English Defence League Interviewed by Veteran US Anti-Gay Bigot

Thanks to a tip-off from a reader, I have learned that the interviewer in the English Defence League leadership videos posted by Paul Ray (and blogged by me here) is Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network, a Christian Right outfit based in Virginia. According to his bio blurb:

Christian Action Network (CAN) was founded in 1990 by Martin Mawyer. He based the organization on biblical principles, values, traditions and truths…An activist in the religious community for over two decades, Mr. Mawyer began as a free-lance journalist for various Christian publications and then served as editor of Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority Report.”

…Since its inception in 1989, the Christian Action Network has strongly supported the right to life for the unborn; voluntary prayer in public schools and restoring religious liberties; has lobbied in favor of legislation that would defend traditional marriage; has worked to expose “Gay Days at Walt Disney World” to protect children and families; and has advocated an end to taxpayer-funded “hate art” through the National Endowment for the Arts.

…Among Mr. Mawyer’s numerous radio and television appearances are CNN’s Larry King Live, Sonya Live and Talk Back Live, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, C-SPAN’s Viewer Call-In, FOX’s  Morning News, Hannity & Colmes and The O’Reilly Factor, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, Jerry Falwell’s Pastor’s Study, Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries.

Mawyer claims that there is a network of jihadi terror-training camps across the USA, where plans are underway to launch attacks using weapons of mass destruction; however, an interview he gave on the subject to Sean Hannity on Fox a few months ago was somewhat underwhelming:

Mawyer: They have weapons of mass destruction…    

Hannity: What kind of weapons of mass destruction?    

Mawyer: Well, in some cases I can’t uh, even tell you, Sean.

As indicated from the bio, before his move onto the “anti-jihadi” bandwagon, Mawyer was known for other typical Christian Right issues, in particular anti-gay activism. As a good Christian, in 2000 he considered it important to spread the rumour that Hilary Clinton is a lesbian; Church and State reported that:

The Christian Action Network (CAN), a Religious Right group based in Forest, Va., held a press conference in New York City Sept. 7 to announce plans to place ads in the New York media suggesting that Clinton is gay. The organization freely admitted that it had no hard evidence for the allegation but cited ongoing “rumors.”

…CAN’s fund-raising letters encourage hatred of homosexuals, make outrageous claims about public education and other targets and float improbable scenarios about a possible United Nations takeover of America.

…A March 2000 letter written by Mawyer’s wife, Bonnie, blasted Disney for allowing gay groups to visit Disney World. The letter asserts, “Now I have learned that the radical, perverted homosexuals and lesbians are already promoting their ‘2000 Disney Gay Day’ – with Disney’s help! And they are timing it to occur in June – right when children out of school will be flocking to Disneyowned parks! This proves the true intent of these homosexuals: they are after our children!!”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has further details:

In his “dirty and dangerous” battle against “militant homosexual groups,” Mawyer has not held back. In 1997, after Ellen Degeneres came out as a lesbian on her TV sitcom, Mawyer accused her of “DUMPING HER FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF YOUR LIVING ROOM!! … If we allow the tidal wave of gay and lesbian smut to continue to pour into our homes, it will utterly consume us in no time at all!”

…A 2000 Mawyer mailing incorporated militia-like paranoia: “I am not ready to give this great nation over to one-world government extremists … radical, disease-carrying homosexuals … anti-family lesbian feminists … or anti-American U.N. globalists!”

CAN activists today are familiar faces at Gay Days, videotaping “bad behavior.” In 2003, CAN turned its footage of “homosexual kissing, hugging and fondling” into a video tour of the Southeast, warning parents about the perils of Gay Days and warning that “homosexuals live in a pattern of sin and debauchery.”

The Christian Action Network was apparently in the UK as part of a tour with none other than Robert Spencer. In an August posting on Jihad Watch, Spencer tells us that:

I had a most illuminating dinner with a group including Douglas Murray that offered a bracing introduction to British dhimmitude: we had to move our dinner at the last minute since the proprietors of the George Restaurant didn’t like us discussing jihad and Islamization on the premises…When not getting bounced out of pubs, the intrepid Jason Campbell of the Christian Action Network and I took strolls into a few mosques…

However, a commentator at the posting adds the detail that “Tensions between some of the anti-jihadist factions who had all been kindly invited by Jason to a meal caused splitting of the groups and confusion.”

So, who comes off worse?  The English Defence League hanging out with a man known primarily for his alarmist hatemongering against gays and lesbians? Or the head of the Christian Action Network hanging out with some anonymous men in paramilitary-style balaclavas from an organisation which has described itself as “the most ruthless street army in the country”, and which has not quite succeeded in showing it has no truck with the far-right?

Bring Out the EDL

UPDATE: Douglas Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion has sent me a message asking me to publicise the following:

CAN asked Douglas to do an interview with them – upon seeing the presence of the EDL at the CAN discussion he refused to deal with them and left the venue. He did however give an interview to CAN at another location on the water front. He didn’t actually know who the CAN were, and always says yes to interviews, hence his appearances on other dubious channels such as the Islam Channel.  

He also did have dinner only with Spencer in a personal capacity later that evening.