Saturday, September 21, 2013

Venango County's Diane Gramley (AFA of PA) Seems To Be A Scott Lively Wanna Be

Scott Lively, a pastor in Springfield, Mass., is facing an unprecedented lawsuit that alleges he persecuted gays in Uganda, committing a "crime against humanity," even as he takes credit for anti-gay legislation in Russia.

By Tony Dokoupil, Senior Writer, NBC News:

When President Vladimir Putin recently banned “homosexual propaganda” in Russia, he joined sides in a new global culture war: a struggle to stop the march of gay rights abroad even as advocates wave rainbow flags in America. Now, as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics approach, both sides are bracing for unrest — and an American pastor is taking credit for the law that started it all.

Scott Lively is a hero to some, a demon to others and a joke to still more. From his home in Springfield, Mass., he runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda,” and Holy Grounds Coffee Shop, where the faithful gather for java and Jesus. Lively also sermonizes overseas, promoting his books — most notably The Pink Swastika, which traces the Nazi Party to a gay bar — and portraying gay love as a “dark force” in human history responsible for the Inquisition, American slavery and the Holocaust.

Last month a federal judge allowed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit to proceed against Lively that alleges the pastor persecuted gays in Uganda and committed a potential “crime against humanity” — one that contributed to a bill that would have made homosexuality an act punishable by death. And yet the grey-haired 57-year-old has refused to quiet down.

On his blog this month, Lively praised Putin as “the defender of Christian civilization” for signing this summer a ban on information that treats being gay as valid or attractive — and traced the idea to his own tour of Russia in 2006-7. Last week, Lively suggested Russian officials foil gay activists planning to rainbow-bomb the Olympics by flying a rainbow banner over the games so “the global homosexual movement” would be reminded that “the rainbow belongs to God!”

In his first interview since a U.S. district court judge refused to dismiss the case against him, Lively shrugged off the lawsuit, touted his rising global influence and seemed to dare civil rights advocates to launch another assault on him. “Come what may, I will continue to advocate for the Biblical view of family until my final breath,” he pledged, because “we’re talking about civilization — good and evil being played out in the United States and all around the world.”

A global campaign against gay 'disorder'
Lively has reason to be a bit cocky. America may have “fallen to the gays,” he says, but much of the world still fears them and Lively is working to keep it that way.

In Moldova in 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, he helped several cities declare themselves “gay-free zones” and organized an “emergency” campaign to block a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus he met with politicians and pastors, fostering talk of new curbs on gay rights. Every place he goes, Lively says, his goal is to block the open expression of homosexuality, keep discrimination legal and make pro-gay advocacy a crime.

To whip up support for such policies, Lively simply shares his beliefs about gay people: They’re dangerous predators, even killers. And they caught this gay “disorder” through “an evil game of tag,” a chain of abuse in which gays recruit kids into sodomy just as they were once recruited. In this way homosexuality spreads like “a social cancer,” he claims, until nothing remains of the Christian world.

It’s unclear where Lively gets his virulent science, since study after study suggests homosexuality begins with biology not abuse, but his political strategy is easy to trace. It’s an export straight from the American culture wars of the 1990s, when Lively was communications director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance, then the largest anti-gay political group in America. OCA pioneered the idea of criminalizing gay advocacy, convincing more than a dozen Oregon suburbs to forbid anything that may “promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality” — much as Putin has done in Russia.

“Yes, I think I influenced the Russian law,” Lively said. While some gay rights activists still think he’s just a laughingstock, Boris Dittrich, the director of LGBT advocacy for Human Rights Watch, tends to confirm Lively’s claims. Russia was plenty homophobic before Lively’s arrival but the American pastor appears to have given shape to that free-floating hatred, Dittrich said. As he passed through Russia’s regions, Lively met with politicians and bans on homosexual propaganda followed, spreading to more than a half-dozen areas before Putin swept them into a national standard.

Lively — who calls himself the “father” of Uganda’s anti-gay movement — also shared the first sharp details of his work in Eastern Europe and responded to the rise in hate crimes that seems to follow him around the globe.

'It's a war between Christians and homosexuals'
In 2006, Lively served as California state director of the American Family Association in Sacramento and fought the “homosexualization” of public schools. He befriended Alexey Ledyaev, charismatic pastor of New Generation, a Latvian megachurch with more than 200 branches worldwide. Together they founded Watchmen on the Walls, a network of activists who pledged to guard the Kingdom of Christ against the siege of homosexuality — and by fall of that year Lively was on a Watchmen trip to Russia.

He landed in Vladivostok, Russia’s largest port on the Pacific Ocean, boarding a train for a 22-hour journey north to Blagoveshchensk, a river city on the border of China. He recalled feeling “just like Dr. Zhivago! Red velvet curtains, a samovar at the end of each car, passing through endless birch forests.” For 10 days Lively used “Blago” as a hub, shuttling in and out of nearby communities, shouting Paul Revere-like warnings of a gay invasion.

By February 2007 he was back in the States in high spirits, bearing a 45-minute highlight reel that he screened at an OCA reunion in Portland. It repeatedly referred to gays as “terrorists,” showed members of the Watchmen interrupting a pride parade in Riga (with bags of feces, according media reports), and included a cross-national howl from a Latvian member of the Watchmen. “Your generation beat the Nazis, and our country beat the Communists,” the activist said. “Together we will defeat the homosexuals!”

A month or so later, Lively was back on the circuit, speaking at the World Congress of Families conference in Warsaw before hopping to Riga, his base for the next several months. He preached in churches, lectured in universities, took the podium at conferences. He sat down with pro-family leaders, pastors and a few members of parliament.

Old videos from the now-defunct Watchmen website reveal some highlights. A stop in Riga in May 2007, where Lively called gay rights “the most dangerous political movement in the world.” A three-day conference in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, in August. There Lively addressed an auditorium filled with 1,000 Christians, six ushers on hand to help with security and seating, the stage kitted out to look like a medieval wall. “There is a war that is going on in the world,” Lively said through a translator.

“There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals.”  

Suit could decide fight to restore 'godliness to society' 
Regardless of whether Lively inspired Putin’s crackdown, he’s been accused of inspiring violence against gay people. He says he only preaches compassion – “love the sinner, hate the sin,” he likes to say – and although he gets blamed for it he didn’t actually support Uganda’s proposed death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” He believes gays should be pushed from public life, their “recovery” supported in private. And yet where Lively’s message goes, violence seems to follow.

In Oregon in 1992, a same-sex couple died when their house was firebombed during OCA’s campaign to declare homosexuality “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” In Sacramento in 2007, a gay man was called a “faggot” and punched to death by a stranger in a park. In Uganda in 2011, the country’s first openly gay man had his skull caved in. And right now in Russia and in the former Soviet states, there’s been a surge in homophobic vigilantism, including a torrent of shaming videos, some depicting gay teens being tortured by skinheads. Lively has not been linked to any of these crimes but we asked: Couldn’t his talk of predatory gays, “good and evil,” and “war” have played a role?

“Wow, that’s a leap,” said Lively, who sees his work as advocacy in the public interest, no different from campaigning against drunk drivers.

Others don’t think it’s a leap. “Words have consequences,” said Mark Potok, an editor at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that gives Lively’s ministry a pin in its national map of “hate groups.”

Pamela Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the group pursuing Lively for alleged “crimes against humanity” in Uganda, said she is prepared to file a second lawsuit related to his work in Russia and the surrounding countries, assuming there’s evidence that Lively was “an architect of the persecutory program” there.

And that’s why the case against Lively is so important, gay-rights activists say. As the Olympics draw nearer and the boycotts and homophobic backlash continue, Putin will be the guy paraded down the world’s front pages and social media feeds. But Lively may be the secret agent to watch.

If he loses his lawsuit he could be prohibited from spreading his message abroad, a terrible precedent for other anti-gay crusaders. However if he wins, he emerges stronger than ever, the self-described “hero” of an expanding fight to restore “godliness to society,” as he puts it – or else “pull as many people as possible into the lifeboat before the ship goes down.”

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Is This What American Family Association Means By Traditional Family Values??

Twisted Mom & Dad's Deviant 'Parenting Plan' Was Plotted Before Kids Were Even Born

by Kiri Blakeley - The Stir - 9/16/13:

This is the most sickening "parenting plan" you can imagine. A couple started a family so that they could rape their own children. Yeah, it doesn't much worse than that. Jonathan and Sarah Adleta have been found guilty of child-sex charges and face many years, possibly life, in prison. The children involved? Their own daughter and son. And possibly the most twisted part of all of it? They reportedly began planning the sexual abuse long before the children were even born.

Sarah, who pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and could serve up to 30 years in prison, reportedly testified that while she was dating her ex-husband, Jonathan, he would discuss sexual situations between fathers and daughters and even said he wanted "daddy-daughter sex." Jonathan reportedly said that he would only marry Sarah if she agreed to his plan.

While this would be enough to make most women run for their lives -- and call 911 on their way out the door -- Sarah went along with it because she wanted to "be with him." And a year after they were married, she gave birth to their daughter.

While it's unfathomable that any woman would agree to this, Sarah reportedly told jurors that she would do whatever it took to be with Jonathan. Because he was just that much of a winner, folks.

Sarah and Jonathan, who is reportedly a former Marine, eventually divorced. You think this would at least get the daughter away from her sick father, but Sarah reportedly continued to allow her ex to sexually abuse their daughter over Skype and during visits.

Sadly, even if Sarah had balked at Jonathan's horrific plan, he was intent on finding a child to victimize. In fact, after his divorce, his new girlfriend allegedly allowed him to abuse her young daughter.

The idea that a woman would willingly give birth to a child so that her child could become prey to a sexual predator is sickening to say the least. Hopefully these two won't see freedom for a very long time, maybe never again. It just goes to show you that giving birth doesn't mean you're a parent.

What could make a woman agree to this?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Former American Family Association Attorney Says The Christian Right Is Paranoid And Perverse

How Homosexuality Ruined The “Religious Right”

By Joseph R. Murray, II

Longshoreman Eric Hoffer recognized that many great American movements were borne of a noble cause, grew up to be a lucrative business, and ended up becoming a racket. Such is the dangerous Catch-22 of public interest politics and such is the tale of America’s Christian Right lobby.

When students of political science study the demise of the Christian Right years from now, the focus will most assuredly be on gay rights.

After the Christian Right tapped out the pro-life issue, the captains of Christian industry needed a new sales pitch to keep the coffers filled. These folks thought they saw the light in 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared a fundamental right to same-sex marriage.

This decision was a god-send for a Christian right that was always giddy to portray the judiciary as an unelected, out-of-touch super-legislature that imposed its minority will on the majority of the people.

Shortly after Massachusetts made history, all eyes turned to then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to permit same-sex couples to say “I do.”

I was on the front lines working with the American Family Association as a staff attorney when Newsom made history in the City by the Bay after he gave clerks the green light to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Christian right was drooling with delight thinking the maverick mayor had gone off the proverbial cliff. History, however, would show it was the Christian Right that joined Thelma and Louise in the backseat of their convertible.

As a staff attorney, I was able to see firsthand how the Religious Right operated. I first worked with AFA after I was selected to be in the inaugural class of the then Alliance Defense Fund’s Blackstone Fellowship. The Fellowship was designed to select the best and brightest budding Christian lawyers to train them to fight the culture war in courtrooms across America.

Such training did not prepare me for the reality of how the Evangelical “Christian” political machine operated, especially when the battle over marriage erupted.

At the time Newsom and Massachusetts opened a new front in the culture war, polls suggested that opposition to gay rights, especially marriage rights, was a winning issue for the Christian machine. While “Will and Grace” entertained the nation, the concept of marriage equality still generated a lukewarm response.

Moreover, the Christian Right had invested heavily in a propaganda machine that specialized in promulgating unjust stereotypes. Instead of letting the flock see gay couples as the neighbors next door, the Christian Right made it a point to portray all gays with the wildest pictures they could find from the Castro.

It was a brilliant strategy, for if groups like AFA could scare the faithful with pictures that portrayed the gay community in the worst light, it could frame the debate as one of deviancy versus decency. There were two problems with this strategy, though:

First, in order for the campaign to succeed the Right had to forsake the very Christian principles it claimed to be protecting. In typical fashion, a few Ben Franklins made it much easier for them to put profit over principle.

Second, the strategy would only work if the Christian Right could force gays, as well as those Christians that supported them, into the closet. It was the second problem that would result in the demise of the Christian right.

Aside from the hypocritical tactics of these right-wing groups, competition and distrust erupted among the various groups themselves. Though they claimed to be united for a single cause, they often had internal disputes and rivalries, and rather than rally behind winnable legal cases being litigated by their peers, these groups often focused instead on outdoing each other.

Why? Because high profile cases meant high-volume dollars. It was morality driven by money.

When I worked at AFA there was an intense rivalry between the AFA and ADF. There was a belief that ADF was trying to strong-arm the various religious groups under its umbrella so it could control the money and the message. There was a real fear that ADF was poised to steamroll over every Christian Right group, which it largely did.

To demonstrate how paranoid and perverse the Christian Right machine became, I was booted out of ADF’s Blackstone Fellowship because I would not sign a loyalty pledge. Just two years after Blackstone was created, there was concern that ADF was using the images and stories of the Blackstone fellows without their permission and for fundraising unrelated to the Fellowship.

When confronted, ADF demanded that current fellows sign a loyalty pledge or face excommunication. This author, as well as a handful of other principled folks, gladly chose excommunication.

While these largely Evangelical groups fought with each other, there also remained a distrust between Evangelicals and Catholics. During an AFA devotional I attended, the organization’s spokesman talked about his recent mission trip to Spain. Specifically, he stated that mission work was needed in Spain because the country did not have many Christians, just a whole lot of Catholics.

Make no mistake: the Christian right was poised to bring “God’s work” to a whole new level at the beginning of this century, but the dysfunction and distrust ingrained into these groups, their greed, their envy, and their pride, got in the way. Also working against the “gay gold rush” they perceived was the fact that society was changing despite their efforts. Thank God for both of these things.

Recognizing its own colossal failure and the ever-growing acceptance of LGBT people in society, the Christian right is in a race against the clock, fighting against its own irrelevancy.

Look at the lunacy pouring out of the Christian right. Don Wildmon claims to defend marriage, but endorses twice divorced, three times married Newt Gingrich for president. Mat Staver and Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel are out there invoking Jerry Sandusky to support the medieval notion that you can “pray the gay away.”

And, of course, Bryan Fischer is like a drunken uncle at a wedding who must continually be outrageous in hopes that someone will pay attention.

Why is this happening? Because the Christian right doubled down on gay discrimination and lost.

Generations of new Americans are growing up in a nation in which their aunt or uncle is gay or their best friend has gay parents. The issue of homosexuality, thus, is no longer a Biblical billy-club detached from the human concept.

Moreover, scores of Christians from across the nation are tired of this small, but albeit loud, minority defining their faith for them in the public square. This is why the Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project has the potential to be the final nail in the Christian Right’s coffin.

In order for the Christian Right to survive, it has to have a monopoly on morality. The debate has to be one of “us v. them.” This is how culture wars work.

NALT, however, will be a devastating blow the Christian Right. Frankly, all the videos pouring into NALT re-affirm one basic fact –- the Christian Right no longer can claim to have a monopoly on morality.

If you can be a strong Christian and still affirm the human dignity of gay folks, what relevance is there for groups like AFA? If gays are no longer the boogeyman, why should supporters send checks to fight what they no longer fear?

The answer is that they won’t and I welcome my former colleagues to a Waterloo of their own making. More importantly, I encourage others like me, LGBT and LGBT-affirming Christians from both sides of the political divide, to stand with me and speak in love by contributing videos to the NALT Christians Project. This project isn’t about “us vs. them.” This is about whether Christianity will be a force of division and hatred, or whether the voices of love, acceptance and inclusion will prevail.

Join me in making sure it’s the latter.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Platform Launched for Christians to Speak out in Favor of LGBT Equality

MEDIA ADVISORY - September 4, 2013

Affirming Christians Directly Challenge the False Idea That all Christians are Anti-Gay, by Proclaiming That we are ‘Not All Like That’

The NALT Christians Project ( was launched today, giving Christians everywhere an opportunity to rise up and proclaim their unconditional love and support for their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and family members. This new movement, inspired by Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, encourages LGBT-affirming Christians to upload videos that unapologetically express their full acceptance of LGBT people.

This project was created by Christian author John Shore and Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that counters religious extremism. It will be an online platform that directly challenges the idea that anti-gay Christians represent all or even most of the Christian faithful. The project kicks-off with a promotional video from author and advocate Dan Savage.

Co-sponsors of the project include: Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Auburn Theological Seminary, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, The Evangelical Network, Faith in America, GLAD Alliance, Many Voices, Methodists in New Directions, and Reconciling Ministries Network.

“We are playing a symphony inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment that all of his followers love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” said NALT co-founder John Shore. “If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project.”

“The NALT Christians Project aims to inspire Christian LGBT allies to move their support from the shadows into the public square,” said Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director. “Through their NALT videos, Christians will put their values into action, and lead the clarion, Bible-based call for freedom and justice for all people.”

This project will also send a powerful message of encouragement to LGBT youth who are growing up in unsupportive environments.

“This project is designed to reach people like myself when I was sixteen and growing up in a conservative religious community,” said NALT Christians Project co-founder and Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “I wish I had known about the millions of loving Christians who take Jesus’ teachings seriously, and if this project can help keep LGBT youth from the spiritual turmoil of being convinced they are hell-bound simply for being who they are, then we’ve done our jobs.”

Frequently, well-intentioned progressive Christians approach LGBT people to say high-profile fundamentalist Christians who dominate the airwaves do not speak for them, because they believe in equality for their LGBT brothers and sisters. Dan Savage has dubbed these folks “NALT Christians,” because they often say that they are “not all like that,” meaning they are not anti-gay. Savage and others began telling these well meaning folks, “Don’t tell us you’re not all like that. Tell the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown. Tell the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins you’re not all like that. Tell the media. Tell your friends in church. Go online and tell the world.” The NALT Christians Project is the embodiment of this critically important idea.

If your organization is interested in co-sponsoring The NALT Christians Project, please contact John Shore,