Anatomy of a Mythical Boogeyman

Gay activists frighten each other telling stories about the monsters prowling about in the dark, waiting down lonely paths, behind bushes and trees, ready to pounce, to slay them and then to gnaw on their bones.

Chief among the midnight monsters they whisper about is a man named Scott Lively. You’ve never heard of Scott Lively. He looms monstrously large in the gay imagination. They are downright terrified of Scott Lively.

The gay Human Rights Campaign convinced billionaire Paul Singer to fund a dossier on Scott Lively.

So feared is Scott Lively that there is a Federal lawsuit charging him with crimes against humanity. Google Scott Lively and you find that he has single-handedly changed the fate of gays all over the world, but most especially gays in Russia and Uganda.

A year ago an LGBT gadfly named Jeremy Hooper wrote a lengthy “exposé” of Lively and his recent efforts in Russia. Hooper specializes in breathless takedowns of gay critics. “When it comes to ardent anti-LGBT advocate Scott Lively, it’s best to know the spot on the globe to which he is most fully directing his focus.” So begins more than a thousand words meant to scare the bejesus out of any gay who might think the world is safe for him and his proclivities. It most assuredly ain’t, according to Jeremy Hooper.

The charge against Lively—and something he has abetted them in thinking—is that he practically single-handedly made the Russian people anti-gay and convinced Putin’s regime to make it illegal to be gay in Russia.

In his no doubt lengthy investigation, this is what Hooper found. Scott Lively wrote a letter to Putin. Scott Lively “strongly advised” Hungary to follow Russia’s example and ban the homosexual narrative to grade school kids. He “advised” the Russian government to take a strong stand against gays at the Sochi Olympics. Lively wrote a letter to Australia telling them to watch out for gays. Lively went to Russia and appeared on a religious TV program. He held a press conference. He ate an expensive breakfast at his hotel room in Moscow and afterwards bought groceries and ate in his room.

Powerful gripping stuff that; enough to scare even the gayest fella straight.

Last year Mother Jones ran a lengthy piece entitled “Meet the Pastor Behind Uganda’s Anti-Gay Crackdown.” Mariah Blake writes, “In late February, when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the nation’s harsh new anti-gay bill into law, he claimed the measure had been ‘provoked by arrogant and careless Western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality.’ What he failed to mention is that the legislation—which makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison in some cases—was itself largely due to Western interlopers, chief among them a radical American pastor named Scott Lively” [emphasis added].

By the way, Scott Lively apparently is an ordained minister, like Al Sharpton, though, like Sharpton, it isn’t entirely clear whether he, in fact, pastors. But that is irrelevant when you’re going for the trifecta; anti-gay, Christian, pastor.

Blake writes that from 2002 through 2009 Lively made several trips to Uganda and lectured widely about the homosexual threat coming from the West. He spoke at an anti-porn conference. He spoke at a conference organized by a local pastor. According to a local gay activist, the Ugandans had never heard anything like what Lively told them and it “landed like a bombshell.”

Five years later, Ugandan president Yoiweri Museveni signed an admittedly draconian bill into law making something called “aggravated homosexuality” a capital crime. Scott Lively did this. Or so they say.

Who is Scott Lively?

He has bummed around the pro-family movement for many years but has never really been accepted by the mainstream groups. I am told he does not work well with others. One major pro-family figure told me that Lively is just as happy attacking other pro-family people as he is going after the LGBTs.

Hooper’s piece mentions that Lively was present at the Moscow planning meeting of the World Congress of Families and concludes that Lively had now been accepted by the likes of Alliance Defending Freedom, and Focus on the Family. What Hooper does not know and what has not been reported until now is that Lively’s presence at that meeting came as a surprise to many of the Americans present and that they strongly suggested that Lively not be invited back, which he wasn’t. He went on to found his own international group that hasn’t even made a ripple.

It is odd to me that the gays make such a big deal about Lively because I have been active in international pro-family circles for going on twenty years and I had barely heard of him. I had never met him until he showed up at the Moscow planning meeting and I have never seen him since.

But, really it is not so odd.

The left desperately needs monsters on the right to keep the money flowing so they have found Lively and, with his happy cooperation, inflated him into a puppet-master able to bend whole countries to his will.

The reality on the ground is much more interesting than the cartoon they have written for Scott Lively. Take Uganda. The Ugandan people did not need Scott Lively to be hostile to homosexuality. They are a traditional people with among the strongest attachments to family in the world. Moreover, 84 percent of Ugandans are Christians with Catholics making up 41 percent. What’s more, every June 3 the universal Church celebrates a feast day for St. Charles Lwanga and companions. Lwanga and his friends were pages to the Ugandan King who demanded sex with them. The young men refused and were killed.

And even in the present day, the story is more interesting than Scott Lively making some speeches. A reporter I know quite sympathetically covers the international LGBT movement and therefore follows Uganda politics very closely.

He tells a highly detailed story about how the bill was the result of inter-party politics and a deal cut so the current president could continue in the role of his party’s standard-bearer.

He scoffs at the notion that Lively had anything to do with the Uganda law or the Russian law or much of anything else. Moreover, he is frustrated with the simplistic way Lively is used by the LGBT establishment, particularly since the real stories in Russia and Uganda are much more complex and much more interesting. I suspect he also believes time spent on Lively is time wasted when there are more important matters to deal with.

Gay activists are not really afraid of Scott Lively. They know he’s had little to no effect overseas. He is their invention, a vehicle to keep their base riled up and the direct mail checks flowing.

Some times people ask me why I “obsess” over the LGBT issue. I tell them I’d rather talk about practically anything else. I tell them that we did not start this argument. We are only responding. I honestly wish I did not know about this little glimpse of grubby hell I just shared with you. But, I suppose it is important that you be warned about what is inevitably coming your way.

(Photo credit: Peter Casey / WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

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