Written by Student Rights on 18 January 2013 at 3pm

Scott Lively and the Oxford Union

Last night the Oxford Union hosted a debate entitled ‘This house would be glad to have gay parents’, which has been heavily criticised by both students and LGBT activists.

Already controversial after the British National Party leader Nick Griffin was invited to oppose the motion by a junior member who is now facing disciplinary action, the panel was due to include a deeply homophobic American preacher called Scott Lively.

Heavily involved in anti-gay rights campaigning in Africa, Lively addressed the Ugandan Parliament in 2011 as it considered a new law against homosexuality.

Whilst he later asserted that he felt the death penalty suggestions that have since emerged went too far, he still stated that he commended the government:

Uganda has been one of the few countries of the world that has firmly resisted the enormous power and relentless pressure of the international “gay” lobby, while other developing nations such as South Africa and Brazil have been systematically homosexualized”.

He also claimed of legal proposals that:

As one of the first laws of this century to recognize that the destructiveness of the “gay” agenda warrants opposition by government, it would deserve support from Christian believers and other advocates of marriage-based culture around the world”. 

Perhaps more disturbing though are Lively’s vile suggestions in his 1995 book ‘The Pink Swastika’ that rather than being one of the victims of the Nazis, homosexuals in fact played a key role in the Nazi regime.

In the book Lively wrote that “while we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism”.

In another publication he writes that he has uncovered “a dark and powerful homosexual presence in other historical periods: the Spanish Inquisition, the French “Reign of Terror,” the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery”.

In the US he has run failed campaigns to target homosexual teachers in Oregon, and was forced to pay damages of $20,000 dollars after he dragged a lesbian journalist through a Portland church by her hair.

This violent action should alone have been enough to have him refused access to a campus, as should his former role as the chief international envoy for the Watchmen movement, linked to attacks on LGBT activists in Latvia.

Unable to attend the event in the end due to “an administrative error”, Lively has now been scheduled to speak at a different debate in two weeks time.

Whilst issues should be debated, and this attempt to provide a balanced platform should be commended, the invitation of a hate speaker of Lively’s magnitude is simply unacceptable.

The endorsement of hate speech by giving it a platform does not enable the challenging of extreme views, but makes its victims feel unsafe and unwelcome.

Views like these have no place on British campuses, and the University should be investigating to uncover how Lively was approved to speak, or even invited, in the first place.