Hatewatch

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

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.”