In an interesting and revealing case, a group called Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) wants a U.S. federal court to tell Pastor Scott Lively, a Christian pastor, author and speaker to Shut up! “SMUG unequivocally seeks a speech-chilling injunction against anything Lively might say which SMUG finds offensive, to hold over Lively like a club,” says a new filing in the case SMUG brought against Lively in U.S. court.
SMUG filed a case four years ago under the U.S. Alien Torts Act alleging it has a right to use American courts to stifle the traditional family and Christian messages of Lively.
According to Liberty Counsel, which is defending Lively, SMUG is unable to produce any evidence that Lively has violated any law in Uganda or the United States. SMUG has failed to “(A) identify any specific actions of Defendant Scott Lively (‘Lively’) in the U.S. that had a direct causal link to any alleged injury suffered by SMUG in Uganda; and (B) identify any specific injunctive relief that this court could even consider that would not violate the First Amendment.”
“Although it is seemingly grasping at straws,” says Liberty Counsel’s filing, “SMUG still offers nothing.” SMUG has attempted to show evidence “to fit its sensational claim that Lively committed ‘crimes against humanity’ – akin to genocide and war crimes – by ‘conspiring’ to ‘persecute’ the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population in Uganda,” Liberty Counsel said.
SMUG has revealed its goal to intimidate Lively and any other American pastor who opposes SMUG’s agenda. For instance, SMUG requested that the court enjoin, or prohibit, Lively “from selling or giving away his books in Uganda,” and “to enjoin Lively from going to Uganda and 1) preaching…” 2) speaking to a group of high school students about what Lively perceives to be the many and serious health hazards of homosexual conduct,” 3) from training “lawyers on how to use the law to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage,” and 4) lobbying “the Ugandan Parliament not to legalize same-sex marriage.”
In other words, SMUG wants to shut him up.
“Even after 100 hours of depositions and 40,000 pages of documents, SMUG has no evidence whatsoever connecting Lively to any act of so-called ‘persecution,’” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “SMUG has always claimed it was not trying to hold Lively liable for his speaking and writing. Yet the more SMUG writes, the more obvious it becomes that SMUG wants to punish Lively for his beliefs. “This is clearly a vendetta against Lively for speaking about homosexuality and God’s design for the family in Uganda,” said Staver.
One of the offenses cited by SMUG against Lively was that he emailed a link to an article to some of his friends in Uganda. “If sending Internet links to others lends ‘practical assistance’ to ‘crimes against humanity,’ those words mean nothing,” the filing said.
Lively has actually urged treatment of LGBTI people with respect and dignity even while he spoke in favor of biblical sexual morality. But SMUG’s vendetta against Lively has gone so far as to accuse him of “crimes against humanity” for his biblical preaching in 2002 and 2009.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Alien Tort Statute cannot be used to sue U.S. citizens in alleging violation of international or foreign law. Yet that is exactly what SMUG is attempting to do. “Neither Ugandan nor U.S. law provide a cause of action for SMUG, so SMUG is trying to create new precedent to punish speech” by Americans, says Liberty Counsel.
“The implications of this suit are frightening because SMUG is trying to punish a U.S. citizen for constitutionally protected speech under some vague and undefined international law. From the beginning this case had no merit, but we have had to spend four years and countless hours defending an innocent pastor against a lawsuit designed only to intimidate. This case is a direct assault on the supremacy of the United States Constitution.”
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter…”
The Bible is a powerful bulwark against wickedness. Homosexual activists can’t stand it, and are surrounding the “legal house of Lot” demanding that they not be accused of wickedness in violating God’s law.