WorldNetDaily's Very Lively Gay-Bashing
Not only does WND pretend that anti-gay activist Scott Lively's book linking gays to Nazis hasn't been discredited, it has served as his apologist over allegations that he's linked to Uganda's proposed "kill the gays" law.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily already has a prodigious anti-gay agenda, so it's no surprise that it would hook up with Scott Lively, whose Abiding Truth Ministries is considered a "hate group" by the Southern Policy Law Center for Lively's vicious anti-gay activism.
WND has not only signed up to sell an anti-gay book, it has rushed to Lively's defense after he was linked to a Draconian anti-gay law in Uganda and has even given Lively space to defend himself without fear of criticism.
"The Pink Swastika"
What WND would rather not have you know about "The Pink Swastika," however, is how seriously the book's claims have been discredited.
Warren Throckmorton -- a psychology professor at the conservative-leaning Grove City College whom WND has previously approvingly cited -- has pointed out significant factual errors in the book, such as its attempt to link fascism and homosexuality by attacking German writer Thomas Mann as "an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism" when Mann was, in fact, an active opponent of the Third Reich. Throckmorton also noted how Lively and co-author Kevin Abrams selectively quote from the work of Gunter Grau to prove "homofascism," ignoring examples that contradicted their thesis.
Throckmorton also highlighted the criticism of Grove City College history professor Jon David Wynekin, who has extensively studied Nazi history. Wynekin called the book "simply not good history and is, in fact, not really history at all. Instead, in my view, it is a book that uses history as a weapon in a contemporary political battle, completely outside the historical context of Nazi Germany." Wynekin added that Lively "does no original research in primary archival documents; meaning, he has not examined the thousands of documents available on these subjects for himself."
In an attempt to shut down such criticism, the WND article continued:
Already, only a few days after introducing this new edition of the book into the WND Superstore, Farah says homosexual bloggers and commentators have taken notice and "are pulling out the long knives of invective and abuse."
Farah, of course, doesn't explain what the criticism or how he concluded that it is "baseless."
Throckmorton responded to Farah: "I am not a homosexual blogger; Grove City colleague and historian Jon David Wynekin is not a homosexual blogger and we spent lots of time and detail demonstrating the flaws in the book. Campus Crusade for Christ is not a homosexual blogger organization and it removed an excerpt of The Pink Swastika from one of their websites. Exodus International is not a homosexuality affirming organization but they removed the link to The Pink Swastika. NARTH is hardly a gay affirming bunch but they removed all references to Scott Lively and The Pink Swastika."
A few days later, Farah followed up with a column on "The Pink Swastika," again vouching for its accuracy:
Yes, it is a thoroughly explosive book so much so that I have been the victim of a malicious smear campaign in the homosexual blogosphere just for including the title in the WND Superstore.
Farah conveniently failed to offers specifics to back up his assertion. Apparently, he's avoiding Throckmorton's criticism lest he come across the same undermined jots and tittles Throckmorton has documented.
But facts don't matter to Farah. All that matters is that somebody called Nazism "a pagan, homosexual cult," and that's just too good for him to fact-check -- never mind that he operates a "news" website that could theoretically very easily do so.
The Uganda defense
Meanwhile, Lively was starting to find himself in another controversy. Reports surfaced that he was one of the inspirations behind a proposed Draconian law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- a law endorsed by WND's own Molotov Mitchell. As that became more of an issue, WND felt compelled to run to Lively's defense.
An October 2011 article by Drew Zahn is largely focused on a brick thrown through a window at a school where the anti-gay group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality was to give an award to Lively, then launched into defense mode after a press release claiming responsibility for the brick-throwing incident noted that Lively spoke at an anti-gay conference in Uganda and that participants later drafted the "kill the gays" bill, Zahn uncriticially repeated Lively's defense that he has "never advocated violence or hatred against homosexuals," and that "My advice to the MPs regarding the law they were contemplating but had not yet drafted was to focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. I urged them to become the first government in the world to develop a state-sponsored recovery system for homosexuality on the model we have in the United States for alcoholism." Lively added, "I do not support capital punishment for any sex crimes, let alone simple homosexuality, which I view as a treatable behavioral disorder, and so I opposed the bill. I was nevertheless accused in the international media of not only endorsing the bill, but of advocating for it."
Zahn didn't mention that in a February 2011 WND column, Lively ranted about how "lavender Marxists" are "murderers" who "have fixed their malevolent gaze on Christian Uganda." If Lively was calling gays "murderers" while in the U.S., it's entirely possible -- if not likely -- that he was even more inflammatory while in Uganda, where he was out of the reach of U.S. media, and he is now trying to hide his extremism to distance himself from the law.
This was followed by WND columnists directly defending Lively against any association with hostile conditions for gays in Uganda:
Of course, neither mentioned Lively's depiction of gays in Uganda as "murderers."
In a Nov. 25 article, Michael Carl cited Lively in the course of praising Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni for "publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation" including "idolatry and witchcraft" and "sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge," then, according to Carl, "dedicated Uganda to God":
Lively added that Museveni is definitely drawing a contrast between Uganda and the West.
Carl later quoted Lively as saying that he "supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior" (but "didn’t agree with the death penalty provision") without mentioning Lively's alleged links to the proposed law, or that had been sued by a human-rights group for helping to inspire the law. Carl apparently did not ask Lively about the proposed bill's other Draconian provisions to see if he approved them, or why Lively feels homosexuals in Uganda (real or suspected) must be punished even harsher than they already are.
Lawsuit against Lively
After a lawsuit was filed accusing Lively of depriving gays of fundamental human rights for his alleged role in the proposed "kill the gays" law, WND responded with a March 2012 article by Bob Unruh that uncritically repeated Lively's defense against Unruh described as "an organization of homosexuals in Uganda" accusing Lively of helping to inspire a proposed law that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality. According to Unruh, Lively claimed that "I opposed the death penalty provision of the Ugandan bill from the beginning. … It is a baseless charge for which they have not a shred of proof, but in any case advocacy for legislation is speech." But Unruh did not present any documentation to back up Lively's claims, and it appears that the only person Unruh talked to for this article was Lively.
Even though Unruh noted that "a multitude of Lively’s comments and statements" are cited in the lawsuit, he curiously did not mention any examples, or the "murderers" reference in his WND column. Unruh also did not provide a link to the lawsuit so his readers can check it out for themselves. (Indeed, the lawsuit includes quotes from Lively in Uganda in which he calls pornography a "tool of 'gay' social engineering," held a closed-door meeting with pastors there after which he claimed he described how "America was brought low by homosexual activism," and equated homosexuality with sexual violence against children.)
Unruh also quoted Liberty Counsel repeating an earlier defense Lively made regarding the murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato: "The suit leaves out the fact that the suspected killer is a male prostitute with which Kato had sex and refused to pay." In fact, as ConWebWatch has noted, Ugandan police may have been trying to cover up a motive of homophobia in Kato's death, and observers say the man who was convicted in Kato's death may have been set up to murder Kato for being gay and thought if he established a homosexual sex demand, he would be treated leniently.
WND repeated its defense of Lively in a unbylined Jan. 7 article. At no point did WND directly quote more than three words at a time from the lawsuit, nor does it provide a link to it But paragraph upon paragraph were lavished on statements made by Lively's lawyers at the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel. The WND article is framed around the Lively defense's argument that an outcome that doesn't favor Lively means that "First Amendment free speech protections should play second fiddle to an international consensus that criticism of homosexuality is criminal." It's a ridiculously unbalanced article.
Such unbalance means that, once again, Lively's anti-gay activism is soft-pedaled. Thus, Lively's February 2011 WND rant about how "lavender Marxists" are "murderers" who "have fixed their malevolent gaze on Christian Uganda" goes down the memory hole and does not serve as an example of Lively's rhetoric -- which one can reasonably assume was even more inflammatory while in Uganda, out of the reach of U.S. media.
Never one to let a good marketing opportunity go to waste, the WND article included a link to purchase Lively's discredited anti-gay screed "The Pink Swastika" at WND's online store.
Lively endorses allegedly revised bill
Lively wrote a fallacy-filled Dec. 12 WND column endorsing changes purportedly made to the proposed Uganda law:
Now that Uganda’s so-called “kill the gays” bill has been revised to drop the death penalty and reportedly add provisions for prevention and therapy for homosexuality, I think there may be room for tentative support in the Christian community in the West, even though it retains jail terms for offenders.
In fact, it was far from clear at the time that the death penalty provision had been removed. Lively then ranted about how good it is that Uganda wants to make homosexuality illegal:
Just because secular humanist America began to decriminalize sexual sins in civilian law starting in the early 1960s doesn’t mean criminal sanctions against homosexuality are “un-Christian.” Indeed, given the enormous damage to our culture from the so-called sexual revolution, it was obviously a big mistake for us to have done this. Knowing what we know now, it is arguably more “un-Christian” to support the status quo than to support a return to the legal framework of the 1940s and ’50s regarding sexual misbehavior.
But homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda; this proposed law merely ratchets up the penalties. Nevertheless, Lively claims:
Second, in all the media-driven hysteria about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, one glaring fact has been consistently omitted (despite my having pointed it out to nearly every “journalist” who has interviewed me). The fact is, Ugandan law is typical of most African law in that it tends to be very harsh in the letter, but very lenient in the application. I doubt very much that anyone arrested under the new law (if it passes) will receive anything close to the jail terms allowed for in the bill.
Shouldn't Uganda enforce the laws they already have instead of expanding the penalties? Lively is silent about this. He was not silent, however, about how much he hates gays and doesn't understand sexual behavior:
Third, and most importantly, there is one easy, guaranteed method of protecting oneself from ever being subject to the anti-homosexuality law in Uganda: Don’t commit sodomy! We all seem to forget, in the dense propaganda haze of American popular opinion, that homosexuality is defined by voluntary sexual acts. Homosexuals are no more compelled to commit sodomy with each other than a married man is compelled to cheat on his wife.
Lively concluded his column this way:
However, since I didn’t write the Ugandan bill and have no power to redraft it on my own terms, and since the alternative to passing this bill is to allow the continuing, rapid, foreigner-driven homosexualization of Ugandan culture, I am giving the revised anti-homosexuality bill my support.
Lively doesn't mention is that he did, in fact, influence those who did write the bill by pushing his anti-gay activism inside Uganda.