On Jan. 25 of this year the Russian State Duma, its highest legislative body, voted to prohibit homosexual advocacy to children, following the enactment of similar legislation in a number of Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk (the capital of Siberia). Go Ruskies!
I am personally very pleased to see this development, having called specifically for legislation of this sort in my speaking tour of the former Soviet Union in 2006 and 2007. During that tour, which began in the Russian eastern city of Blagoveschensk and ended in St. Petersburg, I lectured in a variety of venues including numerous universities, churches and conference halls, and met with numerous government leaders at various levels of influence. The entire tour spanned approximately 50 cities in seven countries: Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus (we also passed through Kazakhstan but didn't speak there).
Toward the end of the tour I published, from St. Petersburg, "A Letter to the Russian People" (see below), which summarized my central message I had shared in well over 300 lectures, sermons and media interviews during the prior year.
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My pro-family message was warmly welcomed by the people of each of these countries, and to varying degrees the homosexual agenda has been slowed in all of them. To my knowledge the only two Eastern European countries to pass pro-family legislation designed to curtail the spread of homosexuality are Russia and Lithuania, which are coincidentally, the only two countries to whose people I wrote an open letter. My Lithuanian letter can be viewed online at www.defendthefamily.com.
My purpose in writing this column is to contrast the positive developments in the former Soviet Union with recent anti-family developments in the West and to offer a better way forward. Victory is still theoretically possible for the pro-family movement in the West if we are willing to pay the price.
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On Feb. 1 of this year I was in tiny Eynsham, England, meeting with a small group of pro-family leaders representing tendrils of our movement in England, Scotland and Wales. The original purpose of my visit to that country was to debate same-sex "parenting" at Oxford University. That event fell through for me due to some serious bungling of my invitation details (which I now suspect was deliberate), but not before I had booked non-changeable travel plans. God redeemed the entire mess by bringing this amazing little group together on very short notice and uniting several of us on a task that promises the potential of great fruit. More on that in future.
As we were meeting, the main news of the week in all of the headlines was the pending vote on "gay marriage" in the British House of Commons. Across the channel, the very same scenario was playing out in France. And across the pond, the very last non-religious institution to publicly reject homosexuality in this country, the Boy Scouts of America, was about to vote on allowing homosexuals into membership and leadership. By the end of the week both Britain and France had fallen to the "gays" by sizable margins, and the Boy Scouts had postponed their decision (a hopeful outcome but far from a true pro-family victory).
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To my mind, the events of the week were merely confirmation of the spiritual nature of the global "culture war" and further evidence of the biblical end times. I'm personally persuaded (though I could be wrong) that we have reached the age of apostasy warned about in Scripture and that events are rushing toward the grand conclusion detailed in prophecy. However, this end-times perspective, which is increasingly popular in the United States, is not as widely shared by Christians in the U.K. My analysis was politely challenged by several of the attendees of our meeting whose theological and practical premise is that it is still possible to win this culture war and defeat the "gay" agenda, returning the society to some form of family-centered cultural consensus.
"There is a way to win this war," I conceded, but it so extraordinarily difficult that I don't believe our people can bring themselves to do it. We need to completely reject the humanistic presuppositions of the debate on homosexuality as they now exist and get re-grounded in the presuppositions of the Bible. In short we cannot possibly create or even preserve public policy that implicitly or explicitly disapproves of homosexuality while conceding the anti-biblical premise that discrimination against homosexuals is morally and legally wrong. We must be able – and willing – to build all of our arguments on the premise that homosexuality itself is wrong and therefore homosexual "marriage," "parenting," etc., are wrong.
The most important thing I have learned in my long career fighting for biblical values is that worldview dictates policy.
In late February of 2011, I made a short-term mission trip to Moldova. The purpose of the trip was to hold a seminar for the leaders and key activists of that country's fledgling pro-family movement. However, providentially, the day before my arrival the government launched a semi-secret campaign to pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" (at the behest of the European Union). Instead of holding a seminar, my hosts and I organized an emergency national campaign to kill that bill, which we did in a matter of days. The argument I drafted for this campaign cuts right to the bottom line of the culture war: "An anti-discrimination law based upon sexual orientation is the seed that contains the entire tree of the homosexual agenda with all of its poisonous fruit." This is the simplest and most straightforward explanation of how the other side has won and we have lost all the battles of the culture war for the past half century. If you allow that seed to be planted, and fail to target your efforts at uprooting it, you will lose every subsequent conflict over time. It is a logical necessity.
In 2012 I took that theme to Springfield, Mo., where the city council had announced plans to adopt a similar anti-discrimination law. We called this proposal a "Gay Fascism Bill," to highlight its ultimate goal, to suppress all pro-family opposition to homosexuality and to punish dissenters. Once again, by educating people about the fascist nature of the anti-discrimination laws and using the simple one-sentence argument highlighted above, we rallied a large number of opponents and killed the bill (at least for now).
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The key to pro-family victory is preventing any more "Gay Fascism Bills" from being adopted, and uprooting the seeds that have already been planted, all toward the openly declared goal of discouraging all sex outside of marriage for the health of our society. Anything less is futile, except to slow the process of homosexual control. It can be done if we have the will and are willing to pay the price. I stand ready to assist any group of pro-family advocates willing to try.
Letter to the Russian People
I am Dr. Scott Lively, president of Defend the Family International, a human-rights organization based near Los Angeles, Calif. I hold a Juris Doctor of Law from Trinity Law School, a Doctor of Theology from the School of Bible Theology (both of which schools are in California), and a certificate in human rights from the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. I am the author of the Riga Declaration on Religious Freedom, Family Values and Human Rights, and several books, including "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party," which is currently being translated into Russian for publication in 2008.
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I have just completed a speaking tour through your beautiful country and have come to love your culture and your people. I had the privilege of visiting numerous Russian cities, from Vladivistok and Blagoveschensk in the Far East, to several cities in Siberia, and St. Petersburg in the West. I've been impressed by how much Russians are like Americans in many ways: both are intelligent, resourceful, competitive and entrepreneurial. These similarities are both good and bad. They are good in that our nations have a foundation for friendship, but they are bad in that they make Russia vulnerable to the same destructive forces that have harmed America.
The purpose of my visit was to bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage to my country and which has now taken root in Russia. This is a very fast-growing social cancer that will destroy the family foundations of your society if you do not take immediate, effective action to stop it.
Homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses. This combination of factors causes homosexuals to have an intense loyalty to each other and a common goal to change any society in which they live in organized "gay and lesbian" communities. They have no acceptance in a society that restricts sex to heterosexual marriage, so they work to eliminate sexual morality and remove all limitations on sexual conduct. Importantly, their initial strategy is not promote homosexuality, but to spread sexual immorality among heterosexuals, especially the young people. Only later, when the culture has become sexually corrupt, do they openly step forward to take power as the natural leaders of such a society.
The process of change always begins with the institutions which shape the thinking and behavior of young people. First comes the promotion of sexual promiscuity through mass media, then the introduction of high-profile "gay" celebrities such as Elton John and George Michael, then the development of "gay" political cells in the universities. Later comes the advocacy of "gay rights" by politicians and community leaders.
It is no accident that Hollywood promotes sexual immorality. The American entertainment media is heavily influenced, in some cases controlled, by professional homosexual activists who use television, movies and music as a tool of social engineering. Russian youths are being shaped in this way, just as American youths were, beginning in the late 1950s. However, the now wealthy and powerful global homosexual movement has perfected its tactics and can transform a society very rapidly.
Some Russian universities, especially in the larger cities, now have "gay and lesbian" clubs. Remember that their focus is always on the young people. The homosexuals know they can't change the values of the older people, but that young people, especially those who are sexually active or cohabiting, are easily persuaded to accept homosexuality as just another lifestyle. In fact, many young people become active defenders of homosexuality, because the "gay" movement portrays all homosexuals as helpless victims of societies who "just want to be left alone to love whom they please." The universities serve as recruitment centers for both homosexuals and their heterosexual allies and protectors.
The homosexual movement tries to win public sympathy by claiming that homosexuals are "born that way" and cannot change. This is not true. There is a large association of doctors and therapists in the United States who help homosexuals to recover (see www.narth.com) and many thousands of former homosexuals who now live normal lives. But unfortunately, there is an even larger network of homosexual activists and their allies (backed by the full power of the European Union, some U.S. agencies and institutions, and numerous international NGOs), who insist that homosexuality is unchangeable and must be protected by government. Their goal is to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals, which then serves as a legal foundation for the rest of their agenda: publicly funded and protected "gay pride" parades in every city, homosexual marriage or its equivalent, promotion of homosexuality to schoolchildren, full acceptance of homosexuality in every part of society, and punishment of people who disagree.
Unfortunately, many Russians believe this could never happen in their country. That's what we believed in the United States. But the change has already begun in Russia. Just talk to the university students in the major cities, or search on the Internet for "gay" activities in your own city. There was a "gay pride" parade this August in Omsk, the Novosibirsk newspapers are now printing "gay" dating ads, there are at least three "gay" Internet sites for teenagers in Krosnoyarsk, and Saint Petersburg already has a population of homosexual men who meet for sex in certain public parks. These examples may seem like a small threat considering the strong opposition to homosexuality in most of Russian society, but I beg you not to ignore these warning signs. They are like the smoke from a forest fire. If you wait until you can see the flames from your own house it will be too late.
What can be done to protect Russia from the "gay" movement?
First, begin an immediate campaign in every city to promote marriage and family values, and to discourage sexual promiscuity and cohabitation. Young people at every grade level should receive age-appropriate instruction on why sexual morality and family values are important to their future, and older students should learn how to prepare to be a good husband or wife. Every city should offer marriage seminars and counseling to help strengthen existing families. Cities should celebrate family life and offer many pro-family programs and activities.
Second, begin training doctors, psychologists and therapists in the techniques of helping homosexuals to recover, and offer this therapy as a public service. Promote recovery for homosexuals in public advertising and reach out to young people who may suffer from same-sex attraction. Catch it early and spare these youths a lifetime of pain and suffering. Importantly, if Russian authorities publicly promote recovery for homosexuals, the "gays" will not be able to deceive the public with their "born the way" propaganda.
Third, criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don't want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage "gay pride" parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.
Fourth, develop family-friendly media alternatives to the immoral products now being imported from the U.S. and Europe. Russian society is rich with talented people. Russian media companies should become competitors for the hearts and minds of the young people, and even set the example for how to produce good quality entertainment that uplifts, not degrades, the human spirit.
It is no secret that the Russian Federation is in competition with the nations of the West, but there is one area in which Russia could quickly take global leadership: family values. While the United States and Europe continue to alienate their family-oriented citizens by following the destructive path of "sexual freedom," Russia could become a model pro-family society. If this were to occur, I believe people from the West would begin to emigrate to Russia in the same way that Russians used to emigrate to the United States and Europe. Russia might even win back the sympathies of its former states, such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, which are now chafing under the pro-homosexual demands of the European Union.
In conclusion, all successful civilizations rest on the foundation of the natural family: men and women united in marriage, devoted to bearing and raising morally healthy children who will replace them in the next generation. This foundation will always be strong in nations which discourage sexual conduct outside of marriage. But wherever the "gay: philosophy of unlimited sexual freedom is accepted, the family structure disintegrates. The Russian people have an important choice before them: to promote marriage and family values, leading to social health or to allow the spread of sexual immorality, leading to social disorder. I pray you will choose the family.