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Freedom of Speech: It must be a two-way street…

…or else it’s just a pretense, a lie.

Reporter James Kirchik, known from TNR and The Advocate, was cut off last week on Russia’s RT network for denouncing Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay law. I’m with Kirchik in opposing the law, which puts speech restrictions on Russian gays.

Don’t get me wrong: As RT were ‘paying for his mic’, they had every right to cut off Kirchik. They have no obligation to provide him with a platform. Still, Kirchik deserves our cheers and thanks for publicly thumbing his nose at a State-funded propaganda network and for defending free speech.

Actions to support free speech, yay! But free speech isn’t free speech, unless disagreeable/bad views may also be expressed. The principle is that anyone advocating bad politics is to be answered by more speech; never to be silenced by law.

And that brings us to the case of the Rev. Scott Lively. In a blog thread last week, rusty brought up Lively, who is being sued in Massachusetts at the behest of a Uganda gay group, for his advocacy of the criminalizing of homosexuality in Uganda.

Criminalizing homosexuality is anti-gay (a term that the Gay Left otherwise uses too much) and a violation of individuals’ natural rights. As such, it’s wrong. But natural rights include free speech and conscience. For someone to merely advocate that homosexuality be criminalized is not a violation of human rights; it is an exercise of them.

See the problem? The pro-gay side is out there using the law to restrict opponents’ political speech, in the name of human rights (which ought to include free speech). So wrong!

Sure, Rev. Lively advocates something dumb and bad. But he has the moral right to do it, which means he ought to have the legal right.

That a U.S.-based court presumes to deal with a Ugandan matter seems odd; but that it does so in order to punish anyone’s political advocacy is a disgrace, a sign of how dangerously low our once-great country has fallen.

SMUG (the Ugandan gay group) is wrong to try to silence Lively with a court case. Given that they are, the MA court should have refused to play along, on the grounds that the MA and U.S. Constitutions guarantee Lively his right to free speech in all political issues, even gay issues, even when international law fails to guarantee it and even, or especially, if Lively’s views are objectionable.

It’s the objectionable views – the ones that the government’s Court itself dislikes – that courts are most obligated to protect. By now, we are used to the Gay Left forgetting such basic principles of freedom and justice, but – “et tu, Massachusetts?”

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that the MA court, and others who blame the Rev. Lively for what Ugandan legislators do, might be infected with a racist premise: the premise that the Ugandans are mere children (intellectually and morally), influenced too easily by the white man (Lively), who is thus accountable for their actions. If true, it would support my earlier post on the racism of the Left in 2013.

NB: I had originally said that Lively was being “prosecuted” in MA, when of course I should have said “sued”. Mistake fixed.

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49 Comments

  1. Can an American court hold a U.S. citizen liable for the effects his speech has in a foreign country? We may soon find out. Last Wednesday a federal judge allowed a novel legal claim to proceed in his Massachusetts courtroom, setting up a groundbreaking suit pitting the free-speech rights of an anti-gay pastor and activist against the basic human rights of gay Ugandans.
    If you haven’t heard of Scott Lively yet, you will. The pastor is hardly unique in his views about the evils of homosexuality, from repurposing the old canard that to be gay is to be a pedophile, to his original and truly deranged claim that it was homosexuals who caused the Holocaust. Lively’s got a predictably loyal following of haters and snarlers. It’s just that unlike his brethren who stop at preaching religious hatred on cable television and AM radio, Lively has taken his virulent hate speech on the road, consulting in many other countries, specifically Uganda and Russia, to persuade foreign governments to pass brutally repressive anti-gay legislation.

    . . .Lively has openly bragged of his own role as the “father” of the anti-gay movement in Uganda, calling his campaign “a nuclear bomb against the ‘gay’ agenda in Uganda.” The question is whether all this constitutes mere speech or something more.

    . . .Lively spent last month bragging about his role in Russia’s recent moves to clamp down on homosexuality, writing on his website that Russia “has just taken the very important and frankly necessary step of criminalizing homosexual propaganda to protect the society from being ‘homosexualized.’ This was one of my recommendation to Russian leaders in my 50-city tour of the former Soviet Union in 2006 and 2007.” It’s hard to believe anyone would go on to brag about Russia as the obvious place to relocate the American dream, but as Steve Benen noted, Lively was quick to go there as well: “Russia could become a model pro-family society,” he wrote. “If this were to occur, I believe people from the West would begin to emigrate to Russia in the same way that Russians used to emigrate to the United States and Europe.”
    There is an Only-In-America quality to the fact that a U.S. court might reach out to punish hate speech and persecution of minorities using international human rights laws and an obscure alien torts statute. But that pales in comparison with the Only-In-America-ness of an American deploying First Amendment arguments to defend his anti-gay advocacy in Uganda, all while working to build a utopian family paradise in Russia. Where dissidents go to jail every day.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/08/scott_lively_can_he_be_punished_in_the_u_s_for_speech_against_gay_ugandans.2.html

    Comment by rusty — August 27, 2013 @ 5:24 pm - August 27, 2013

  2. rusty, again it is clear that all Lively has done is advocate a viewpoint, thus exercising his own, God-given free speech rights.

    . . .Lively has openly bragged of his own role as the “father” of the anti-gay movement in Uganda

    Distasteful braggadocio (possibly even racist), if true…but still just advocating a viewpoint. Obviously, Lively is not a Ugandan citizen nor legislator, and so NOT the one who made any Ugandan laws, or bears any responsibility for Ugandan law. Same with Russia.

    Can an American court hold a U.S. citizen liable for the effects his speech has in a foreign country?

    What “effects”; that others happened to be persuaded by some of Lively’s speech? But that is the point of speaking. Is Lively’s crime that he didn’t undercut himself enough, by (say) gnawing the furniture as he spoke? In other words, his crime was that his speech just so happened to be effective or persuasive, with certain people who then made up their own minds?

    The underlying philosophy there is every bit as un-just and un-free as what I suggested in my main post. The MA court case remains a shameful example of “liberal intolerance.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2013 @ 5:36 pm - August 27, 2013

  3. Lively on homosexuality: “In reality, homosexuality is nothing more than same-gender conduct among people who are innately and unchangeably heterosexual. Homosexuality is thus biologically (and to varying degrees morally) equivalent to pedophilia, sado-masochism, bestiality and many other forms of deviant behavior.”

    Comment by rusty — August 27, 2013 @ 5:38 pm - August 27, 2013

  4. Or, as I put it in the main post: “Rev. Lively advocates something dumb and bad.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2013 @ 5:44 pm - August 27, 2013

  5. Addressing First Amendment concerns, Judge Ponsor wrote:

    Defendant has vigorously argued that all his actions are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Discovery may, or may not, reveal that the argument is correct, and this issue will almost certainly be front and center at the summary judgment stage of this case. What is quite clear now, however, is that the Amended Complaint adequately alleges that Defendant’s actions have fallen well outside the protections of the First Amendment.

    Defendant is correct that the First Amendment places limits on the imposition of tort liability linked to offensive speech, and that the protection of free expression, including the protection of “thought we hate,” is a centerpiece of our democracy.

    For example, intentional infliction of emotional distress claims — which ask a jury to consider whether speech was “outrageous” — are too subjective to meet the requirements of the First Amendment when applied to public figures or topics of public concern. …In the criminal context, even if speech advocates for the use of force or for violations of law, it receives First Amendment protection “except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

    On the other hand, when noxious words become part of a criminal enterprise, the First Amendment provides limited protection. As Justice Black, an unsurpassed supporter of the First Amendment, wrote:

    It rarely has been suggested that the constitutional freedom for speech and press extends its immunity to speech or writing used as an integral part of conduct in violation of a valid criminal statute. We reject the contention now. . . .

    . . . [I]t has never been deemed an abridgment of freedom of speech or press to make a course of conduct illegal merely because the conduct was in part initiated, evidenced, or carried out by means of language, either spoken, written or printed. Such an expansive interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press would make it practically impossible ever to enforce laws against agreements in restraint of trade as well as many other agreements and conspiracies deemed injurious to society.

    It is well-established that speech that constitutes criminal aiding and abetting is not protected by the First Amendment. …It is equally well supported that the same logic extends to civil actions for aiding and abetting.

    In determining whether speech that is related to political advocacy receives First Amendment protection, the Supreme Court has distinguished between “theoretical advocacy,” meaning advocacy of “principles divorced from action,” and speech that is meant to induce or precipitate illegal activity. As the court in Brandenburg recognized, “[T]he mere abstract teaching . . . of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action.” Merely advocating for reform is quite different constitutionally from preparing for criminal activity. (page 57-61)

    …In making this decision, the court is mindful of the chilling effect that can occur when potential tort liability is extended to unpopular opinions that are expressed as part of a public debate on policy. However, at this stage, the Amended Complaint sets out plausible claims to hold Defendant liable for his role in systematic persecution, rather than merely for opinions that Plaintiff finds abhorrent. The complexion of the case at this stage entitles Plaintiff to discovery and requires the court to deny Defendant’s motion to dismiss. (page 64-65)

    Comment by rusty — August 27, 2013 @ 6:15 pm - August 27, 2013

  6. The hilarity and hypocrisy of this is obvious.

    Notice how SMUG and rusty are going after Lively rather than against the actual perpetrators of the alleged violence.

    Why? Because they are cowards who are trying to pick on an easy target.

    People need to realize that bigots like rusty are fundamentally incompatible with our system of government. Perverse bigots like rusty demand absolute freedom do so whatever they want while demanding the imprisonment and punishment of people like Lively who they dislike.

    Americans are sick of repulsive, filthy bigots like rusty screaming at us, calling us names, calling us racists, mocking our faith, demanding our earnings, and using the law to punish us. For the bigot rusty to scream about “equality” when he demands that opinions he doesn’t like be criminalized is the height of depravity and disgusting behavior.

    The Muslims show us the way to make rusty cower. Black gangbangers show us how to make white liberal rusty leave us alone.

    You have a choice, rusty.

    Either back off…or very soon you won’t have the option.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 7:33 pm - August 27, 2013

  7. when noxious words become part of a criminal enterprise, the First Amendment provides limited protection…It rarely has been suggested that the constitutional freedom for speech and press extends its immunity to speech or writing used as an integral part of conduct in violation of a valid criminal statute.

    But it’s not “a criminal enterprise”; it’s the legislative acts of a nation which international law recognizes as sovereign.

    And, even if said acts were internationally criminal, it would still be *that nation’s* doing. Not Rev. Lively’s.

    Judge Ponsor has, indirectly but in essence, argued for his court’s imperial authority over Uganda. Maybe he can’t send an army there, but he’s going to blame and punish the Americans they’ve listened to. Gee…. his court is apparently racist (see my post Update) *and* imperialist.

    liable for his role in systematic persecution

    …which is, again: What? Has Mr. Lively gone around Uganda, arresting gays? Not to my knowledge.

    This is judicial persecution of speech which the persecutor dislikes…dressed up as progressive justice.

    Even if Lively wins in the end, “the process is the punishment”; it’s using the judiciary (the law) to chill speech.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2013 @ 7:37 pm - August 27, 2013

  8. And notice how the bigot rusty tries to demonize ILC by insisting that ILC’s defense of Lively’s rights equals support of his statements.

    Even as the screaming bigoted rusty refuses to repudiate the statements of gay bigots like Dan Savage and Michelangelo Signorile calling conservatives and those like ILC who don’t vote for Obama traitors and Jewish Nazis, wishing death on them and their families, and saying they should be stripped of the right to vote.

    Perhaps bigots like rusty who scream for criminal prosecution of people like Lively should have the tables turned back on them.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 7:39 pm - August 27, 2013

  9. rusty tries to demonize ILC by insisting that ILC’s defense of Lively’s rights equals support of his statements.

    FTR, I didn’t take it that way. I took it as just saying, “This is what Lively thinks.”

    I’m sure that sooner or later, someone else will try to mistake or misrepresent me in that way… but I’ve made clear that I think Rev. Lively is wrong. “I disapprove of what he says, but I defend his right to say it.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2013 @ 7:47 pm - August 27, 2013

  10. Saying what Lively thinks would be rather redundant, ILC, given what you’ve already quoted.

    No, rusty is playing the usual Alinsky Rule 13 game: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” He is trying to force you onto the defensive and paint you as a bad person for defending Lively’s right to speak.

    The counter is what I just did. Expose that the leftist in question — in this case, the bigot rusty — is incapable of living up to the rules of denunciation that he demands of others. Until he denounces Dan Savage, Mike Signorile, and the LGBT community for their bigotry and hate speech, he is a hypocrite — and since he’s an unprincipled gay leftist, he can’t do it.

    Speaking of Rule 4, let’s point out that the bigot rusty has screamed for criminal prosecution of those who “aid and abet” or “incite criminal action”: now watch him choke on it.

    Come now, bigot rusty. Since the SPLC clearly aided and abetted attempted murder of people based on their religious beliefs, they committed a human rights violation and should be criminally prosecuted. Since it led to ACTUAL, PROVABLE violence and human injury, they should be put in jail.

    Can you say that, bigot rusty? Speak up!

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 8:15 pm - August 27, 2013

  11. That’s interesting. Your point, just to be explicit, is that the FRC shooter (Corkins, a convicted domestic terrorist) has stated that he was directly motivated by the SPLC’s positions against the FRC.

    Therefore, and at least by the standards of the Ponser court, the SPLC should be held liable for Corkins’ criminal actions.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2013 @ 8:35 pm - August 27, 2013

  12. Exactly, ILC.

    And I would go so far as to say that the FRC should immediately file suit against the SPLC in Ponser’s court for the sole purpose of watching the idiot swallow his tongue.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 8:46 pm - August 27, 2013

  13. I like the way you think, NDT @ 12!

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — August 27, 2013 @ 9:31 pm - August 27, 2013

  14. Rusty, you are losing this argument. I detest Scott Lively as much as you and the rest of the posters on this thread. I am not going to call you a bigot, but NDT @ 12 makes a very good point.

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — August 27, 2013 @ 9:40 pm - August 27, 2013

  15. If you are an advocate for the killing of Americans through Jihad, its likely a drone blast will kill you as you walk to your car – Even if you are an American Citizen – So “free speech” hasn’t been free for a long time.

    But in this case, I am with ILC, as there should be no criminal prosecution of that asshole.

    What there should be is civil suit after civil suit taking everything he owns, his families and putting him and his future generations in poverty. If he is going to spew his hate fille- bile, fine, its his right but then he has to accept the responsibility for that bile.

    Comment by mike — August 27, 2013 @ 10:45 pm - August 27, 2013

  16. Can you say that, bigot rusty? Speak up!

    I am sure he will as soon as he can find something on another blog to cut and paste, or link to some stupid random image on tumblr.

    Comment by V the K — August 27, 2013 @ 10:47 pm - August 27, 2013

  17. What there should be is civil suit after civil suit taking everything he owns, his families and putting him and his future generations in poverty. If he is going to spew his hate fille- bile, fine, its his right but then he has to accept the responsibility for that bile.

    Comment by mike — August 27, 2013 @ 10:45 pm – August 27, 2013

    Choke on this, you lying worthless shill.

    Come on, mike. You want to shoot off your bigoted mouth? I want to hear you say that the FRC and all the people in that office who were DIRECTLY THREATENED and whose lives were nearly taken due to a DIRECT LINK to the SPLC’s hate speech should file civil suit after civil suit to impoverish the SPLC and punish their families.

    Put your money where your mouth is, you revolting bigot. Or you’re making it clear that you don’t care when Christians are murdered.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 11:15 pm - August 27, 2013

  18. The Muslims show us the way to make rusty cower. Black gangbangers show us how to make white liberal rusty leave us alone.

    You have a choice, rusty.

    Either back off…or very soon you won’t have the option.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 27, 2013 @ 7:33 pm – August 27, 2013

    The best examples in this case are the colonists who told the King to ‘pound sand’ and soundly defeated his armies of Redcoats way back in 1776.

    No matter what the example, the day fast approaches when these sick bastards (and I’m not talkin’ about Mr. Lively) are going to get theirs, in spades….and I couldn’t be happier.

    It’s long overdue.

    Comment by Jman1961 — August 27, 2013 @ 11:24 pm - August 27, 2013

  19. Okay, in free speech terms, there’s a pretty clear line. You can say things that are wrong or just offensive, of course. That’s part of democracy. It’s key.

    You can’t incite murder or otherwise threaten death. Death threats are not free speech in any way, shape, or form. They are a precedent to attempted murder and should be prosecuted to the full extant of the law.

    What isn’t clear to me is which of these situations apply to Lively. It’s not explained in this blog post, nor in much of the news coverage of him. I get contradictory responses.

    Which is it?

    If Lively has said what he’s credited as saying, calling for the societal extermination of gay people and citing specific gay people that he wants assassinated by his followers, then he should be jail. But is that allegation true? It seems to just come from tabloid papers rather than any reliable source.

    Guys? Which is it?

    Comment by SwiperTheFox — August 28, 2013 @ 12:43 am - August 28, 2013

  20. I believe Lively stopped short of calling for anyone’s death. Not on my computer right now, so can’t locate relevant articles.

    *wonders why the Black Panthers aren’t in jail for preaching ‘death to whitey’*

    Words and actions are two different things.

    Comment by Annie — August 28, 2013 @ 1:06 am - August 28, 2013

  21. ^Well, the left-wing blogs that I’ve looked at are saying that Lively went beyond just saying “let’s get rid of the political enemy” and just bellicose rhetoric… and he explicitly took names of people to make banners, articles, and so on saying like:

    “Bob S. Smith is a homosexual, he lives at 200 Darling Street and should be murdered.”

    Things like that.

    IF TRUE (which is a big ‘IF’), that’s incitement to murder and Lively should be in jail. But is it? I see no clear way to figure that out.

    Comment by SwiperTheFox — August 28, 2013 @ 1:16 am - August 28, 2013

  22. Swiper: I agree that (1) specific incitement to murder is NOT a valid part of free speech; and (2) What you have called “a big ‘IF’”, is indeed a very big ‘If’.

    I could be wrong of course, but experience and observation teach me that Christians are usually nothing as bad as gay lefties represent; while a certain especially small, crazed minority of gay lefties is ready and eager to severely slander Christians.

    You may notice that my posts contain links, so I don’t have to explain everything; people can read more, if they want to. One of my present links is to a Washington Blade article (thanks rusty!), which says the following:

    Lively… said he doesn’t support a [Uganda anti-gay] bill that includes the death penalty.

    The California-based pastor has argued for the criminalization of homosexuality at least since 2007…[but] “My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it,” Lively wrote.

    I based my post on that article; namely, the assumption that Lively has NOT been inciting to murder.

    If Lively has no interest in forcing gays into conversion therapy, it may follow that he also has little interest in killing them.

    If you’re curious about these matters, I’d love it if you researched it a bit and posted your additional findings here.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2013 @ 1:35 am - August 28, 2013

  23. I see the lower case concern troll supports the Marxist dictum that freedom is prcious, so the Government can only allow the people to have a small amount of it. If anyone can be sued because someone else felt “incited” by their speech to hurt someone else, where does it end? Do the victims of the Unabomber get to sue Al Gore because his writings were found in the Unabomber’s lair? Do the recent victims of black-on-white racist violence get to sue MSDNC for its overhyped, dishonest coverage of the George Zimmerman trial? Or, are members of the press and Government exempted from his scheme of suing people to shut down free speech?

    We already have a man in prison because the Regime didn’t like a YouTube video he made about the Prophet Mohammed. Free Speech in America hasn’t been in more peril since the regime of Woodrow Wilson; a Democrat who, like Obama, believed criticism of the president should be punished as treason. This is because leftists like mike decided Free Speech only applied to pr0n, but the Government could limit political speech because it was “unfair” or “dangerous.”

    Comment by V the K — August 28, 2013 @ 5:52 am - August 28, 2013

  24. Swampfox. . .i stood in an audience once where Lively shared a podium with his cohort Lon Mabon back in the day. Will never forget the way he looked at me.

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-28360-former_oregon_citizens_alliance_leader_scott_livel.html

    Oregonians with a good memory for the bad-old days of the Oregon Citizens Alliance may remember Scott Lively.

    Lively was one of the leaders of the anti-gay rights organization that pushed 1992’s Measure 9, which would have changed the state constitution to declare homosexuality as perverse and required schools to teach it was equal to pedophilia. Lively is also infamous for physically throwing a female photographer out of an OCA meeting; a jury later found he used unreasonable force against her.

    Lively’s penchant for making enemies with his anti-gay views continues. According to the New York Times, a Ugandan gay rights group is suing Lively, accusing him of “violating international law by inciting the persecution of homosexuals.” Lively had lobbied the Ugandan parliament for an anti-gay rights bill in 2009.

    Lively now runs the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop in Springfield, Mass., where his employment practices have raised eyebrows among the locals.

    Comment by rusty — August 19, 2013 @ 7:29 pm – August 19, 2013

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 6:06 am - August 28, 2013

  25. Many Oregonians would just as soon forget about Scott Lively, the former communications director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance who helped promote a seemingly endless string of divisive anti-gay initiatives in Oregon in the 1990s.

    Nearly a decade later, Lively has surfaced again, this time in Uganda where The New York Times reports that Lively and two other U.S. fundamentalist Christians gave a series of talks last March warning about “the gay agenda” and the threat they said homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African family. Thousands of Ugandans, including national politicians, police officers and teachers, attended the three-day presentation by Lively, who has written several books against homosexuality; Caleb Lee Brundidge, a self-described former gay man who leads “healing seminars,” and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, whose mission is “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”

    Shortly after the conference, a little-known Ugandan politician introduced the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which imposes a death sentence for homosexual behavior. Lively, Brundidge and Schmierer insist they had no intention of inspiring such legislation and are appalled by it. However. Ugandan organizers of the conference say they helped draft the bill and Lively reportedly has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan officials to discuss it. The Times says Lively noted on his blog in March that his mission to Uganda had been called “a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.”

    Before the Americans’ visit, Ugandan gays already faced a harsh environment, including beatings, blackmail, death threats and “correctional rape.” Now, they say the atmosphere has become even more threatening. A minister, who went undercover to chronicle the relationship between the American fundamentalists and the anti-homosexual movement, said he believes the Americans underestimated the homophobia in Uganda. “What these people have done is set the fire they can’t quench,” he said.

    http://www2.registerguard.com/cms/index.php/the-watershed/comments/scott-lively-chapter-ii/

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 6:29 am - August 28, 2013

  26. More C&P from Rusty,

    Again, nothing about inciting death threats against a specific person.

    And here’s where we get fuzzy.

    Is wanting the death penalty for paedophiles “Inciting murder?” Saying Bradley Manning should be shot for treason? Is raising the age of consent (combined with wanting to shoot paedophiles above) “Inciting murder?”

    And mike, your post is clearly causing me distress because you’re threatening my right to free speech in clvil court. So now you’ll allow me to sue you for everything, correct? I can go ahead and file and you’ll not muster a defence and accept a summary judgement.

    Good to know.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 28, 2013 @ 7:22 am - August 28, 2013

  27. March 22, 2012

    Suit Based on International Law Filed Against Christian Pastor for Speech on LGBT

    http://www.LC.org

    Washington DC – Liberty Counsel has agreed to represent Rev. Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor who was sued in a Massachusetts federal court by a foreign group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG). The premise for this lawsuit is based upon the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The ATS provides a cause of action for violations of international laws that are “specific, universal, and obligatory.” Courts have found torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity; summary execution, prolonged arbitrary detention, and forced disappearance to be actionable under the ATS. The lawsuit claims that beginning in 2002, Rev. Lively preached in Ugandan churches and shared his opinion on homosexuality and pornography. It further claims that as a result (albeit a convoluted one), some members of the so-called LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) community faced discrimination, and one (SMUG Advocacy Director David Kato) was killed on January 26, 2011. The suit leaves out the fact that a man named Enock Nsubuga Balibagga killed Kato because Kato tried to force him to have sex.

    The suit is a direct attempt to silence Rev. Lively because of his speech about homosexuality and pornography. The Supreme Court recently heard Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum on the issue of whether the ATS allows corporations to be sued. Following oral argument, the Court ordered new briefing and will rehear the case in the fall on the broader question of “[w]hether and under what circumstances the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, allows courts to recognize a cause of action for violations of the law of nations occurring within the territory of a sovereign other than the United States.” This case against Rev. Lively is an example of why the ATS should not be used to allow a foreigner to file suit against a U.S. citizen in the United States, claiming a violation of some vague international norm allegedly committed in the foreigner’s home country.

    Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: “This lawsuit against Rev. Scott Lively is a gross attempt to use a vague international law to silence, and eventually criminalize, speech by U.S. citizens on homosexuality and moral issues. This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech.”

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 10:50 am - August 28, 2013

  28. Rusty, to follow is my cut and paste from Wikipedia. In it Lively says he does not advocate violence against gays and lesbians. Even though, in my opinion he does go far enough to oppose it. He does say that he would endorse the current bill, if the death penalty is removed, which in my opinion a mind boggling twist of logic. The man truly detestable and I would like him to become know for what he is, a crazed far right anti-gay advocate.

    From Wikipedia:

    In March 2009, Lively, along with evangelical activists Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge, arrived in Kampala to give a series of talks. “The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was ‘the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda’ — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family”.[4]
    “[T]housands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians,” reportedly attended the conference.[4] Lively and his colleagues “discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how ‘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.’”[4] Lively wrote days later that “someone had likened their campaign to ‘a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.’”[4]
    The talks inspired the development of a private member’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan parliament.[19] The bill, submitted in November 2009, called for the death penalty in some cases, and received international opprobrium.[19][20][21]
    Lively expressed disappointment that “the legislation was so harsh.”[4]
    “Lively says he recommended an approach rooted in rehabilitation, not punishment and says an anti-gay bill being considered by the Ugandan Parliament goes too far”:[22]
    [M]y advice to the parliament was to go the other direction from what they did to actually go on a proactive positive message promoting the family, promoting marriage, etcetera, through the schools, and that if they were going to continue to criminalize homosexuality that they should focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. And I was very disappointed when the law came out as it is written now with such incredibly harsh punishments.[22]
    Lively has said that he will endorse the bill if the death penalty is removed.[23]
    In March 2010, Lively wrote:
    In my view, homosexuality (indeed all sex outside of marriage) should be actively discouraged by society — but only as aggressively as necessary to prevent the mainstreaming of alternative sexual lifestyles, and with concern for the preservation of the liberties of those who desire to keep their personal lifestyles private. Marriage-based culture served humanity very favorably during the centuries when homosexuality was disapproved but tolerated as a sub-culture in America, England and elsewhere. It has obviously not fared well in the decades since the so-called sexual revolution kicked open Pandora’s Box and unleashed both rampant heterosexual promiscuity and “Gay Pride” on the world.

    In March of this year I had the privilege of addressing members of the Ugandan parliament in their national assembly hall when the anti-homosexuality law was just being considered. I urged them to pattern their bill on some American laws regarding alcoholism and drug abuse. I cited my own pre-Christian experience being arrested for drunk driving. I was given and chose the option of therapy which turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I also cited the policy in some U.S. jurisdictions regarding marijuana. Criminalization of the drug prevents its users from promoting it, and discourages non-users from starting, even while the law itself is very lightly enforced, if at all.[24]
    On March 14, 2012, Lively was sued in U.S. Federal Court by gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda under the Alien Tort Statute, who accused Lively of inciting the persecution of gay men and lesbians. Lively responded “[t]hat’s about as ridiculous as it gets. I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue.”[25]
    Pam Spees, a staff attorney for the organization representing Sexual Minorities Uganda in the case against Lively, the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “This is not just based on his speech. It’s based on his conduct. Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution.”[25][26][27]

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — August 28, 2013 @ 11:50 am - August 28, 2013

  29. …Will never forget the way [Lively] looked at me…

    I believe that “looking at people” is constitutionally protected.

    I would like [Lively] to become know for what he is…

    That’s fine: you have an opinion, and your voicing it is constitutionally protected. (Not that you-or-anybody is owed a particular platform, of course. But you get that.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2013 @ 11:56 am - August 28, 2013

  30. http://www.scottlively.net/a-brief-autobiography/

    I was born and raised in the village of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, the oldest of six children. My father suffered from a severe form of mental illness that began when I was about 9 or 10 and became progressively worse. At the age of 12 I became an alcoholic as a means of coping with my family situation.

    I was an alcoholic and drug addict for 16 years, drifting around the United States, often homeless, sometimes sleeping under bridges and begging for spare change on street-corners. I visited every one of the 48 continental states and logged over 25,000 miles by thumb, bus and train in my wandering. I didn’t learn to drive a car until I was 25.

    . . .

    In 1989 I met Pastor Lon Mabon and got involved with his organization Oregon Citizens Alliance, the largest state-wide Christian political group in the nation. Within a few weeks, having no formal education or experience, I became the State Communications Director. We were running a pro-life ballot measure for the 1990 election.

    In 1991 OCA shifted from the abortion issue to homosexuality due to the rapid advance of that agenda in Oregon. I knew very little about the issue but over the next several years had my eyes opened to things very few Christians have ever seen or experienced. I realized that homosexuality was even more destructive to society than abortion.

    . . .

    Today I am able to wear various hats as the circumstances dictate: attorney, pastor, author, public speaker, missionary and international human rights consultant.
    http://www.scottlively.net/a-brief-autobiography/

    In 1991, Lively assaulted Catherine Stauffer, throwing her against a wall and dragging her across the floor of a Portland church, at an Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) event she had been trying to film. Stauffer received a judgment of over $31,000 against Lively and the OCA in 1992. Wiki

    Now through the life Lively documents, his assault of C Stauffer and a judgement against him and the OCA and then his time preparing to be an attorney, could one really believe that he would actually publicaly admit to intending harm anyone or advocate murder?

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 12:43 pm - August 28, 2013

  31. Comment by rusty — August 19, 2013 @ 7:29 pm – August 19, 2013

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 6:06 am – August 28, 2013

    A ‘cut and paste’ of a ‘cut and paste’.

    How many ‘generations’ of ‘cut and pastes’ can be done before the resulting post is blank?

    Comment by Jman1961 — August 28, 2013 @ 1:22 pm - August 28, 2013

  32. I think you just explained what happened to Rusty, he cut and pasted until there was nothing original left.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 28, 2013 @ 5:55 pm - August 28, 2013

  33. SwiperTheFox @ #19 sets up his own free speech conditionals and then invites commenters to play a game of thumbs or down based on the conditionals as he established them.

    Sorry, SwiperTheFox, but that dog won’t hunt.

    The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School> states:

    The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message. The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.

    The LII entry for “fighting words” states:

    Inflammatory words that are either injurious by themselves or might cause the hearer to immediately retaliate or breach the peace. Use of such words is not necessarily protected “free speech” under the First Amendment. If the hearer is prosecuted for assault, claiming fighting words may establish mitigating circumstances.

    The LII entry for Illegal Action states:

    A category of speech unprotected by the First Amendment. For many years, the constitutional rule famously was that speech was unprotected if “words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Schenck v. United States, 249 US 47 (1919). However, the current rule is that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 US 444 (1969).

    I prefer that the challenge which SwiperTheFox throws down be guided by the work of the Cornell University Law School rather than by the conditions laid down by SwiperTheFox.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 28, 2013 @ 7:22 pm - August 28, 2013

  34. Well, you probably already know this, there are those who openly state the reason Africans (generally) oppose same-sex relations and marriage is because of the influence of rich and generous Americans. I had a gay Episcopal priest say this to my face. He was ironically a member (chairperson?) of a diocesan committee on racial reconciliation. I have frequently heard or read Episcopalian leaders say the same thing. Some infamously refer to “chicken dinners” at which African church leaders chow down and absorb whatever their conservative American hosts are saying. (If it sounds like I am picking on Episcopal Church it is only because I use to interact frequently with that community.)

    Comment by Rick67 — August 28, 2013 @ 9:50 pm - August 28, 2013

  35. Rick, I’ve also had some interaction with that community. I’ve known some wonderful Episcopal priests…who were straight. I can well believe that the gay Episcopal priest was smug enough, and contemptuous enough of those who are different from him (those who are not either white gay liberal Episcopal priests, or the dutifully-awed supporters of same) to have told you such a tale – and to have really believed it, as he was telling you.

    If I had to decide whether the story reflects greater discredit on him (for seriously believing and spreading it), or on the African church leaders in question, I’d say…the first.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 28, 2013 @ 10:20 pm - August 28, 2013

  36. It seems to me that leftist progressives have this odd, shamanistic belief that words are somehow magical. Just as they believe Obama can cure the economy and install world peace because of his vaunted “eloquence” (or maybe because, as Harry Reid noticed, he speaks without a pronounced “Negro accent”). They also believe this Lively person can influence events thousands of miles away merely through the power of his words.

    From this belief springs the left’s fondness for Speech Codes, Political Correctness, and… at this extreme end… literally prosecuting a man just for expressing an opinion they don’t like.

    Coming from a group of people who pooh-pooh religion, this belief in “magic words” would be almost comical, were it not used to oppress and persecute people whose only crime was expressing an unpopular, politically incorrect opinion.

    Comment by V the K — August 29, 2013 @ 5:50 am - August 29, 2013

  37. Recoil alert!

    Feed the jungle bunnies a chicken dinner and then fill their empty heads with conservative ideas. Did I read that game plan correctly?

    The way to a jungle bunny’s soul is with fried chicken. “Those people” are so stupid that you can fill them with any type of toxic crap just by exercising their primitive salivary glands.

    Dear me. Col. Sanders could have taken over Africa.

    Pardon me if I choose to have a higher opinion of what is beneath black skin.

    Comment by heliotrope — August 29, 2013 @ 9:52 am - August 29, 2013

  38. Now through the life Lively documents, his assault of C Stauffer and a judgement against him and the OCA and then his time preparing to be an attorney, could one really believe that he would actually publicaly admit to intending harm anyone or advocate murder?

    Comment by rusty — August 28, 2013 @ 12:43 pm – August 28, 2013

    And there, my friends, is the last desperate wail of the wannabe fascist: “Lively is lying because he won’t admit that he’s guilty like I think he is.”

    It is no longer a matter of proving guilt; it is a matter of demanding one prove innocence, with lack of evidence only equaling MORE guilt.

    Contrasted hilariously with rusty’s absolute unwillingness to confront and apply his principles of hate speech causing injury to others when it would affect his own Obama Party and LGBT community, such as their endorsements and encouragement of the FRC shooter.

    One can tell that Cut-n’-Paste has never really had to think too hard or form a cogent argument: all of his posts essentially fall into “You have to do what I want because I’m gay” or “If you don’t do what I want, you’re a homophobe”. He can’t argue for or against principles because he doesn’t have any; he’s just a selfish little narcissist who will say anything, no matter how malicious, to get what he wants.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 29, 2013 @ 11:58 am - August 29, 2013

  39. You guys do realize this is a lawsuit, right? Not a criminal charge?

    And what Scott Lively did DOES make him liable under the Alien Torts Statute.

    Here’s an analogy to what Scott Lively did in Uganda:

    Abu Ali is the head of a huge Islamic Affairs organization in the USA. He hates Israel and writes articles on the organization’s website slamming Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, and the Israeli people as much as he can. One day, he goes with a couple of anti-Israel friends to meet with Palestinian authorities and officials in Gaza. They have a nice time together, talking about how great Allah is, how Islam should be supreme, and how Israel needs to be taught a major lesson. Ali and his buddies tell the Palestinian officials that they should do whatever they can to make Israel theirs and make Israel submit to Allah. They leave. Two weeks later, the Palestinians launch a large number of rockets into Jerusalem, killing hundreds.

    An Israel-based group, let’s call them Forever Israel, who advocates for the sovereign interests of Israel files suit against Ali and his Muslim buddies for using his violent rhetoric to help promote violence and hatred against Israel and Israelis, as well as the advancement of the destruction of Israel’s sovereignty. These allegations are human-rights based of course and under the Alien Tort Statute. When the Palestinian officials speak out about the attack, they say that Abu Ali gave them the incentive they needed to advance their jihad for Allah.

    The same thing applies to Scott Lively using his anti-gay rhetoric when speaking to Ugandan officials who want to create the anti-gay law. His rhetoric helped them to craft the Kill the Gays Law.

    Comment by Paul — August 29, 2013 @ 12:11 pm - August 29, 2013

  40. Paul – Yes, the Alien Tort Statute. But you are right: I goofed in the original post, by saying “prosecuted” when I meant “sued”. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    The rest of your argument is just wrong.

    First of all, in your hypothetical, Abu Ali is in no way responsible for the rocket attacks. In no way. The people who launched the rocket attacks are responsible. Think about it.

    Second of all, we’re not talking about illegal actions like rocket attacks, with Uganda. We’re talking about the opposite: a sovereign nation in the perfectly-legal process of making its laws; laws which – apart from the weird death penalty element that Lively apparently rejected and advised against – were considered normal and constitutional in the United States, as recently as 2003.

    Kindly provide evidence of Rev. Lively ever “using his violent rhetoric to help promote violence” in Uganda.

    (Again, advising a nation’s designated lawmakers on what laws THEY might or might not proceed to make, will not count. Otherwise, nobody will ever be able to say anything, in any context, if someone else could claim any sort of insult or injury from it. Your example equates Lively with people who promote actual, violent crimes, so give us evidence of Lively promoting that.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2013 @ 12:29 pm - August 29, 2013

  41. Back at 27 ILC
    March 22, 2012
    Suit Based on International Law Filed Against Christian Pastor for Speech on LGBT
    http://www.LC.org

    Washington DC – Liberty Counsel has agreed to represent Rev. Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor who was sued in a Massachusetts federal court by a foreign group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG). The premise for this lawsuit is based upon the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The ATS provides a cause of action for violations of international laws that are “specific, universal, and obligatory.” Courts have found torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity; summary execution, prolonged arbitrary detention, and forced disappearance to be actionable under the ATS. The lawsuit claims that beginning in 2002, Rev. Lively preached in Ugandan churches and shared his opinion on homosexuality and pornography. It further claims that as a result (albeit a convoluted one), some members of the so-called LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) community faced discrimination, and one (SMUG Advocacy Director David Kato) was killed on January 26, 2011

    Comment by rusty — August 29, 2013 @ 1:54 pm - August 29, 2013

  42. Will have to wait and see what the law folk and SMUG present as evidence

    Comment by rusty — August 29, 2013 @ 1:55 pm - August 29, 2013

  43. rusty, nothing new there. The fact remains that Lively is being judicially punished for his unpopular/objectionable, but still political, speech. And that’s horribly wrong, horribly the opposite of free speech.

    Even if Lively wins in the end, we have all lost, first when the suit was brought, and second when the court didn’t quickly dismiss it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2013 @ 2:13 pm - August 29, 2013

  44. Just pointing out what Paul brought up.

    The premise for this lawsuit. . .

    Comment by rusty — August 29, 2013 @ 2:18 pm - August 29, 2013

  45. Second of all, we’re not talking about illegal actions like rocket attacks, with Uganda. We’re talking about the opposite: a sovereign nation in the perfectly-legal process of making its laws; laws which – apart from the weird death penalty element that Lively apparently rejected and advised against – were considered normal and constitutional in the United States, as recently as 2003.

    I pretty much completely agree with you, ILC, but I have to object to what you say here. This requires that you accept the premise that governments are the source of law (i.e. that there is no objective law that exists apart from what the government dictates). I would argue that the government of Uganda would be breaking the law by enforcing a law that persecutes gay people (as is any other country that does so, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Russia) because gay people unequivocally have the right to live how they want to as long as they are not harming anyone (just like people like Lively unequivocally have the right to say or believe whatever they want, excluding things like making death threats).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 29, 2013 @ 3:43 pm - August 29, 2013

  46. RS, very good point. And, as previously stated, I think Uganda’s anti-gay policies are wrong.

    Having said that: I still think it’s invalid to compare a legislature deciding on its nation’s laws (be those laws good or bad) to terrorists making illegal rocket attacks.

    National legislatures are the source of national law, in practice. You’re talking about objective moral law. Whether a nation’s laws conform to it (that is, whether the nation’s laws protect individual rights as they ought to) tells us if the nation’s laws are just, or unjust.

    Lively advocates for certain unjust laws. What he advocates, is wrong. But *that* he advocates it, is his right. Because freedom includes “the right to be wrong” on political questions. (Of course you know all this; I don’t mean to lecture; I’m just saying it for the record.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 29, 2013 @ 3:55 pm - August 29, 2013

  47. I still think it’s invalid to compare a legislature deciding on its nation’s laws (be those laws good or bad) to terrorists making illegal rocket attacks.

    Agreed. Given how many laws are constantly being broken, it is necessary to prioritize enforcement. Obviously, the ones that cause imminent, widespread harm are the highest priority.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 29, 2013 @ 4:55 pm - August 29, 2013

  48. This is a lawsuit?!?!

    Who are the parties? Livley vs the state or private individuals?

    Comment by mike — August 29, 2013 @ 6:28 pm - August 29, 2013

  49. Will have to wait and see what the law folk and SMUG present as evidence

    Comment by rusty — August 29, 2013 @ 1:55 pm – August 29, 2013

    Oh really, rusty?

    So you mean all your screaming and ranting that he’s guilty hasn’t been based on actual evidence presented?

    Go figure. Bigot.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 30, 2013 @ 5:50 pm - August 30, 2013

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