Occupy Springfield (MA) morphed into "Occupy Hate" on Friday in a protest outside of the evangelical coffee house ministry of anti-gay activist Scott Lively.
Lively, who has had a long career as an anti-gay activist, notably in Oregon, California, and recently in Uganda, where he rallied support for the national legislation that would make homosexuality a capital offense, claims that his Springfield ministry has nothing to do with his ongoing anti-gay activism around the world.
As if they can be separated.
Lively's Abiding Truth Ministries has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Springfield Republican reported
Protesters videotaped the demonstration and posted it on the Occupy Springfield Facebook page and on YouTube.
As the demonstration continued, Lively came out of the coffeehouse and confronted the protesters, reading a Bible passage as demonstrators chanted: "Preach
love, not hate."
The pastor of he Redemption Gate Mission Society, Lively attracted controversy after participating in a 2009 tour of Uganda by evangelical ministers, which critics say stoked anti-gay sentiment in the country and anti-homosexual violence.
Lively is the the author of "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party," which asserts that Germany's Nazi party was conceived, organized and controlled ... by masculine-oriented male homosexuals."
Lively has denied charges that he promotes hatred of gays.
Several dozen Occupy Springfield MA protesters marched to the Holy Grounds Coffee House where they were met by Lively supporters and the man himself whose comments are recorded on the following five-minute video.
The naming of the hate, the hater, and the place where the hate occurs in the OWS style of repetition by the group, of phrases of the speaker(s), is quite effective in this video. The marchers follow a banner that reads "Occupy Hate." All this suggests the possibility of fresh approaches to how to confront elements of the Religious Right. The OWS style is not only highly participatory, as everyone gets to speak, even in repetition, and not merely chant slogans, the Springfield action also uses carefully chosen and well presented facts.
But such tactics are not possible without unassailable facts and analysis. That's why it is important not to forget the strategic, non-hyperbolic research and writing that is so essential to effective activism as well as to sound reporting and scholarship. Here is an excellent example:
Earlier this year, The Public Eye magazine published a detailed profile of Lively, by Jim Burroway, who reports that, among other things, Lively believes that gay people were responsible for the Holocaust and are otherwise, serial killers and mass murderers. His profile reads in part:
What Lively "knows" and came to warn his Ugandan audience about is chilling. He told them that one of the most common causes of homosexuality is child molestation; that's how gays recruit children into homosexuality, he said. He told them that European gays were flooding Uganda with money and gifts to recruit children. "They are very predatory," he said.They are very sexually oriented. They want to satisfy their sexual desires. Often these are people that are molested themselves and they're turning it around. And they're looking for other people to be able to prey upon. And when they see a child that's from a broken home, it's like they have a flashing neon sign over their head.
He told the Ugandans about what he said are the various kinds of gays: the transsexuals, the transvestites, the effeminate gays, and the "normal" ones, who blend in. They are the hardest to spot, he said. Then there are the others: machos and, worst of all, he said, the "super machos." It's the latter two groups, Lively claimed, who founded the Nazi party and helped Hitler to come to power. "These are men who have very little restraint," he said.They are so far from normalcy that they're killers. They're serial killers, mass murderers. This is the kind of person that it takes to run a gas chamber, right? Or to do a mass murder, like the Rwandan stuff probably involved these guys.
There's some dispute about whether Mark Twain actually said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." But there is no dispute that Scott Lively has thoroughly proven this truism. "The gay movement is an evil institution," he told his spellbound Ugandan audience. "The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity." His voice rising and his eyes flashing with anger, he continued, If you deny and reject the design of your own body, and you engage in conduct that is self-evidently wrong and harmful to you, then you're going to receive in your body the penalty of your error which is appropriate. Can anyone say AIDS?
This was very possibly, a transformative event in the history of confronting hateful, anti-democratic elements of the Religious Right. It is worth considering how and why that might be so.