The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Throwing Stones: Academy Honoring Anti-Gay Activist Hit by Vandalism

By Leah Nelson on October 17, 2011 - 5:06 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Adding fuel to a fire started and stoked by anti-gay activists who claim that LGBT people are the worst threat facing the United States, vandals on Saturday threw bricks through the windows of a Chicago-area school that was set to host a banquet honoring anti-gay agitator Scott Lively later that day. The bricks were reportedly scrawled with the message “Shut down Lively” and came with a note reading, “This is just a sample of what we will do if you don’t shut down Scott Lively and AFTAH [Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which organized the event]. Fuck Scott Lively. Quit the homophobic shit!”

An anonymous person or people took credit for the vandalism, posting on a Chicago website, “These chunks of concrete were thrown through these windows and doors for two reasons: to show that there is a consequence for hatred and homophobia in our community and to directly cause this event to be shut down. If this event is not shut down, and the homophobic day trainings do not end, the Christian liberty academy will continue to be under constant attack.”

Police have not said whether this will officially be investigated as a hate crime (such determinations typically require time and evidence-gathering), but given the explicit threat to Lively, AFTAH, and the Christian Liberty Academy, all signs seem to point to yes.

Yet the vandalism did not have its perpetrators’ desired effect. Instead, Christian Liberty Academy boarded up its broken windows and door, and the event proceeded as planned. Lively, who is best known as co-author of The Pink Swastika, a discredited history that falsely asserts gays masterminded and carried out the Holocaust, was honored as an “American Truth Teller.”

Whoever committed this crime has only strengthened the absurd argument, promulgated by many anti-gay activists (especially the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer) that LGBT people want to take over America and persecute Christians.

Fischer has been flogging this canard since May, when he announced his intention to prove that “homosexual activists” are “the primary perpetrators of hate crimes in the United States of America.” As with so many of Fischer’s claims (for instance, here, here, and here), this is nonsense. The fact is, LGBT people are far and away the population most likely to be targeted in hate crimes.

In 2009, the most recent year for which FBI hate crimes statistics are available, there were 1,202 anti-LGBT hate crimes. Based on figures from a National Health and Social Life Survey cited by a coalition of 31 leading gay rights organizations as “the most widely accepted study of sexual practices in the United States,” 2.1% of the U.S. population is gay. The total U.S. population in 2009 was 305 million, suggesting that there are approximately 6.4 million self-identifying LGBT people in America.

In contrast, according to a 2009 American Religious Identification Survey conducted by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., 75% of Americans identify as Christian. That’s about 228.8 million.

There were 89 anti-Christian hate crimes reported in 2009. So both proportionately and in absolute terms, Fischer’s claim about the threat from marauding “homosexual activists” is pure bunk. But this incident of apparent anti-Christian vandalism – if that’s what it turns out to be – will only serve to perpetuate his lies. Lively and AFTAH are already making the most of their victim status. AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera told the far-right WorldNetDaily, “We see the homosexual agenda is becoming so arrogant in its growing power, but we’ve never seen this before, what we would call ‘homofascism’ being raised to the level of domestic terrorism.”

  • Watkins

    Living in a very small town and watch the news and read the net news I feel that we are to small for these activities. I read most of the coments for I believe you are all well educated people. And I do respect all your coments. Thanks.

  • Anymouse

    Dick got it right and your responses prove it.

  • Gregory

    Dick Lancaster said,
    “Lennin called you “useful idiots.”

    And Lenin simply called Mr Lancaster “an idiot”. Good old Vladimir, what a joker.

  • Aquaria

    “Most Christians really don’t care about your sex life.”

    Facts not in evidence. For those who really don’t care, you need to start telling the ones who are spreading vicious lies to knock it off. They’re your problem, not that of non-Christians. Stop expecting us to do your dirty work.

    They would prefer you not engage in foreplay in public–and this goes for everyone.

    I don’t care if they kiss or hug in public. Don’t like it? DON’T LOOK! Who are you to tell people how to behave–and don’t drag up your children. America being so stupidly uptight about sex is creating…well, hateful prudes like you.

    “However, Christians get upset when you interfere with their freedom of religion and try to undermine it.”

    Nobody’s interfering with it, liar. You’re simply being set straight at last that your right to believe Bronze Age fairy tales ends at everyone else’s noses. That’s what has your knickers in a twist–people are finally standing up to you and telling you to shut up your hateful mouths and leave people alone. Problem: Too many of you won’t do it.

    Look at you–whining from your privilege that poor pitiful you is being “undermined.” Undermined? Are you for real? Can you go to the church you want? Are you impeded from purchasing your holy book? Is anyone knocking down the door of your home and forcing you not to pray.

    They’re not and you darn well know it, so drop the dishonest persecution complex. You’re not being persecuted, and it’s an outrageous LIE to imply that you are, even remotely.

    “The gay people that I know cringe at the antics of their more radical element just as Christians cringe at the snake handlers.”

    You don’t cringe enough at the violent thugs who are christians, and most gay people would, by far, appreciate those who are fighting the battles than you guys bother to handle your loonies.

    Do you have anything to say that doesn’t reek of mendacity and undeserved privilege?

  • Sam Molloy

    I agree that they probably did it themselves, crazy enough to think it would help their cause. Look for a ringer in the OWS demonstrations if they keep up, too.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Lenin never used the term “useful idiots” in any speech or piece of writing he ever made. The claim has often been made by right-wing fearmongers, better known as useless idiots.

  • Jonas Rand

    “Lennin [sic] called you ‘useful idiots.’”

    No, he didn’t.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Dick, homosexuals are not trying to undermine the religious freedom of Christians, who by the way, do not all oppose homosexuality.

  • Alan

    Violence, in any form, is not the answer. Our cause is not helped by this.

  • Dick Lancaster

    There are some “Christians” who feel threatened by homosexuals. The Old Testament refers to the act as “an abomination”. Their thinking is tailored to what God said back then. Unfortunately His Son shows up and confuses the issue with that “love” thing. We have been confused ever since.

    If you want to call Christians names that’s okay with me. But for you liberals who actually know what liberal means, open your minds to the following:

    Most Christians really don’t care about your sex life. They would prefer you not engage in foreplay in public–and this goes for everyone. However, Christians get upset when you interfere with their freedom of religion and try to undermine it. The gay people that I know cringe at the antics of their more radical element just as Christians cringe at the snake handlers.

    The radical homosexuals are engaged in POLITICS. The Christians opposing them are in POLITICAL opposition. It is a TACTIC that the radical homosexuals use when engaged in POLITICS to paint their opponents as gay-bashers instead of POLITICAL opponents. This tactic has been in use for thousands of years. Call it propaganda, call it psycops; whatever you want, but regardless of which side you’re on, failing to see this can make you a very dangerous dupe. Lennin called you “useful idiots.”

    If you truely want all to get along, try a little scepticism when engaging any polemic.

  • WMDKitty

    This doesn’t pass the smell test — my money’s on Labarbera or one of his cronies doing this for publicity.

  • Mike

    I couldn’t agree more .
    As har as hate goes it knows no political or racial boundries . Hate is hate , it is what it is .

  • Mick

    Mike thanks for speaking to the political dogma of using this issue of hate as a political tool for hitting on republicans . Or democrats . In fact when hate is used as a political tool , only the hate side wins .

  • Snorlax

    Vandalism is not an effective method of political discourse.

  • Mick

    Unfortunately not surprised by some of the comments . As if a political concept of smaller government must mean you are more likely to be hateful ? Hate of course is non discriminatory .In politics we have seen how it can be used to gain power and how it is exposed to have the other party loose power. Politically I have seen it seldom exposed to solve problems , Because we would all be exposing the ones in usually tends to expose the hatred in far away places.

    The democrats here are hoping their views of republicans being homophobic will cause this young man to loose his election because he happens to be a homosexual who is a republican . I have found hate is a non discriminatory in the circles it embraces.

    http://www.blogcabin.net/?p=1958

  • Mike

    The system includes a large group of major Republican presidential candidates who gleefully say hateful stuff about gay people every single chance they get.

    Could you please give an example , I have been following the Rep candidates and haven’t heard or read ONE hatful comment by any one of them . Yes , they have stated their beliefs and opinions on the subject as we all have the right to do . So if your going to say that show me an example .

  • Allen

    I agree with Joe; something smells fishy. Reminds me of in the 90s when Morton Downey, Jr., claimed he was beat up by a gang of “librls” in an airport bathroom, then the cops figured out he had done it to himself as a publicity stunt in an attempt to revive his dying celebrity. the right likes to do this kind of thing to be passive-aggressive and play the victim.

  • Jenny

    Please add facebook/twitter etc. forwarding options to these sort of articles. I would very much like to see this news shared widely and those options are becoming more and more useful/popular to readers everywhere. Our efforts to shine light on matters like this need to be as easily shared as those who spread the opposite.

    Thank you for any consideration you give this. Also, Moderate Mike is right on about the absurdity. I’ve tried using the same tactic with the more ignorant people I’ve run across and I don’t know if it gets through to them, but it sure feels good to make them look absurd!

  • Myra Wood Bennett

    I have to agree with Joe on this one. While reading the article the thought was already in my mind that this group might have staged this themselves to bring attention to their event as well suggesting something negative about the LGBT community. I hope an FBI investigation will ensue and if the group is found to have staged this themselves I would have to suggest to this “good” Christian group “thou shall not lie”. I don’t think Jesus ever “staged” anything and neither would any true Christian.

  • Ophiuchus

    I think that it is absurd to expect a group that is being routinely vilified by major politicians to just meekly “work within the system” to express their displeasure. The system includes a large group of major Republican presidential candidates who gleefully say hateful stuff about gay people every single chance they get. It’s like they have coprolalia, but only about gay people. And welfare recipients. Working within that system doesn’t look all that attractive when the people in the system are the EXACT PROBLEM.

    Deciding to work within the system is not, as Not Helpful above might suggest, “common sense.” “Common sense is in and of itself a meaningless phrase that signifies–as far as I can tell–”stuff I personally like and agree with.” Throwing bricks does not show a lack of common sense; it is the use of a tactic you personally don’t like and don’t think is helpful.

    People are allowing hate speech in a school. Getting a bit upset about that and tossing bricks is completely understandable in my opinion. Militant action is a historically-recognized and at times successful technique in liberation struggles, whether you personally think it’s a good idea or not.

  • ModerateMike

    I have always been amazed at how any misdeed by a member of a minority group magnifies the level of public outrage and quickly reinforces stereotypes, even before any suspects have been identified. Had a heterosexual white male committed the same type of crime, and I were to suggest that heterosexual white men were destroying society, it would sound absurd.

    These kinds of prejudices are the norm where I live, not so much because the people are “bad”, but because they have been trained to put their trust in individuals rather than ideas (i.e. conservative people are trustworthy; liberal people are not). I believe that conservative politicians and commentators understand this all too well, and that this is part of the reason why hard data contradicting the claims of AFA has been so slow to convince people (if it even reaches their ears at all). Addressing this kind of “political bigotry” will, I think, result in a society that is not only more tolerant of individual differences, but also more pragmatic on issues such as climate change, immigration reform, and health care. Until then, solid arguments may not be enough to change minds; you first have to convince people to remove their fingers from their ears.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    I can’t wait to see what Jeronimus and Dick Lancaster say to this!

  • Not Helping

    “You’re not helping” – Jon Stewart

    Reenacting kristallnacht is not an effective strategy for discrediting the “gays are Nazis” guy.

    It harms the work of the other LGBT activists that have come before you. I’ve always been bugged by the immature and selfish antics of the Anti-Racist Action and other groups who let their emotions overcome a common sense approach to fighting hate.

  • Joe

    Hard not to question whether or not AFTAH didn’t just make this up or pay someone to do it just to draw attention to their cause. Wouldn’t surprise me of Peter LaBarbara doesn’t start using this as a rally cry to fund raise.

    Something about this whole thing seems rather fishy and I hope the FBI investigates it. I bet they find the truth and it won’t be the same truth peter claims to hold.