The First Amendment gives every American the rights to the freedom of religion and speech. Lately we’ve been seeing those rights being taken from us on an alarming basis. Christians here in America are being persecuted for standing up for what the Bible says about homosexuality and other issues. Instead of sinners repenting, they have been taking Christians to the courts and filing lawsuits to gag them.
One ongoing lawsuit could strip all Americans, especially Christians, from any First Amendment rights to religion or free speech. The case involves Pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries. His alleged crime is speaking out publicly against homosexuality.
Who filed the charges against him and the process involved will shock you. The charges were filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who claim that Lively’s speech condemning homosexuality is a crime against humanity and a violation of international law. They claim that the Alien Tort Statute in the US gives them the right to file the case and that their charge supersedes the US Constitution and the First Amendment.
The group charges that Lively considers himself an expert on the gay movement and that by speaking out against homosexuality he is deriving the group from their fundamental rights.
US District Judge Michael Posner reviewed the lawsuit and used 80 pages to say the case has merit and should move forward. Among Posner’s pro-gay comments contained in his ruling, he wrote:
“…many authorities [who] implicitly support the principle that widespread, systematic persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes a crime against humanity.”
“Indeed, defendant, according to the amended complaint, is alleged to have maintained what amounts to a kind of ‘Homophobia Central’ in Springfield. He has allegedly supported and actively participated in worldwide initiatives, with a substantial focus on Uganda, aimed at repressing free expression by LGBTI groups, destroying the organizations that support them, intimidating LGBTI individuals, and even criminalizing the very status of being lesbian or gay.”
Horatio Mihet, Senior Litigation Counselor with Liberty Counsel is representing Lively and says that his client is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution which is higher than international law. In his brief filed with the court, Mihet wrote:
“SMUG asks this United States court to punish one of its citizens, Mr. Lively, for ‘crimes against humanity’ under an international treaty that the United States has expressly rejected.”
“Moreover, what SMUG cavalierly and conclusorily labels as ‘crimes against humanity’ – the most heinous of crimes – is actually nothing more than civil, non-violent political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern, which occupies the highest rung of First Amendment protection.”
Commenting about the case, Mihet stated:
“We believe SMUG’s claims are firmly foreclosed, not only by the First Amendment right to free speech, but also by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kiobel, which eliminated Alien Tort Statute claims for events that allegedly occurred in foreign nations.”
Matt Staver, Founder and President of Liberty Counsel added:
“[The Alien Tort Statute] is not a blanket delegation of lawmaking to the democratically unaccountable international community. Like all American citizens, Rev. Lively enjoys a fundamental First Amendment right to engage in nonviolent political discourses anywhere in the world.”
“SMUG also does not tell the court that David Kato – the murdered Ugandan activist whom SMUG makes the centerpiece of this lawsuit – was killed not by an enraged homophobe incited by Mr. Lively’s protected speech, but by a homosexual prostitute upset over a failed business transaction.”
“Neither does SMUG tell the court that the confessed perpetrator of this horrible crime was tried and convicted in Ugandan courts, and is now serving a 30-year prison sentence.”
“[SMUG] does not tell the court that, far from inciting violence, Mr. Lively has consistently condemned acts of violence and calls to violence in the strongest possible terms, and has praised the Ugandan courts for imparting justice.”
Mihet points out that SMUG allows anyone to say anything against homosexuality, but if those comments lead anyone into any form of action, then that constitutes a crime. Mihet continues saying that under that precedent, anyone who worked to support California’s Proposition 8 or any other petition or piece of legislation that goes against granting special privileges to homosexuals would be deemed an international human rights crime. Anyone involved in defeating ENDA in Congress that provides distinctive protection to homosexuals would also be guilty.
What makes this case so vitally important to every Christian in the United States is that one judge has opened the door for international law to override the US Constitution in such a way that anyone preaching the Bible could be charged and taken to court. If any of my many articles that quote the passages in Leviticus that condemn homosexuality as an abomination to God or the warnings of judgment against homosexuality in Romans 1 cause someone to act against homosexuality, I could face charges for international crimes against humanity. Any pastor who stands in the pulpit on Sunday and preaches the Bible could face charges if one of his parishioners were to get involved in protecting the sanctity of marriage.
We wouldn’t be charged with any crime here in the US but we would be charged for violating supposed international human rights laws. This abolishes the sovereignty of the United States, dashes the Constitution to the ground and takes a giant leap toward a one-world government. Yes my friends, there is a great deal riding on this case and Pastor Lively and the good folks at Liberty Counsel need our support and our prayers.