US Anti-Gay Group MassResistance Announces UK Launch

MassResistance describes the appearance of one of its “no rainbow” stickers during Pride in London 2017 as a “coincidence

From the website of anti-gay group MassResistance:

The largest MassResistance chapter outside of the US officially got started this month in the United Kingdom. Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, traveled to the UK June 29 – July 10 at the invitation of MassResistance activists there for the launch of the group. He met with national pro-family leaders and activists from across the country…

…On July 1, Camenker addressed a meeting in Salisbury (organized as a garden party) with about 50 UK pro-family leaders and activists… Later, in London, Camenker met with the people at Christian Concern, a leading UK pro-family and legal defense group.

… For three full days Camenker and various key activists and political operatives – not just theorists, but people who’ve fought the battles – from across the UK met at a retreat in Bournemouth

MassResistance-UK kickoff meeting in London. On July 7, over 60 committed activists from across the UK came to London for this meeting. There were speeches by several pro-family leaders.

… On July 8, Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez, the leader of Texas MassResistance, gave a stirring speech at the Anglican General Synod in York, England, brought in by a major UK pro-family group.

Lopez’s appearance at the synod was reported by Christian Concern at the time, although he was described as “a professor at the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary” and the link to MassResistance was not mentioned in the write up.

Christian Concern has been close to MassResistance for some time: in 2012 Christian Concern’s Paul Diamond addressed a MassResistance “banquet” in Massachusetts (the name “MassResistance” is derived from the state), and Camenker and Christian Concern’s Andrea Minichiello Williams both travelled to Jamaica in 2014 to urge politicians not to repeal the country’s “sodomy provision”.

However, despite the bullish nature of the MassResistance announcement, it’s curious that names and locations are so vague, and that Camenker’s trip to the UK has left very little by way of a social media footprint. Who are these “pro-family leaders”? Where exactly was the “kickoff meeting”? What was the name of the retreat in Bournemouth? (1)

Bournemouth has featured as the link to US anti-gay activism before: Scott Lively, author of The Pink Triangle, attended a Bible conference in the town in September 2013, and this event inspired the Danish pastor Johny Noer to compose the much-mocked song “The Rainbow Belongs to God” (although it doesn’t any more, judging from the photo above). Noer said that he had attended a location called “the White House”, which I have been unable to identify; there is a retreat centre in Poole with a similar name, but there is no sign that it was there (which is why I’m not naming it here).

The link-man appears to be one David Skinner, who has been named as the head of MassResistance UK. Skinner is in his seventies, and he was in the news in 2014 after he alleged that he had been assaulted by an academic while protesting a lecture titled “Why Gay Sex Is Better than Straight Sex”. The lecturer, one Eric Anderson, had opined that the “damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the Western world”, although he later clarified that in his view “sex should only occur between consenting adults”. Skinner was supported by Christian Concern, and the matter was settled out of court.

Skinner has also contributed to The English Churchman, a resolutely old-school Evangelical newspaper that I’ve blogged on previously (here and here). Skinner wrote in memory of Harry Hammond, an anti-gay street evangelist who had been arrested in 2001 and fined on a public order charge over a sign that read “Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism”. Hammond died shortly after his trial, and Skinner regards him as a martyr.

(H/T: Right Wing Watch for initial link)

Footnote

(1) An indistinct photo on the MassResistance website shows that the London meeting was in a church. Faces are too small to discern with confidence, although my guess for the blonde woman is Anglican Mainstream’s Lisa Nolland, and the man on the far-left as Alan Craig. Nolland and Lopez organised a “Children’s Rights” conference under Christian Concern auspices last year.

One Response

  1. The ‘English Churchman’ is a really good newspaper: could we have more items on it, do you think?

    It is taking a good stand on many issues and needs all of our support.

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