Federal Judge Dismisses Scott Lively Suit

Attorneys for Scott Lively announced that a federal judge in Massachusetts, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor, dismissed SMUG’s lawsuit against Scott Lively.  We reported on this lawsuit last November. 

The court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute, a decision that should have been made, argue Lively’s lawyers, four years ago, based upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 opinion in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.  Yet Lively was forced to endure the litigation for four more years and incur thousands of hours in legal fees.  As we noted, in civil litigation the process is the punishment; even if an unsympathetic judge eventually makes the correct decision, he can still force a civil litigant to put up with years of legal expenses, distraction, intrusion, and wasted time.

Although the judge dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, he agreed with SMUG, the Soros-funded homosexual activist plaintiffs, that Lively’s Ugandan seminars condemning homosexual activism and urging that Uganda maintain the illegal status of homosexual acts in that country constituted “aiding a crime against humanity.”

Yet, under the U.S. Constitution, speech is protected, religious beliefs are protected, and lobbying government to pass or repeal laws is protected, so what Lively did is perfectly lawful.  He did not cause homosexual acts to become illegal in Uganda; homosexuality has been illegal there for decades.  In fact, Lively even argued for the softening of the proposed legislation: The measure against homosexuality introduced into the Ugandan parliament had included the death penalty, but Lively opposed that.  The death penalty was removed from the measure before it became law. 

Homosexual acts were criminal in many American states for many years, and their criminality was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. It was only in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas that the Court struck down all remaining state criminal statutes against homosexual acts.  So according to Judge Ponsor, advocating in a foreign country for a legal regime that existed in America as recently as fourteen years ago is “a crime against humanity.”  We should marvel at how quickly and completely the libertine Left won the culture wars, how thoroughly entrenched Neo-pagan sexual mores already are in America, and how utterly the Religious Right—long the bugaboo of Adventist religious liberty “experts”—was routed, and how toothless it now is.

The loss of the culture wars has consequences for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, even though we chose to sit them out.  We have already seen a part-time Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Dr. Eric Walsh, hounded from his public health position by homosexual activists because of sermons delivered in an Adventist Church.  We will be expected to conform, and it will become increasingly difficult to avoid persecution if we maintain our biblical standards.  External pressure will work in concert with internal activism. The Adventist Left, as represented by Spectrum, AToday, and many of our Adventist tertiary education faculty, already ceaselessly agitates for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Church, just as it has been normalized in the larger culture.