SPLC Reports on Anti-Gay Violence and Intimidation in Sacramento

Scott Lively and his Latvian neo-Pentecostal links highlighted

A few days ago on I blogged on the anti-gay activism of Oregon-based Scott Lively and his links with the international neo-Pentecostal New Generation church in Latvia. Looks as though I just skimmed the surface; Casey Sanchez of the Southern Poverty Law Center has the full story:

On the first day of July, Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless — two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.

According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them “7-Eleven workers” and “Sodomites.” The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a “good church” like theirs…”

Singh was killed by a blow to the head. Also:

…Sacramento gay and lesbian rights advocate Wendy Hill, 33, said that when she came of age as a lesbian in the mid-1990s, Sacramento was a safer place. “As a college student, you pushed the envelope. You walked down the street hand-in-hand with another girl, even if you weren’t dating.” Now, Hill says, after a group of rowdy Russian-speaking protesters showed up outside her house one morning, “I get afraid of that now, walking hand in hand with my wife.”

Funnily enough, such details were absent from the recent report about Lively at Latvia which appeared in OneNewsNow, which notes only – with tacit approval – that according to Lively

…people of the former Soviet Union’s Russian-speaking countries are among the strongest opponents of the homosexual agenda in the world.

Sanchez gives us a lot more background detail:

…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…anti-gay talk radio hosts and fundamentalist preachers routinely deliver hateful screeds on the airwaves and from the pulpit in their native tongue that, were they delivered in English, would be a source of nationwide controversy.

As for Lively:

Lively identifies “the enemy” as not only homosexuals, but also what he terms “homosexualists,” a category that includes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who “actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy.”

When he personally confronts the enemy, Lively practices what he preaches when it comes to “battle-hardened” tactics. He recently was ordered by a civil court judge to pay $20,000 to lesbian photojournalist Catherine Stauffer for dragging her by the hair through the halls of a Portland church in 1991.

Apparently, Lively owes his reputation among Slav fundamentalists to a Russian translation of his pseudo-historical book The Pink Swastika, which argues that Hitler and the Nazis were gay; the book has been discredited, and “Even right-wing legislators in the California Assembly are said to audibly groan when Slavic evangelicals wave a copy of the pink volume during testimony.” Meanwhile, in Latvia:

…In a speech given after Riga’s first gay pride parade in 2005, Ledyaev told his international congregation: “Homosexuality is a…dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community.”

The parade had been opposed by right-wing protestors who threw bags of faeces; among them were youths in “I Love New Generation” T-shirts. Further:

…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.

That last point is not surprising; current Eastern European anti-gay rhetoric makes use of human rights discourse – meaning the right of the religious not to have to accept gay rights. That was the line taken by Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II during his recent address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg:

“When persistent attempts were made to hold a homosexual parade in Moscow, we believed that that meant propaganda and advertisement of sin,” Alexy told a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, France.

Attempts are made to justify homosexuality by calling it a disease, the patriarch said. Yet kleptomania can also be considered a disease, he argued. “Why then no one advertises kleptomania while homosexuality gets advertised via gay parades?” he said…

“…nobody must try to force me or my brothers and sisters in faith to be silent and [to prevent us from] using the word sin for something that is called sin in God’s Word,” the patriarch said.

It is the right of religious believers to question the acceptability of legal and political support for a feature of society, he said.

Read the whole of the SPLC report.

2 Responses

  1. […] UPDATE: The SPLC has a report on all this. See my blog entry here. […]

  2. […] 2005, Ledyaev explained that: Homosexuality is a…dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and […]

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