Scott Lively

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Scott Lively at Harvard Law School gubernatorial debate on Criminal Justice, March 13, 2014.

Dr. Scott Douglas Lively (born December 14, 1957) is an American evangelical missionary pastor, author, attorney, and social activist. Founder and President of Abiding Truth Ministries, a conservative Christian organization located in Temecula, California, and head of Redemption Gate Mission Society in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is known as an influential opponent of homosexuality and for argued major influence on anti-homosexuality laws in Russia and Uganda. He was an Independent candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2014 gubernatorial election, running on a biblically-based platform; he secured 19,192 votes, .90% of the total, for 4th place out of 5 candidates.[1]

Despite his rightward orientation, in 1995 he has co-authored The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party with Kevin Abrams, a book repeating 1930s Communist propaganda attributing the allegedly extreme militarism of the National Socialist German Workers Party to homosexuality within its ranks.

Contents

Life story

Background

A Yankee with roots in New England dating to the 17th century, and a fifth-generation Bay Stater, Lively was borne and raised in idyllic Shelburne Falls in rural Franklin County.[2] The first of the six children of Maurice and Judith Lively, one of his uncles had served as a selectman in Heath while another was a fire chief in Greenfield. Scott later fondly looked back on his childhood, with memories of tapping maple trees on his grandfather's 50-acre sugar lot, and hanging out with friends by the village's glacial potholes. However, his father began to suffer from mental illness when Scott was 9 or 10; by his teenage years he had become an alcoholic, took to smoking marijuana, and experimenting with other drugs as means of coping. His father's deterioration culminated in an armed standoff with state police in his childhood home after Scott dropped out of school at age 16; he managed to complete his secondary schooling a few months with credits from the King Philip Project, a hippie-inspired alternative school, and was on his own. For the next sixteen years, he drifted around the United States, often homeless, begging for money, and sleeping under bridges and in shelters, yet managing to visit every contiguous state along the way. He dabbled in the occult at the time. Eventually he wound up in Oregon, where he worked as a minimally-skilled laborer in the building trades for a dozen years.[3] Lively married Anne Gardner in June 1978, fathering two sons, Noah and Samuel,[4] but was unable to free himself from his vices.

Conversion

Like many born-again Christians, Lively can recall the exact day conversion changed his life. "On February 1, 1986," he recounted in an autobiographical article, "I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ on my knees by myself in an alcohol treatment facility in Portland, Oregon. In an instant I was completely healed and delivered from my bondage and I felt the rush of the Holy Spirit through me. It was a miracle which competely removed my desire for alcohol and drugs — something I had been unable to do for myself over several years of a desperate futile struggle to find some way to freedom. I have never since had the slightest desire to go back." His former drug dealer, and fellow recent convert, introduced him to Portland Foursquare Church, which he attended for the next few years as he put his life back together.[5] He had been Left-wing before his conversion, but now embraced Christian conservatism.

In 1988 Lively felt the call to ministry when a pro-life activist showed him pictures of aborted children, and he started off as a lone wolf picketer and protester at abortion clinics.

Oregon Citizens Alliance

Lively (left) with Lon Mabon (right) (1990s).

Lively met Lon Mabon, an ex-hippie, Vietnam veteran turned Christian pastor and conservative activist in 1989, and counts Mabon as a mentor. Lively became State Communications Director in Mabon's Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA). In that capacity he directed the campaign for Oregon Ballot Measure 10, which would have required parental notification for a minor's abortion, in 1990; the question narrowly lost with a 47.3% Yes to 52.7% No vote.

For the next election cycle, OCA addressed the advance of homosexuality in the state. At the time, Lively knew little about radical homosexual politics, but under Mabon's tutelage "realized that homosexuality was even more destructive to society than abortion."[5] During the campaign for Oregon Ballot Measure 9 in 1992, Lively received significant abuse for advocating the biblical perspective on homosexuality, and ran into trouble with the law for defending himself against a lesbian assailant during the screening of an OCA video; when the attacker sued, she was awarded $30,000 by a pro-queer jury. Measure 9 went to defeat by a larger margin, 43.5% Yes to 56.5% No. Two years later, OCA pushed Oregon Ballot Measure 13, a watered-down version of Measure 9, which lost narrowly, 48.5% Yes to 51.5% No. Despite the statewide defeats during Lively's time at OCA, the group achieved several local victories in more conservative areas.[6]

Lively pursued a higher education, and over six years earned an Associates Degree, Bachelor of Science, and Juris Doctor of Law with special credentials in International Human Rights.[3]

The Pink Swastika and The Poisoned Stream

Lively and Abram's The Pink Swastika, 4th ed.

The beginnings of Lively's polemics linking National Socialism and homosexuality began during his activism for OCA. As Rev. Mabon explained in a contemporary press release, Lively had grown tired of being called a "Nazi" for his defense of the family, and began to research the topic. In Mabon's words, Lively came to believe "that many Nazi leaders were homosexuals and that the Nazi Party was closely tied to pre-Nazi Germany's gay-rights movement." In a public television appearance, Lively stated, "Homosexuals created the Nazi Party, and everything that we think about when we think about Nazis actually comes from the minds and perverted ideas of homosexuals." While the second clause of the sentence is largely accurate, Lively's thesis, later the grounds for The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party (1995), has been contested by many historians, though it has won praise from anti-Kinsey academic Judith Reisman. Lively co-authored the book with Kevin Abrams, an Orthodox Jew who had previously written on the homosexual movement under Peter LaBarbara. It stresses the role of Ernst Röhm in the early NSDAP, while repeating hearsay accusations of perversion against Adolf Hitler, a known heterosexual in a long love affair with Eva Braun, and other party officials and movement leaders. The book led many to label Lively a Holocaust revisionist, although the authors in fact repeat the establishment narrative on the Holocaust. The Pink Swastika has gone through four print editions, with an incomplete 5th edition online.

A second book, The Poisoned Stream: "Gay" Influence in Human History (1997), expanded on this historiography. Lively claimed further research had uncovered "a dark and powerful homosexual presence in other historical periods: the Spanish Inquisition, the French “Reign of Terror,” the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery... homosexuality has truly been a ‘poisoned stream’ in human history."

California

After earning his law license, Lively moved to Sacramento, California, where he launched a dispute resolution center in Sacramento, then a for-profit law partnership.[3] Expanding his earlier activism, he directed the state branch of the American family Association. In that role, he launched the California Campaign to Take Back the Schools, an effort to stem the homosexualization of California public schools, which had grown steadily worse since the defeat of the 1978 Briggs Initiative engineered by the political establishment. Meanwhile, he launched his own project, Abiding Truth Ministries, and provided pro-bono legal help to conservative Christian causes via his Pro-Family Law Center.[6]

Later, Lively moved to Temecula, California. He continued operating Abiding Truth Ministries. During his time in Sacramento, he had become close to the Russian immigrant community. Many Russians and other Eastern Europeans in the area were fellow evangelicals with unreconstructed Christian mores, and Lively found them more receptive to his message than most native Americans. Thus began his extensive involvement in the pro-family movement overseas, which would be markedly more successful.[6]

Overseas work

In 2013, Lively has visited more than 30 countries in his capacities as attorney, pastor, and human rights consultant.[7]

Russia

Lively and Fr. Smirnov on a Russian TV program filmed October 17, 2013.

Over 2006-2007, Lively undertook a 50-city speaking tour across the former Soviet Union, traveling across European Russia as well as Siberia and as far as Vladivostok. At its conclusion, he published a Letter to the Russian People in St. Petersburg, which included a recommendation that the Russian Federation criminalize homosexual propaganda aimed at minors. Lively views his influence as a key factor in the passage of an amendment to the Russian federal law On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development to criminalize homosexual propaganda aimed at those under 18, entitled For the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on June 30, 2013.[7] Lively returned to Russia in October 2013, while the country faced extreme pressure from pro-homosexual lobbies and subservient Western governments overseas to drop the law. He helped plan the World Congress of Families VIII that took place in September 2014. On October 17 he did a television program with Archpriest Dimitri Smirnov, head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch‘s Commission on the Family. Aside from building relations with the Orthodox and other Russian Christians, he tried to arrange for a Russian edition of The Pink Swastika, already translated since 2008, to see print.[8]

Latvia

Lively spoke in Latvia in December 2006 during his tour of the former USSR. In Riga, he issued the Riga Declaration on Religious Freedom, which drew hundreds of signatures from representatives from 17 countries.[9]

Redemption Gate Mission Society

Redemption Zone in Springfield, MA
Scott and Anne Lively, bearing sword and shield, with Redemption Gate Mission Society volunteers.
On January 5, 2008, Scott and Anne Lively returned to the former's home commonwealth, with "a plan to redeem one of America's most troubled cities."[3][6] In April they purchased a decrepit house on 60 Sherman Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, abandoned for over a year and lately a den of drug users and prostitutes, and systematically refurbished the property, christening it Redemption House. As Scott remarked on a weblog documenting the progress, "Redemption House is a metaphor for Springfield, and for America: it's foundation, frame and roof are sound and strong. But the house had fallen into serious disrepair." [10] The edifice became the home base for the Redemption Gate Mission Society, a "multi-denominational, multi-racial, multi-ethnic group of Christians" hoping to "bring a better quality of life to the people of Springfield by advocating and
Holy Grounds Coffee House
demonstrating Biblical principles in every area of life intended to evangelize the city," with a focus on a Redemption Zone consisting of a large section of the city near Redemption House.[11]

For the business-zoned base of operations, Lively established Holy Grounds Coffee House, a cafe-cum-church at 455 State Street, which regularly hosts prayer meetings, Bible studies, and offers free coffee to visitors; it has been cited as helping youths to stay off the streets,[12] although ostensible worries the wholesome environment was attracting truants (pushed by a hostile press) forced Lively to forbid visits by students during school hours.[13] Pro-homosexual protestors made anti-Lively demonstrations in front of Holy Grounds in November 2011[14] and March 2012,[15] while a smaller number of Lively supporters, some of whom had been destitute before his ministry helped them out, turned out to support the pastor in each instance.

References

  1. Massachusetts Election Results 2014 The New York Times. November 20, 2014. Accessed December 4, 2014.
  2. Scott Lively. PRESS RELEASE: Lively to Run for Massachusetts Governor ScottLively.net. September 30, 2013. Accessed September 26, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Scott Lively. About Lively for Governor. Accessed September 26, 2014.
  4. Tracking Scott Lively
  5. 5.0 5.1 Scott Lively. A Brief Autobiography ScottLively.net. Accessed September 26, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Scott Lively. Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed October 5, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Scott Lively. Praise for Putin ScottLively.net. September 3, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2014.
  8. Scott Lively. Report from Moscow ScottLively.net. October 18, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2014.
  9. Riga Declaration on Religious Freedom signatories Defend the Family International. Accessed December 4, 2014.
  10. Scott Lively. Redemption House October 18, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  11. Redemption Gate Accessed October 22, 2014.
  12. Peter Goonan. Springfield officials worry Holy Grounds coffee shop run by anti-gay pastor Scott Lively attracts truants The Republican. January 7, 2011. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  13. Peter Goonan. Controversial pastor Scott Lively says students no longer can visit Holy Grounds Coffee House in Springfield during school hours The Republican. January 10, 2011. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  14. Pro-family citizens stand firm and confront loud “Occupy” demonstration. Attempting to harass & intimidate Pastor Scott Lively’s inner-city Christian ministry in Springfield, Mass. MassResistance. November 22, 2011. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  15. Stephanie Barry. Protest march supports lawsuit against Springfield minister Scott Lively brought by Ugandan gay advocates The Republican. March 14, 2012. Accessed October 22, 2014.

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