SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Scott Lively, the anti-gay U.S. evangelist who is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a Ugandan gay rights group, responded Thursday, and said he was being targeted “for speaking the truth of the Bible” about homosexuality.
“I am an American citizen [being targeted] over the persecution of homosexuals as they define it as a crime against humanity – for speaking the truth of the Bible in a foreign country,” said Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries, a conservative Christian organization that is classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In an interview with the conservative website “World Net Daily,” Lively said that “the definition of “crime against humanity” comes from European progressives, and accusations against him appear to be based on his speeches and writings about the Bible’s perspective on homosexuality.
The Ugandan gay rights group “Sexual Minorities Uganda” (SMUG), filed suit in federal court in Massachusetts on Wednesday, accusing Lively of violating international law by inciting the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda.
The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture. The suit alleges that Lively’s actions led to the introduction of the Anti-homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan parliament, by one of Lively’s Uganda contacts, MMP David Bahati.
The bill, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” led to increased persecution of the LGBT Ugandan community, according to the suit.
Lively has called the suit “absurd” and “completely frivolous,” and told the Associated Press via email that he has never advocated violence against homosexuals.
Lively said he has preached against homosexuality but advised therapy for gays, not punishment.
“I spoke to members of parliament in their assembly hall, and advised them to focus on therapy and not punishment [for homosexuality],” Lively told World Net Daily.
“What they’re suggesting here is that the duly elected legislative representatives of Uganda, the cream of Ugandan society, cannot be responsible for their own [legislative] actions – that they adopted legislation because a white evangelical came and said something to them,” he said.
The suit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of SMUG, under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations alleging the violation of international law.