Springfield, Massachusetts – A pastor in Massachusetts attended a federal hearing yesterday as a lawsuit filed against the minister by a Ugandan homosexual activist group accusing him of “crimes against humanity” is being considered by the courts.
Pastor Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, had visited the nation of Uganda in 2009, where he spoke on what the Bible says about homosexuality and expressed support of pastors in the country that were working to oppose the proliferation of sexual activity between those of the same gender.
Following his visit, the group SMUG, Sexual Minorities of Uganda, filed a lawsuit against Lively, asserting that he had violated international law because his words allegedly encouraged government persecution against homosexuals in the nation. He was sued under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows individuals from foreign nations to file federal complaints against U.S. citizens who have committed torts overseas.
“ATS is not a blanket delegation of lawmaking to the democratically unaccountable international community,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Council, which is representing the evangelical pastor. “Like all American citizens, Lively enjoys a fundamental First Amendment right to engage in nonviolent political discourse anywhere in the world.”
“This lawsuit against 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,” he added. “This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech.”
Senior Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet and General Counsel Steve Crampton argued on behalf of Lively in court yesterday as they asked District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to throw out the case. SMUG is being represented by a group funded by George Soros.
Liberty Council states that the lawsuit is nothing less than an attempt to silence Biblical preaching about the homosexual lifestyle.
“What SMUG cavalierly labels as ‘crimes against humanity’ – the most heinous of all crimes – is actually nothing more than civil, peaceful, political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern,” Staver said. “When SMUG sued Lively in a Massachusetts federal court, it launched a direct assault on the supremacy of the United States Constitution.”
As previously reported, there has been much contention worldwide over a pending law in Uganda surrounding the placement of prohibitions against homosexual behavior, which includes a ban on the general promotion of same-sex activity. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a professing Christian who recently led the nation in a prayer of repentance, told British reporters last year that he believes homosexuality should simply be “ignored” in the nation, although he opposes the promotion of the lifestyle in any form. However, other Christians in Uganda, including those in parliament, state that something needs to be done to stop the proliferation of homosexual behavior, which they believe is fueled by the Western world.
“The truth be told, we do not need any help from any country if that help is to compromise our morals and values,” Restore Uganda director Okumu Yudah Tadeo told Christian News Network. “According to Uganda’s cultural and religious values that have helped to keep morals in the country, it is in Uganda’s best interest to keep up the good morals and Godly values in this generation and the generations to come.”
Reports state that the death penalty, which had been included in the legislation in regard to homosexual pedophilia and intentionally infecting another with the AIDS virus, has been removed. Many homosexual activists had labeled the legislation the “kill the gays bill,” which some state is inaccurate.
As of press time, there was no word as to whether the district court ruled for or against Lively.