whether sexual orientation should be covered under a national ban on discrimination, Smits quoted the Old Testament: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Last year, Smits was elevated to chair the Latvian Parliament's Human Rights Commission.
From the Baltic Times:
Ledyaev is, at the moment, unwary of taking political stands that may embarrass some of the other churches in Riga. He has a way of speaking his id. "I think there are a lot of gays in the media," he says. "You can tell it by the questions they ask and the articles they write."
In this he may have a soul mate in former Transport Minister Ainars Slesers, who Ledyaev says is a frequent V.I.P. member of the church. Slesers was quoted in the press this week saying "we can’t have three policemen protecting every fag," but Ledyaev says his friend was quoted out of context.
"[Slesers] only meant that now [the gay pride controversies] will all be over, and we won’t need to assign all these policemen to protect gay people," he says. "And that gay people should hold their meeting outside the city in a forest or a swamp where they won’t bother anyone."
He took a firm stand in defense of Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars, becoming a particularly vocal proponent of a petition backed by the local Christian radio station in support of his retaining his position against the petition backed by the gay rights group Mozaika and others asking for his resignation. "The sexual minorities are trying to take revenge on Jaundzeikars," he says.
But there are other so-called American-style church groups who supported the petition to ban the gay pride parade, who balked at taking a position on the pro-Jaundzeikars petition one way or another. (Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said on July 31 that he would not demand Jaundzeikars’ resignation, rendering the petition drive moot.)
The Good News Christian Congregation is one of these churches. When asked if his church had a strong relationship with New Generation, Andrey Chebotarev, the assistant pastor of Good News, answers after a slightly uncomfortable pause and through a nervous smile: "We believe in the same Jesus."
And...disturbingly...they also provide yet another bit of evidence that Dubya is among Joel's Army, or at least is certainly seen as a fellow "Watchman on the Walls":
High on the Watchmen agenda during their March Latvia visit was expressing their anger over a $7,179 donation the U.S. embassy in Latvia made to Mozaika, a Latvian gay rights organization. The four-figure sum is pocket lint in terms of U.S. foreign aid. (According to tax records, nonprofit organizations run by Lively donated a similar amount to anti-gay groups over the last two years.) But the Watchmen didn't just protest the small donation. They did so in the name of the Bush Administration. Hutcherson claimed that the White House had appointed him a "special envoy" for "family values."
"I came to you representing the White House. In my country, people will know how Latvia responded to anti-Christian statements," Hutcherson told the Latvian parliament. "We need to stand for righteousness not only morally, but also physically and financially. It's a great battle for righteousness and no one can stop it. I promise to stand with you."
Hutcherson later said that he was designated a White House envoy during a February 2007 meeting between himself, Ledyaev and Jay Hein, the head of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Hutcherson claims he has a videotape of this meeting, but so far has refused to release it.
In a written statement, White House spokesperson Alyssa J. McLenning refuted Hutcherson's claim: "The White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives did not give Hutcherson the title, 'Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.' The White House did not give Hutcherson any other titles and did not coordinate with Hutcherson on his recent trip to Latvia." Impersonating a diplomat is a felony, but the White House apparently is not pursuing the matter.
And, it seems, Hutcherson isn't the only one claiming links to Dubya. As noted above, Leydayev himself has been invited to the National Prayer Breakfast by Bush himself...disturbing indeed.
...and, unfortunately, non-dominionists are targeted too
As has happened in many other places--including, ironically, Russia itself--neopente dominionists have made themselves so obnoxious and unwelcome that there are backlashes against even non-dominionist Russian emigres in Sacramento:
Anti-immigrant sentiments already were rising among Sacramento gays and lesbians prior to Singh's murder. Slavic immigrant chants of "Repent, Sodomites!" at anti-gay demonstrations were frequently countered with shouts of "Go back to Russia!" Since the killing, anger at the local Slavic evangelical community has reached the boiling point. One typical online posting to a Craigslist Web forum was titled, "DEPORT RUSSIANS NOW!!"
"Satender Singh is just the beginning of the [P]andora's box," it read. "They come here [as] religious refugees and turn their newfound freedom on our citizenry. If they are going to [cite] evangelical religious rhetoric, then I say give some Old [Testament] eye for eye."
The situation heated up further on Aug. 7, when Sacramento authorities charged Andrey Vusik, 29, with involuntary manslaughter as a hate crime in Singh's death, saying that the evidence did not show intent to kill. Vusik, leaving a wife and children in West Sacramento, fled to Russia in July, they said, and is being sought by the FBI. A second suspect, Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21, was arrested at his home and charged with intimidation and interfering with a victim's rights, also as a hate crime. Authorities roundly dismissed the claims of Vusik's wife, who told The Sacramento Bee that her husband acted in self-defense after Singh's party became raucous and sexually provocative, shocking her "Christian" family. No independent witnesses or members of Singh's party supported that version, detectives said.
Meanwhile, Ledyaev and Lively have contributed to the tension by refusing to publicly condemn Singh's murder. Vlad Kusakin, editor of The Speaker, called the killing "tragic" but criticized The Sacramento Bee for publicizing the details of the murder, alleging that the newspaper was engaged in a Nazi-style propaganda campaign against Slavic Christians.
Between 80,000 and 100,000 Slavic immigrants live in the Sacramento region, the highest concentration in the United States, and the city is home to some 70 Russian fundamentalist congregations. A third of the Slavic population considers themselves evangelicals or "Russian Baptists," a doctrine that is unrelated ideologically or organizationally to American Baptist churches. (Ironically, many of them emigrated to the United States beginning in the late 1980s to escape religious persecution in what was then still part of the Soviet Union.) Meanwhile, nearly 10% of the actual city of Sacramento's 450,000 residents openly identify as gay or lesbian -- almost 45,000 men and women. Only a small handful of cities, like Seattle and San Francisco, boast higher percentages of openly gay and lesbian residents.
The rise in virulent anti-LGBT dominionist activity in Latvia has also threatened its commitment to European human rights groups, which generally see LGBT rights as a human-rights issue. UK Gay News reports:
Never let it be said that the movers and shakers in the Council of Europe (CoE) lack guts.
This week, Andreas Gross, rapporteur of the Judicial and Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), was in Latvia and invited the Latvian Parliamentary Social Affairs and Human Rights Committee to lunch.
Well, not quite all of the committee. Excluded was chairperson Janis Smits, whose homophobic outbursts are legendary.
Parliamentarian Smits closely allies himself with Alexey Ledyaev who heads the worldwide New Generation Church, a particularly homophobic so-called "Christian" church with its world headquarters in Riga.
And "pastor" Ledyaev is best buddies with the likes of Scott Lively of The Pink Swastika infamy, former NFL "hitman" turned preacher Ken Hutcherson, and the international anti-gay movement Watchmen on the Walls, which specialises in violent gay-bashing thuggery – and there are allegations in the USA that suggest Watchmen on the Walls had something to do with the vicious murder of a young Fijian man of Indian descent, Satender Singh, near Sacramento, California, last July.
. . .
Back in Latvia this week, Janis Smits took exception at not getting an invitation to the lunch. The Latvian media was full of the snub of the homophobic chairperson.
Juris Lavrikovs of ILGA-Europe provided a resumé of what the media reports:
When speaking to journalists, Janis Smits described [the lack of an invitation] as ‘personal discrimination’. However later, following personal request, he was included in the list of the lunch invitees.
During a meeting with Mr Gross, Janis Smits insisted that Latvia is "Nordic nation" and he is convinced, therefore, that Latvians do not "exhibit their feelings" about sexuality.
PACE’s Judicial and Human Rights Committee received a proposal for a recommendation signed by 12 members of the Parliamentary Assembly for legal recognition of same-sex unions in all CoE countries. Boriss Cilevic, Latvian member of the Parliamentary Assembly, also signed this proposal.
The proposal points out that in recent years the authorities in some member states of the Council of Europe have banned or attempt to ban peaceful demonstrations by lesbians and gay men. The proposed recommendation points out that sexual minorities have the same right to assemble and protect their rights, while the authorities have to restrain from such expressions which can insinuate legitimisation of discrimination.
Janis Smits said that proposed recommendation is an initiative of 12 socialists and liberals and he believes will not get support from other PACE members.
After the lunch meeting with Mr Gross, Janis Smits told the media that sexual minorities’ events are being sponsored by foreign countries and "this is sort of revolution-making inside other countries which has nothing to do with human rights".
While speaking to Mr Gross, Janis Smits stressed that if we want to live in harmonious society, then both sides need to respect each other’s view.
However when speaking to the media, Janis Smits said that so-called Gay Pride events should be called "Pederasts Pride".
This is a very enlightening resumé of media reportage – and it backs up Mr. Gross’ initial feeling of not to invite Janis Smits.
The links in the UK Gay News article also point to how the group may be responsible for fomenting anti-LGBT hatred in much of Eastern Europe--including notes on how "Watchmen On The Walls" have filed formal protest against Tony Blair for condemning the actions against the Riga Pride Day march (where Watchers on the Walls members literally threw human shit at Pride marchers).
A meeting of Enemies of the Republic, both foreign and domestic
Suffice it to say, dominionists in the Russian and Latvian emigre communities are stoking the fires, per reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has "made an injection" of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. "In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin," Kusakin said.
And, it seems...this lovely bunch of individuals will be having a Stateside meeting from October 19-21 at the Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, WA. Already there is a call to contact BICE to report potential promoters of domestic terrorism, among other things.
And even more disturbingly, there are people scheduled to attend the conference in Washington who are known to have been extremists in other manners as well. The Seattle Times reports:
Watchmen has held events at Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center and at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel & Towers without incident, said Cmdr. Chuck Steichen of the Lynnwood Police Department.
But the department has received conflicting information on whether there will be any protests at this event, so there will be more officers at the site than at usual convention-center events, Steichen said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center believes the movement could be dangerous. Its report connects Watchmen followers with fierce anti-gay protests on the West Coast and in Riga.
The center points out that another Watchmen leader, Scott Lively, co-authored a book saying gay people were central in forming the Nazi Party and orchestrating the Holocaust.
Josh Friedes, advocacy director for Equal Rights Washington, which speaks on gay issues statewide, said groups like Watchmen have a right to assemble and speak.
But "we believe they promote an extremist agenda that seeks to deny gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people the most basic civil rights.
"And we are deeply concerned that they would be willing to accomplish this agenda through means that might include violence or intimidation."
Hutcherson, who will be speaking at the conference this weekend, says the movement isn't violent.
"You're going to have extremists on any aspect on any teaching," said Hutcherson, who helped form Watchmen along with Alexey Ledyaev, an ethnic Russian megachurch pastor based in Riga. Ledyaev and Lively are scheduled to speak at the conference, as is Wade Kusak, publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Sacramento and Seattle.
Pastor Joseph Fuiten, of Bothell's Cedar Park Assembly of God Church, is having second thoughts about his scheduled appearance at the conference. Fuiten said he had been asked to speak on voter registration.
"I have very little respect for the Southern Poverty Law Center," Fuiten said. "The allegations and charges that they make are frequently over the top. I respect what they did about the Klan and stuff like that," he said of the group's stance against the Ku Klux Klan. "But they are not an objective arbiter of what is hate."
Still, "I don't want to be associated with hate or violence," he said, "although I don't have reason to believe there is any associated with this group."
Ah, yes, Joseph Fuiten. Some of you may be familiar with my writing on Fuiten.
For those who aren't, you might remember hearing him on CNN's "God's Warriors" program.
You see, Joseph Fuiten also happens to be the head of the Northwestern Division of the Assemblies of God--the same Assemblies leader who on national television declared that non-dominionists should be denationalised and considered "illegal aliens".
An article in the Everett Herald is notably more revealing on what Fuiten really thinks about LGBT people and the SPLC:
The Watchmen group is composed of some of the state's 200,000 Russian speaking immigrants, said Pastor Joe Fuiten of Bothell's Cedar Park Church. He plans to be a featured speaker at the Lynnwood event.
Fuiten, known statewide for rallying the religious right on moral issues, bristled at the Southern Poverty Law Center's characterization of the Watchmen.
"That southern law group, they're a bunch of whackos," Fuiten said. "They're the hate group. That's a gay front, is what that is."
Potok said he's heard that kind of criticism before.
"That's what the Klan says about us, too," he said.
Fuiten said the Watchmen are "extraordinarily" religious and conservative.
Many members fled to the United States from former Soviet countries because they wanted religious freedoms, he said. They arrived here to find a secular culture moving away from religious life. Now, they are calling for a return to moral values, Fuiten said.
Moral values, one expects, like literally beating gay men to death and throwing shit at Pride parades. (I seem to remember a time when similar "moral fervour" was directed at another group in Europe, but I'm going to refrain from Godwinning the thread just yet.)
See, this is what I mean by this sort of stuff having official sanction by the Assemblies--his only worry is whether a protest is going to break out. And that, dear readers, is one reason I have extreme concern about this...
...namely, I've personally seen how bad hate speech against LGBT people can get in the Assemblies and its "daughters"...and the hate crimes linked to "Watchers Along The Walls" are just an unusually public expression of what a lot of folks in neopente dominionist churches privately are hearing in their sermons...and teaching to young kids. (And people seriously wonder why I refuse to "come out" to my family!)
Apparently, I'm not the only one concerned, either. It turns out the SPLC is on the verge of listing them as a hate group--just like they did Paul Cameron's "Family Research Institute" for less extreme behaviour:
Watchmen on the Walls' positions are far beyond those typically seen among groups who oppose gays, Potok said. In the former Soviet republic of Latvia, members of the group have been accused of throwing human feces at people with whom they disagree. In the United States, the group is known for extreme, hate-filled speech, Potok said.
"It's the kind of language that leads to violent crimes and often death," he said.
While Watchmen on the Walls hasn't officially been placed on the center's list of hate groups, they likely will be when the list is updated at the end of the year, Potok said.
A report on Watchmen On The Wall's last conference in Novosibirsk, Russia should be a warning sign of what is likely to come. Scott Lively--the author of the Holocaust-revisionist The Pink Swastika--is quoted at that conference, in regards to the beating death of Satender Singh:
Now, I’ve been working with the Russian community in Sacramento. And I want to tell you this is an example of how bad things are in the United States. Because we’ve come to a place in the United States where the homosexuals have achieved very high power. And they’ve begun to punish... They’ve begun to cause the political powers to punish anyone who says that homosexuality is wrong.
There was a situation in Sacramento a few weeks ago in a public park. There was a group of homosexuals and they were very drunk and one of the homosexual men was taking off his pants. And there were children in the park. And a Russian man went over to these homosexuals and he was rebuking them and there started a fight. And the Russian man punched the homosexual. [The audience starts to shout and applaud.] No, no, no, don’t... The man was very drunk... the homosexual was very drunk. He was very drunk and he fell down and he hit his head and he died. [Some in the audience start to applaud and laugh] No.... no...
Now the Russian man has been accused of murder and the FBI is seeking him. And all of the powers in Sacramento have been accusing all of the Russian community of being murderers. And the goal is to silence everyone who speaks against homosexuality. And this is a very dangerous situation because we don’t want homosexuals to be killed. We want them to be saved. Amen?
Yes, you are reading this right. Lively is essentially blaming poor Satender Singh for being gay and drunk for having his "accident" at the hands of a bunch of neopente "Joel's Army" thugs. :P
Lively is also noted to have continued:
There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals.
This is a war you haven’t seen yet. You’ve only seen a little bit of it, because Russia had been protected against the homosexual movement by the Communists. One of the few good things that the Soviet Union did is that it stopped the sexual revolution from infecting the Russian people. But all across the West, the sexual revolution changed the culture of the nations. The sexual revolution embraces the idea that there should be no limits on sexual conduct.
And this is the design of the Devil to destroy civilization, because civilization is based on the natural family. One man and one woman united in marriage bringing children into the world and training them to replace them in the next generation. That’s the foundation of civilization and the heart of Christian living.
And in the United States where the sexual revolution began, it was the homosexual political movement that designed this strategy to attack Christianity. The homosexual movement teaches sexual freedom, and its first target is the heterosexual people. The homosexual activists stayed hidden but they taught this philosophy through their activists. And out of the philosophy came the principalities and powers that is destroying the West: The pornography industry, the abortion industry, and the destruction of marriage through divorce.
These things are the product of a way of thinking. They deny the Truth of God. They deny the design of God for human beings. And their purpose is the change the cultures of the world.
Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization. And Watchmen on the Walls is an organization to fight against this collapse. Watchmen On the Walls is an organization of men and women with courage, who will stand on the Truth of God and without compromise demand that the culture will follow the guidance of God. That marriage and family must be held at the highest level.
He wrapped up his talk at a conference with a call for a dominionist government in every country:
If we allow the people who hate God to take control of all the centers of power, then they will change all of the rules and they will put barriers in the way of the Gospel. They will prevent us from telling the truth to the people around us. But if the people of God can step forward and take control of the centers of power, then we can make the rules work in favor of the Gospel. We can use the government to help us tell the message of Jesus Christ. And we must do this!
...and, my fellow readers, this is what we must work against. Were "Joel's Army" to win...The Handmaid's Tale would likely seem a refreshing Prague Spring to non-dominionists in comparison.