A veteran of the anti-gay movement, Lively has been actively propagandizing against LGBT people since the early 1990s, but he's perhaps best-known for co-writing the thoroughly discredited, Holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party (1995), which claims that the Nazi party was full of gay men who, because of their "savagery," were able to carry out the Holocaust.
About Scott Lively
In 2007, he co-founded the virulently anti-gay Watchmen on the Walls, an organization currently active more in Eastern Europe than the U.S. More recently, he got a new claim to fame when he presented his virulent views about homosexuality at a 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda that is widely believed to have played a role in the drafting of Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" bill. Lively is president of Abiding Truth Ministries and director of Redemption Gate Mission Society, both currently based in Springfield, Mass.
In His Own Words
"Because no matter what, [homosexuality] is still abnormal, wrong, harmful and perverse."
– Eugene Register-Guard, Nov. 1, 1992
"There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust. … The first years of terrorism against the Jews were carried out by the homosexuals of the SA."
– The Pink Swastika, 1996
"It is not mere coincidence that the emperors of Rome in its horrific final days were homosexual; that Adolf Hitler's inner circle were mostly homosexual; and that nearly all of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history were homosexual. It is not mere coincidence that America's cultural decline parallels the rise of 'gay rights.’"
– "Agents of the Death Agenda," May 1996 edition of Life Advocate magazine, quoted in "Northwest Update," Coalition for Human Dignity, June 1996.
"Homosexuality is thus biologically (and to varying degrees morally) equivalent to pedophilia, sado-masochism, bestiality and many other forms of deviant behavior."
– “Deciphering 'Gay' Word-Speak and Language of Confusion," May 2002
"Homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses."
– “Letter to the Russian People," 2007
"The gay movement is an evil institution [whose] goal is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity in which there’s no restrictions on sexual conduct except the principle of mutual choice."
– Conference in Kampala, Uganda, March 2009
“We need to bring back public discussion of AIDS as a ‘gay’ disease, pederasty as [sic] major subculture of male homosexuality, mental health problems and domestic violence as major problems associated with lesbianism, the increasing recruitment of children into a homosexual identity through experimentation with ‘gay’ sex, etc. – all the truths we stopped telling because the other side screamed so loudly about them.”
– WorldNetDaily, September 2012
Scott D. Lively first came to light as an anti-LGBT activist in the early 1990s in Oregon, when he was involved with the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) in a variety of capacities: executive director, finance coordinator, finance director, and communications director. The OCA had (and still has) a reputation as a vitriolic and virulently anti-LGBT organization under the leadership of ex-hippie and Vietnam veteran Lon Mabon, who left his leftist roots and became a born-again Christian.
The OCA was supported by Oregon's branch of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition and worked constantly to put draconian and far-reaching anti-LGBT measures on the state ballot. The most notorious of those was Ballot Measure 9 (1992), which would have amended the state constitution to prohibit "all governments in Oregon" from using monies or properties to "promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality, pedophilia, sadism or masochism." These behaviors, the text of the measure said, "are abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse and they are to be discouraged and avoided."
To support its stance, the OCA and its supporters disseminated inflammatory pamphlets and videos, like "The Gay Agenda," which linked homosexuality to evil, sickness, and disease. The group took out radio and newspaper ads that often linked homosexuality to pedophilia, and claimed that LGBT people were seeking "special rights" and that homosexuality is a "public health menace."
The tactics used by Lively, the OCA and its supporters were encouraged by the months-earlier passage of a stringent anti-LGBT ordinance in Springfield, Ore. Measure 9, however, engulfed the entire state in a bitter and brutal political battle that galvanized both sides, divided communities, unleashed anti-LGBT harassment and acts of violence, and finally ended with the measure falling to defeat, 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent.
Lively became known as a prominent spokesman for the OCA during its bruising campaigns, and he was earning a reputation for belligerence, as well. In a 1991 incident, he allegedly threw lesbian photographer Catherine Stauffer against a wall at a screening of an OCA video and then dragged her out of the room by her hair. She sued both Lively and the OCA, and a jury ruled that Lively used unreasonable force and awarded Stauffer $30,000.
In the wake of the Measure 9 loss, the OCA drafted yet another anti-gay ballot initiative. Measure 13 toned down the rhetoric of its predecessor, but its intent was roughly the same. It would have prohibited state and local governments from protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and it would have overturned anti-discrimination ordinances in four Oregon cities.
Lively was active in this campaign, as well, and this as well as other OCA campaigns proved the inspiration for what would become his Holocaust revision book, The Pink Swastika. According to the Eugene Register-Guard, Lively had allegedly been making public statements that linked gay men to the Holocaust, and supporters of the OCA had included wording in a voters' guide that urged voters to "stand with the true victims of the holocaust [sic]" and vote yes on the measure.
Amid a backlash over these claims, the OCA released a statement in which Mabon claimed that Lively had "gotten tired" of being called "Nazi" because of the OCA's opposition to LGBT rights. So, Mabon claimed, Lively began to research the history of the Nazi Party and found, according to Mabon, "that many Nazi leaders were homosexuals and that the Nazi Party was closely tied to pre-Nazi Germany's gay-rights movement." Mabon denied, however, that Lively had linked the Holocaust to gay men, though according to the Register-Guard, Lively stated in a program that had aired several months earlier on public access television that "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." Gay men, Lively continued in the program, "were the foundation of the Nazi Party."
Lively eventually published these ideas in The Pink Swastika with co-author Kevin Abrams, who had published an article titled "The Other Side of the Pink Triangle" in 1994 in Peter LaBarbara's Lambda Report (now defunct; LaBarbera currently heads Americans for Truth about Homosexuality). Abrams is a Canadian Orthodox Jew who was last living in Israel. The book made Lively's career as an anti-LGBT activist, and though actual historians have dismissed it and refuted it, the anti-LGBT right continues to peddle it and its ideas.
The idea that homosexuality has been a "dark force" in history is one that Lively fervently believes and put into print in his 1997 book The Poisoned Stream. In the introduction, he states that he has "come to discover, through various leads, 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. … I have come to believe … that homosexuality has truly been a ‘poisoned stream’ in human history." This theory has fueled much of Lively's activism since his days with the OCA.
Eventually, Lively moved on from Oregon to Sacramento, Calif., where he was active as the state director for the American Family Association (AFA). While there, Lively helped launch the "California Campaign to Take Back the Schools," which was supposed to "stop the homosexualization" of public schools. Lively launched his Abiding Truth Ministries during his California years. A side project of it was the Pro-Family Law Center, through which he involved himself in litigation on behalf of conservative Christian causes.
From Sacramento, Lively ended up in Temecula Calif., where he continued to run Abiding Truth Ministries, but a new side project had presented itself through his connections in Sacramento, which has a large population of evangelical Christian Russian immigrants. Lively found a receptive audience for his theory about gay men and the Nazis. Russians and other immigrants from Eastern Europe remembered only too well the atrocities committed at the hands of the Nazis, and Lively's Holocaust revisionism resonated among some in the immigrant communities. In 2007, Lively launched the virulently anti-LGBT group Watchmen on the Walls along with Sacramento-based Russian radio host Vlad-Kusakin, Seattle megachurch pastor Ken Hutcherson, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev. Thus began the overseas dimension of Lively's anti-LGBT outreach.
Lively promoted Watchmen on the Walls as an international network of Christian activists dedicated to fighting the "homosexual agenda." In 2007, he traveled to Riga, the capital of Latvia, and spoke at Ledyaev's church, where he railed against the gay rights movement, calling it "the most dangerous political movement in the world."
In early March 2009, he went to Uganda to deliver what would become known as his infamous talk at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala at an anti-LGBT conference organized by Family Life Network leader Stephen Langa. The conference, titled "Exposing the Truth behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda," also included Don Schmierer, a board member of the ex-gay therapy group Exodus International, and Caleb Brundidge Jr., a self-professed ex-gay man with ties to the ex-gay therapy group Healing Touch.
Thousands of Ugandans attended the conference, including law enforcement, religious leaders, and government officials. They were treated to a litany of anti-LGBT propaganda, including the false claims that being molested as a child causes homosexuality, that LGBT people are sexual predators trying to turn children gay by molesting them, and that gay rights activists want to replace marriage with a culture of sexual promiscuity. Lively met with Ugandan lawmakers during the conference, and in a blog post later he likened his campaign against LGBT people to a "nuclear bomb" against the "gay agenda" that had gone off in Uganda.
A month later, the Ugandan parliament was considering legislation that included the death penalty for LGBT people in some instances and life imprisonment for others. According to Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Episcopal priest from Zambia (now in Boston) who went to the conference under cover, Lively's talking points were included in the bill's preamble.
In the ensuing international backlash against the bill, Lively claimed that he did not support the death penalty for homosexuality but that if the "offending sections" were modified, the proposed law criminalizing homosexuality "would be an encouraging step in the right direction." In a 2010 documentary about the Uganda bill titled "Missionaries of Hate," broadcast journalist Mariana van Zeller asked Lively about it. He responded that the lesser of two evils would be to allow the bill to go through as is, because, he claimed, not letting it be enacted allowed "the American and the European gay activists to continue to do to that country what they've done here [in the U.S.]."
It wasn't Lively's first visit to Uganda. In a March 2012 appearance on AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer's radio show, Lively explained that he first went to Uganda in 2002 as a keynote speaker in order to stave off a threat from what he called "the globalists who use the sexual revolution and the Planned Parenthood Federation and the global homosexual movement" to accumulate power and control population. So, according to Lively, these forces started "infiltrating" Uganda. The “forces” included George Soros, who supposedly went into the country and started setting up grassroots networks and "introducing pornography" to the country.
Though Lively was unable to attend a January 2012 protest outside the Southern Poverty Law Center’s office in Montgomery, Ala., fellow anti-LGBT activist Peter LaBarbera read a statement from him asking God to “destroy” the SPLC.
Lively’s work in Uganda led to a lawsuit against him under the Alien Tort Claims Act, filed March 14, 2012, by Sexual Minorities Uganda, an LGBT rights group in that country, and the Center for Constitutional Rights in the U.S. The lawsuit claims that Lively conspired with political and religious leaders in Uganda beginning in 2002 to incite anti-LGBT hysteria with warnings about the dangers of LGBT people to children and homosexuality to Ugandan culture. The Liberty Counsel, based in Virginia, announced that it would defend Lively in the case, and moved to have it dismissed. However, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponser rejected the Liberty Counsel’s motion on August 15, 2013, allowing the case to proceed.
Currently, Lively is based in Springfield, Mass., where he moved in January 2008. He started a new project, "Redemption Gate Mission Society," which is engaged in "bringing a better quality of life" to the city's residents through biblical principles. The center of the project is his Holy Grounds coffee house, which serves as a meeting place for the Mission Society. It seemed he was getting out of the anti-LGBT business, because in early 2011, Lively told the Boston Globe that his new focus was serving the needy.
Lively's hiatus from anti-LGBT activism was short-lived. In March 2011, only two months after his interview with the Globe, Lively was in the Eastern European country of Moldova to oppose a human rights bill. In a statement that was posted on a Canadian website regarding the bill, Lively said, "What I know now, and have taught the Moldovans, is that the anti-discrimination law is the seed that contains the entire tree of the homosexual agenda, with all of its poisonous fruit." One of Lively's other theories about homosexuality can be found on a Moldovan website. According to the translation, Lively claimed, again, that lobbying for the legalization of homosexuality originates from outside the country, by agents of millionaire George Soros.
Lively has also toured and spoken at venues in Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and the Ukraine, where he says he has spoken at a variety of universities and conference halls and has met with politicians and religious leaders. His goals, as he stated in an open letter to the Russian people that he posted in 2007 and continues to bring up on his blog, include the criminalization of the advocacy of homosexuality and training doctors, psychologists, and therapists to help LGBT people “recover.”
Lively has continued to promote outrageous claims about LGBT people here and overseas, often referring to them with terms such as “predators” and “disordered.” After Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that outlaws “homosexual propaganda” in the country, Lively expressed pleasure and support for such a bill, and claimed in a September 2013 interview with NBC that he influenced Russian lawmakers who implemented it. On his blog, he posted an open letter to Putin, and claimed that he'll send him the first Russian translation of his debunked Holocaust revisionist book, The Pink Swastika.
Since the implementation of the anti-LGBT law in Russia, violence against LGBT people appears to have increased and includes incidents in which neo-Nazis use social media websites to lure young gay men to torture and beatings. There are allegations that one man died of injuries he sustained in one of those beatings. When questioned in the September interview about whether his rhetoric has incited anti-LGBT violence over the years, Lively called such suppositions “a leap.”
Speaking on Sept. 18, 2013, on Pastor Rick Wiles’ TruNews, Lively claimed that the person “heading the largest superpower of the world today” (President Obama) is the Antichrist, and that homosexuality is at the heart of the apocalypse. According to Lively, Putin is the world’s last hope, and other nations should follow in his footsteps by implementing more anti-LGBT laws.