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Judge accused of a ‘shameful diatribe’ against a US pastor

Judge accused of a ‘shameful diatribe’ against a US pastor

Scott Lively, above – a man who probably did more to stoke up hatred against gays in Uganda than any other foreign evangelist – is demanding that remarks made about him by a Federal judge be expunged from official records.

According to this report, Lively wants the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals to remove language used by Judge Michael Ponsor when he dismissing a suit brought against the pastor by the group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

The group had tried to sue Lively – co-author of the infamous The Pink Swastika – under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign nationals to sue US citizens in American courts. Ponsor threw out the suit, saying that the law does not cover alleged injuries committed outside the United States.

The group had accused Lively of waging a campaign to persecute LGBT people in their country. The pastor, who runs Springfield-based Abiding Truth Ministries, had frequently visited Uganda and had urged politicians to take the strongest possible measures against gays and lesbians. As a consequence the country passed a a draconian anti-LGBT law in 2014, an early draft of which called for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.

Reports at the time directly linked Lively with Uganda’s  proposed “Kill the Gays Bill”.

In his memorandum, Ponsor remained highly critical of Lively, even while agreeing with his argument that the suit should be thrown out. The judge said the pastor’s views on gay people ranged from “the ludicrous to the abhorrent”, and said that Lively was advancing “crackpot bigotry”.

Ponsor also wrote that Lively’s “actions in aiding and abetting efforts to demonise, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda” constituted violations of international law.

Ponsor, according to this report, wrote:

Defendant Scott Lively is an American citizen who has aided and abetted a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI persons in Uganda.

Lively’s crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause. The record in this case demonstrates that Defendant has worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by LGBTI people in Uganda, deprive them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.

The evidence, said Judge Ponsor:

Confirmed the nature of Defendant’s, on the one hand, vicious and, on the other hand, ludicrously extreme animus against LGBTI people and his determination to assist in persecuting them wherever they are, including Uganda. The evidence of record demonstrates that Defendant aided and abetted efforts (1) to restrict freedom of expression by members of the LBGTI community in Uganda, (2) to suppress their civil rights, and (3) to make the very existence of LGBTI people in Uganda a crime.

The Liberty Counsel – the right-wing Christian hate group responsible for sending Kim Davis to Romania to stoke up opposition to gay marriage – filed a brief Tuesday asking the appeals court to toss out Ponsor’s:

Unnecessary and prejudicial language.

Liberty Counsel Vice President Horatio Mihet said in a news release:

Today, we defend Pastor Scott Lively’s name in the Court of Appeals and work to remedy Judge Ponsor’s shameful diatribe against Lively’s Christian values and beliefs. Once Judge Ponsor concluded that he lacked jurisdiction over SMUG’s preposterous lawsuit, the only thing left to do was dismiss it. However, instead he chose to include an unnecessary tirade of words against the pastor.

According to Charisma News, due to the judge’s known support for the LGBT agenda:

He improperly littered his order with a prolonged tirade against Lively, badly distorting Lively’s Christian views and ministry and insulting him with such unbecoming epithets as ‘crackpot bigot’, ‘pathetic’, ‘ludicrous’, ‘abhorrent; and numerous others. Judge Ponsor also purported to conclude, without even a pretense of legal or factual analysis, that Lively’s Christian beliefs and pro-family ministry violated ‘international law’ and that Lively’s peaceful speaking on homosexuality in Uganda somehow ‘aided and abetted’ crimes supposedly committed by people Lively has never even spoken to or met.

Charisma News added:

Judge Ponsor should have dismissed the case in 2013, when asked to do so following the Supreme Court opinion. Instead, he forced Lively to needlessly endure four more years of intense litigation and discovery by the army of lawyers working for the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organisation that has received funding from George Soros.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said:

Judge Ponsor allowed his support for the LGBT agenda to enter an opinion and make prejudicial findings laced with defamatory statements that are both illegal and unbecoming. The statements are so far outside the norm that we filed an appeal of a favourable decision dismissing the case to ask that these prejudicial and unnecessary statements be stricken.

Judges may hold personal opinions like anyone else, but they should restrain themselves from lacing court rulings with them, especially when they admit they lack jurisdiction to hear the case. Judge Ponsor’s actions are clearly unlawful.

Lively’s activities in Russia have been linked with a rise in homophobia in that country. He takes credit for Russia’s current “gay propaganda” legislation which he calls:

One of the proudest achievements of my career.

7 responses to “Judge accused of a ‘shameful diatribe’ against a US pastor”

  1. 1859 says:

    ‘Ponsor threw out the suit, saying that the law does not cover alleged injuries committed in other countries’. OK, but this does NOT mean that injuries were NOT committed. When you spread bigotry anywhere against any minority, someone gets injured. When you spread prejudice, hate and intolerance, someone gets injured. If this Lively fuckwit had done this inside the borders of the USA, he would rightly be behind bars. Instead he chose to spread his homophobic,religious spite where the laws of his own country could not reach him – which in my mind makes him even more despicable.I feel Judge Ponsor did the right thing – knowing that legally he could do nothing to punish Lively, he chose instead to tell Lively exactly what he thought of his activities. His words should not be struck down because they tell the truth.

  2. RichaedW says:

    Whilst I agree with the judge’s views, I also think that they should not have been included in a judicial opinion.

    He has to decide whether the case can continue or whether it should be summarily dismissed. He took the latter course, rightly since the statute does not apply to wrongs committed outside the USA.

    BUT that’s it. Leave it there.

  3. barriejohn says:

    RichaedW: But judges often DO make their views known where a case has to be dismissed (at least in the UK).

  4. Broga says:

    Pastors are very sensitive people. It is acceptable for them to consign those who disagree with them to hell fire but they must not be criticised themselves.

  5. Lon says:

    Everyone understands that Christian views are intrinsically pathetic, ludicrous, and abhorrent.Lively should have taken the Judge’s comments as complimentary.

  6. Vanity Unfair says:

    To RichaedW, barriejohn:
    I have had to read a fair number of judgments from UK judges and can attest that they do, indeed, make their opinions known. However, I did notice that when they wanted to be insulting they tended to become more polite (sorry, no examples spring to mind) especially when dealing with government ministers. Judges are above politics, of course. The result is that by the end of the judgment the reader is in no doubt about the judge’s opinion of the person even though not a disparaging word has been spoken. Think of Mark Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech but with venom. “Brutus is an honourable man.” There’s nothing wrong with that.