This Man Doesn’t Speak for Anyone – Yet People Say He Does

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Wow. Just wow. This is a video clip from a recent interview on the Daily Show where Scott Lively was interviewed. Lively has written a book that blames gay people for the holocaust, and he was one of the three men who originally went to Uganda to stir up a lot of anti-gay sentiment for the Kill the Gays Bill. Unfortunately there are some people around the world saying that Lively is the voice of American conservatives! I can’t believe it! According to Rev. Kapya Koama, who wrote for the progressive think tank, Political Research Associates, an article called Globalizing the Culture Wars: US Conservatives, African Churches and Homophobia, Lively is generalizable to how American conservatives use their hate and spread it around the world.

Now I had the honor to meet Rev. Koama last week while I was in Vienna, and he and I had a great sit down conversation about his article. I totally believe in Koama’s sincerity to see his country live and thrive autonomous of outside influences dictating their legal systems, but his lack of knowledge regarding actual US Conservatism showed. As he said in the Introduction to his paper:

“Although I am an African Christian, I did not know much about the ideologies of the Religious Right until Progressive Research Associates asked me to carry out this research.”

As I said to you personally Rev. Koama, your research doesn’t speak for American Christianity; let alone the “Religious Right” – who I know Lively doesn’t speak for!

Let me just make this as clear as Rev. Koama, the Political Research Associates and anyone else out there who can understand:

Lively doesn’t speak for me, nor does he speak for American conservatives. This is just another play to take an ‘extreme’ and make them seem like the ‘norm.’

Such tactics have been used by both ‘sides’ for as long as anyone can remember. It’s just sad; so sad that this continues today. Even worse that people are actually believing that this man, who blames gay people (more-so than Hitler!) for the holocaust, is representative of the whole. Ugh.

Thanks Daily Show for showing this man for who he is!

Much love.

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  • As I said to you personally Bishop Koama, your research doesn’t speak for American Christianity; let alone the “Religious Right” – who I know Lively doesn’t speak for!

    Andrew, I realize you do not support Lively’s position because you have stated that clearly.  I also realize that many conservatives see him as the absurd extremist he is.  However, there are many who have not denounced him even when asked and still others who embrace his general thesis to some degree.  I believe the latter would be a small, marginalized group if only the former would be more bold in their disassociation.  The rest of the world can be forgiven for not recognizing the boundary between moderate and madman if those involved keep the line blurred.
    This entire problem is made even worse by the extent to which mainline conservatives do latch on to false information and beliefs about GLBTs which may be less dramatic than Lively’s gay holocaust but are equally wrong.  The bottom line is this, conservatives need to clean up their acts if they want to be seen as separate and distinct from the extremists.  They need to be different, not just think they are different. 
    Until that time, moral indignation over being confused with the Lively’s of this world should be aimed at your fellow conservatives, and turned into a mandate for your own change.  I’m pretty sure this is old news to you, but I thought it worth stating.

    • David – No doubt it’s worth stating! I hear you on all you said brother. And from my perspective, for anyone or any Church or any entity to not blatantly denounce this man, his words and then change our actions, is deplorable. There is no room for this stuff. And when you said that:

      “The bottom line is this, conservatives need to clean up their acts if they want to be seen as separate and distinct from the extremists. They need to be different, not just think they are different.”

      Wow. Couldn’t have written that any better as the main thesis of what must happen within the conservative world! And now…

    • kaoma kapya

      Andrew, it is misleading to suggest that my report only speaks about Lively. Warren, Minns, Neo-conservatives at the IRD, Pat Robertson are among the many conservatives mentioned. I agree, these guys might not speak for you in America but in Africa, they are representative of the American Evangelical faith. It is for this reason that African Christians and politicians give them a audience. By the way, I am not a Bishop! If only you can check your facts

      • Kapya – Thank you for correcting me that you are not a Bishop. I have just changed that in my post. Sorry for the confusion.

        As for your list of people who do not speak for me in America, but do in Africa, that is then an issue not to be generalized to “American Conservatives” as a whole. Using that broad language associates all of us, lumps all of us, into that group of people. We’re not them. They don’t speak for us. And using that language does nothing but perpetuate not only the continuing disconnect, but furthers hateful and negative perceptions about our group of people.

        Kapya, continue calling people out by name. I have no problem with that. They need to be held accountable for their work/teachings in Africa – ESPECIALLY about this crazy legislation. But don’t generalize they they speak for me as a American evangelical. What you have been generalizing is unacceptable. Those people are not me, nor anyone else I know.

        • Andrew, I find it unfair that you judge me “his lack of knowledge regarding actual US Conservatism showed,” when we did not ask me any question regarding the U.S. Christian Right. For your own information, I trained in the most conservative schools and I met and taught with many American conservatives in Africa, United Kingdom and the U.S.A. For you to jump to conclusions without asking for my judgment is unfair. I am not sure how much you have read my writings. I have made it clear that American Conservatives like Lively are viewed as representative of American evangelicalism. By the way, tell me one American conservative who has gone to Africa and spoken moderately on the rights of gays?

  • I agree that this needs to be stated to evangelicals, as I do often, but I do think that those outside the US think that there is a mainstream that Lively belongs to. His appearance on the Daily Show just about confirms that as only the fringe make it on there with the comedic genius displayed.

    Lively’s work has been denounced by NARTH, Exodus, Campus Crusade for Christ, Rick Warren, you and me. That is a strange crew to have something in common. For one to be denounced by NARTH, you really can’t be mainstream, given where NARTH is on the stream. I think this is important for Kaoma and others outside the US to know.

    • 🙂 Quite a strange crew to have anything in common; indeed…

      I have continued to email with Kaoma since our time together in Vienna. I hope to see something productive come out of this time. Where that might lead? I don’t know. But I honestly am not sure if he ever met a ‘non-extreme’ conservative in his life before me?

  • Mrs T

    At the beginning of the clip, it says Comedy Central. I also doubt Lt. Choi & the others would allow the guy to speak to them like that.
    Are you sure this isn’t a comedy montage?

    However, I am sure there are folks, however few, who do have crazy ideas against GLBTs. So thanks for getting the word out & taking a stand against violence against LGBTs(as well as any group or person).

  • Mrs T, it is comedy central, and they do routinely edit those interviews to make them more absurd – but I noticed right away just how long the cuts were with Lively; usually they use short clips to twist an individual quote, but he did all the work for them and made it too easy. They definitely used the most extreme parts to make it funnier, but he didn’t make it hard for them with the words coming out of his mouth. I thought it was pretty obvious that Lt. Choi and the others went along with the ‘interview’ because they knew it was mocking a ridiculous stance.

  • Mrs T – Matthew hit it right on target on all fronts!

  • Eugene

    Andrew, I have a small suggestion.

    In my opinion, you should focus a little less on “denouncing this man” and a little more on positive statements about gay soldiers. Rhetorically, it works better. Instead of saying something like “Lively doesn’t speak for me, nor does he speak for American conservatives”, you could tell us what you think and quote a few American conservatives who oppose DADT and appreciate gay soldiers’ courage. It would be immediately obvious that Lively doesn’t speak for all conservatives.

    • Maybe to you it’s immediately obvious, but I guess it’s not immediately obvious to Bishop Koama or the Political Research Associates, or numbers of others who I met with in Vienna (United Nations, World Council of Churches, Ecumentical Advocacy Alliance, etc) who have some people within their umbrella who are touting this guy as the face of American Conservatives. This denouncing needs to be said very clearly and very publicly. There are a lot wider ramifications of me publicly saying this in the fashion that I did than just for those who read this blog on a regular basis.

  • This clip was hilarious. I’m glad that Scott Lively got owned by the Daily Show. Thanks for posting this, Andrew!

    • 🙂 “got owned by the Daily Show” … So funny.

  • Lively: “The Nazis did persecute homosexuals to distract public attention away from their homosexuality.”
    Jones: “So that which you hate the most, you secretly are.”
    Lively: *awkward pause* “I’m not gay.”

    Too funny. And too easy.

  • Although this doesn’t have anything to do directly with Scott Lively, there’s something else that’s hitting the news that I think people might not distinguish as being said by more extremists and not a position held by mainstream conservatives. : Recently, the head of a punk rock ministry group recently made comments saying Islamic nations who executive gays were more moral than us, and pretty much implied America was wrong for not doing so (and that “If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that, That is what you are seeing in America.” – my guess a reference to Islamic extremists). They also accused gays of being pedophiles, saying “On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature?.

    Apart from the HRC and other GLBT groups who have been speaking out against this, mainly because this ministry has links to a congressmen running for election, only Exodus has really done so strongly. A church that had hosted this group before submitted a rather mellow response, saying that they weren’t connected with the ministry or didn’t support it financially and that “Our faith community at LWCC believes it is the love of God who draws all men (people) to Him, not condemnation or judgment.”

    Sadly, the only other Christian to really speak out against this has been author Anne Rice, who has announced that while remaining a follower of Jesus, she’s leaving Christianity and the Church because of things like this.

    And the whole time, the GLBT community is seeing “religious Right” associated with this guy’s comments side and no one in the religious Right is (apart from Exodus) is really speaking out against this.

    It’s just frustrating to me, as someone who knows that certainly the vast majority of conservative Christians don’t believe this – to see this inaccurate association go on, and for no one in the conservative movement to stand up and say, “This is wrong – we don’t believe this”, (and likewise no one in the progressive GLBT rights groups to look closer at the situation and make distinctions that should be made – it seems like the words ‘Christian’ and ‘conservative’ are used without much discretion, when in some situations words like ‘extremist’ would be a better fit).

    Sorry if this was a bit ranty, but it struck me as relevant to the discussion on here, since there’s a huge potential for inaccurate associations to be made.


    PS: Bradlee Dean, the head of the group and the man who made those comments, has since came out and said he doesn’t support executing gays and lesbians ( and that his words were twisted by the newspaper who reported the story, though I’m not really sure how they could be twisted, given how blatant his comments were. Plus, he didn’t even address his completely inaccurate and appalling comments associating gay people with pedophilia.

    • Wow. I had not even heard about this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I think the broader issue is that generally American conservatives are getting lumped in to the “Religous Right” advocacy and political lobby groups. The problem is that over the last two or so decades that has actually been the goal of a lot of the conservative talking heads – to align the two. But now we’re left with this mess as they all die off. It is my opinion that the separation between Church and State needs to structurally commence once again. When I say that I am not suggesting people don’t vote, please use your vote. It’s more of a pragmatic separation.

    • Eugene

      “…likewise no one in the progressive GLBT rights groups to look closer at the situation and make distinctions that should be made – it seems like the words ‘Christian’ and ‘conservative’ are used without much discretion, when in some situations words like ‘extremist’ would be a better fit…”

      I have a question:

      How many liberal or atheist “extremists” are supporting execution of gays? How many liberal or atheist “extremists” are supporting DADT and blaming the Holocaust on gays?

      Yes, Andrew has a valid point that Lively is not a typical conservative. But even as a deviation Lively tells us something about Christians and conservatives. More often than not, there is a continuum of opinions, and there is a very noticeable shift of this continuum that is associated with “Christian” and “conservative” ideas.

      Millions and millions of “Christians” and “conservatives” believe almost the same things about gays as Lively – only without the bizarre fantasies about the Holocaust. You can’t say the same about “atheists” and “liberals”. So, “extremist” or not, it is a “Christian” and “conservative” thing.

      That’s why “Christians” and “conservatives” who actually disagree with the likes of Lively should use incidents like this as an opportunity to support the gay community – instead of complaining about “plays” and “sides”.

      • Eugene – Among other examples in a variety of areas (specifically in Africa – whose leaders in many of those countries don’t use Christianity as an ‘excuse’ for their tryanny), are you forgetting that liberal and former democrat, President Bill Clinton, was the one to create DADT and make it official? Your argument is weak because there are too many scenarios that encompass both sides of the extremes throughout all of history.

        Also, Clinton was recently asked why he created DADT (because now he is in favor of repealing it), and his answer was because it was ‘for the good of the country at that time.’ Now Laura Bush is publicly in favor of gay marriage, and when she was asked why she didn’t say anything while she was in office for 8 years she said it was ‘for the good of the country at that time.’ And what about Obama now? 2 of his big promises at the beginning were an immediate repeal of DADT and also to legalize gay marriage. Where are those things?

        Like it or not, whether Republican or Democrat, they are both using the LGBT community as a pawn for whatever they currently see as ‘they good of the country at this time’ – which just means ‘keep me in office’.

        • Eugene

          Well, yes, politicians are politicians first, “liberals” and “conservatives” second. It doesn’t refute my argument in any way.

          And we know that Clinton created DADT because “Christians” and “conservatives” didn’t want gay people to serve openly. He only had a choice between DADT and something even worse. In that situation, DADT probably was ‘for the good of the country at that time.’ It certainly doesn’t mean that you can blame it on Clinton, and I’m extremely disappointed that you do.

          The only reason gay people can be used “as a pawn” is that millions and millions of “Christians” and “conservatives” hate them and oppose their rights. If an anti-gay politician couldn’t get elected, there would be no anti-gay politicians. It’s as simple as that. Yes, we can blame a politician for being a politician, but it’s almost as pointless as blaming a lawyer for being a lawyer.

          • No, we don’t “know” that Clinton created that because of Christians. He never said that.

            Ok, we all get it. You and Dora believe that all of the worlds problems can be rationalized to fit your belief that the origins of problems are Christians fault, specifically conservatives.

            Time to move on to another point. Try making them constructive other than pointing a finger with the same baseline thesis every time.

        • 2 of his big promises at the beginning were an immediate repeal of DADT and also to legalize gay marriage.

          For the record, Obama was against same-sex marriage during the campaign (and presumably still is). He supported full civil unions (though I don’t remember him promising federal action to create them), voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and wanted to repeal DOMA.

          He did say that DADT should be repealed.

          I don’t think we can escape the fact that their are far, far fewer Democrats and Liberals/Progressives seeking ways to block GLBT rights — that is pretty much a conservative and yes, fundamentalist Christian domain. I would go so far as to say that these campaigns against GLBT rights would be wholly ineffective without the participation of the Church. Trying to establish a tit-for-tat equivalence between these two sides of the aisle where GLBT issues are concerned just won’t work — it is quite lopsided.

          To say that politicians on the left sometimes take us for granted or do not come through with the goods, sure that’s true. But I will take lazy over active counter punches any day. The scale of anti-gay efforts is skewed heavily to the right and that is just the ugly truth.

          Again, those in conservative circles who do not wish to be associated with the extremist anti-gay ideology need to stand out, not only in their opposition to it, but their support of GLBT rights. Anything less will be seen as hollow and hypocritical.

          And yes, the GOP and the Church need a divorce in the worst way. What Jerry Falwell and his brethren did decades ago has caused disgusting mutations of both, and the damage will be felt for many decades to come. We’ve been left with a new, ugly national religion which was probably the founding fathers’ worst nightmare.

          It is my hope that people like you will help give the church a way out of this muck. It has to start somewhere, and there are small signs of change evident. In another 10 years I suspect people with views like Lively’s will be hard pressed to find anyone willing to entertain them.

  • Dora

    Hey, it’s all the same system– all patriarchy all the time. There is only one oppressive system worldwide, and we all know what that leads to.

    • Just curious – besides you and I and pretty much everyone I know throwing up, what would you do if Sarah Palin won for President in 2012? No more male at the top, and yet, a female you couldn’t stand… What would you say then?

      And PS – I’m not naive enough to believe you wouldn’t think there are just as many female politicos pulling strings just the same Dora.

  • Eugene

    Andrew –
    We know that Clinton had to implement DADT because the Congress decided to override Clinton’s initial decisions, essentially reinstating the ban. It’s easy to see that Clinton’s DADT actually made things (slightly) better.

    I don’t think that most congressmen were liberal atheists. I also don’t think that most voters were liberal atheists. And I haven’t heard of mainstream religious leaders condemning the actions of the Congress.

    Do you think that the correlation between anti-gay voting and conservative/Christian beliefs is just a coincidence? It’s a little too easy to say that Lively “doesn’t speak for anyone”, ignoring the similarities between his views and views of many American conservatives.

    Even today, some people and organizations keep supporting DADT, and most of them seem to be Christian and conservative. But instead of saying a few words of support to gay soldiers and their supporters, you got offended that somebody, somewhere made a generalization. 🙂

    Even more ironically, you criticize Obama for doing nothing to “legalize gay marriage”. How exactly is he supposed to do it when even you – let alone most Evangelicals – don’t support it? He is no king, so he has to deal with the Congress.

    And I’m not trying to prove that all problems “are Christians’ fault”. I’m just trying to explain why “He doesn’t speak for anyone” is not the most constructive way to denounce men like Lively. If you want to get heard, you should tell people what exactly you and American conservatives disagree with – in positive statements. Here’s an example:

    Lively says that gay people have “no moral restraint”. You could say something like, “My gay friends are among the most moral people I know”, etc. Even a few such statements would make your blog post much more effective.

    Ultimately, if you don’t want people like Lively to seem generalizable to American conservatives/Evangelicals, you should expand the conservative/Evangelical continuum of opinions. In other words, people should see at least a few high-profile conservatives/Evangelicals fighting for gay rights just as eagerly as liberals/atheists. It would quickly make conservatives and Evangelicals much less generalizable. In a similar way, gay marriage has already made it more difficult to generalize the gay community as sexual deviants.

  • Anonymous

    Here we go again with the dissertations….ughh….

    • Eugene

      I’m just trying to explain what’s constructive about my criticism.

  • Dora

    Actually, one conservative did do just what Eugene suggested. Ted Olson, who was a prominent conservative, fought hard as an attorney to have Prop 8 overturned in Federal court today. Great post BTW, and so true.
    And Sarah Palin also is badly trashed by men too. Whether you are a conservative woman or a liberal woman, your appearance, your sexuality is on constant attack. We live in a system of male supremacy, and all people are adversely affected by this system, both women and men.

    I don’t normally do feminism 101 much, because all of this should be self-evident…but I suppose someone has got to do it now and then. No smiley face to soften it. This is deadly serious stuff.

  • Dora

    Prop 8 overturned, I’d love to learn more about the life story of how Ted Olson was more radical than a lot of people out there. He was not afraid to take a truly big risk. We’ll see how right wing anti-gay folks deal with him now.

  • Dora

    And oddly enough, believe it or not, there is a book written by a gay guy who says that Hitler was gay. Don’t forget Ernst Rohm. Gays are everywhere on every side of every issue. I’d argue that the militiary itself has a guy bonding homoerotic context, and that war itself and this suppressed homoeroticism is a part of a lot of men’s lives. It’s why they gay bash. I’ve met many “ex-ex gay men” who were once gay bashers and admitted this to me. Fascinating… creepy too.