(NBC News, 18 Sep 2013)
When President Vladimir Putin recently banned “homosexual propaganda” in Russia, he joined sides in a new global culture war: a struggle to stop the march of gay rights abroad even as advocates wave rainbow flags in America. Now, as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics approach, both sides are bracing for unrest — and an American pastor is taking credit for the law that started it all.
Scott Lively is a hero to some, a demon to others and a joke to still more. From his home in Springfield, Mass., he runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda,” and Holy Grounds Coffee Shop, where the faithful gather for java and Jesus. Lively also sermonizes overseas, promoting his books — most notably The Pink Swastika, which traces the Nazi Party to a gay bar — and portraying gay love as a “dark force” in human history responsible for the Inquisition, American slavery and the Holocaust.
Last month a federal judge allowed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to proceed against Lively that alleges the pastor persecuted gays in Uganda and committed a potential “crime against humanity” — one that contributed to a bill that would have made homosexuality an act punishable by death. And yet the grey-haired 57-year-old has refused to quiet down.
On his blog this month, Lively praised Putin as “the defender of Christian civilization” for signing this summer a banon information that treats being gay as valid or attractive — and traced the idea to his own tour of Russia in 2006-7. Last week, Lively suggested Russian officials foil gay activists planning to rainbow-bomb the Olympics by flying a rainbow banner over the games so “the global homosexual movement” would be reminded that “the rainbow belongs to God!”