Pam Spaulding

Ken Hutcherson, Latvian fundies to work on anti-gay strategy at WA conference

Filed By Pam Spaulding | October 13, 2007 10:38 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Antioch Bible Church, BushCo, family values, fundamentalists, homophobic behavior, Ken Hutcherson, Latvia, religion, White House

Hutcherson photo art via Mike Tidmus.

David Neiwert at Orcinus has an update on the activities of the Seattle-area's answer to Fred Phelps, Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church.

You might recall that back in March, Pastor Hutch made headlines because of his claim that the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives named him "Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief," and he represented himself as such in Latvia. The White House denied this, and Hutch threatened to prove his status by producing video of him being given the "power." (He has yet to produce his evidence.)

Orcinus points to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Casey Sanchez that Latvian-based fundamentalist extremists are fomenting anti-gay thuggery on the West Coast, specifically among Russian and Ukrainian immigrants in the Sacramento Valley. The group calls itself the Watchmen on the Walls.

In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has "made an injection" of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. "In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin," Kusakin said.

Read about some of the people befriending Hutcherson who plan to gather at the Lynnwood Convention Center in Washington after the jump.

One of the characters sucking up to Hutcherson is Latvian megachurch preacher Alexey Ledyaev, who was at the Seattle homobigot's side at the 2006 conference of the Watchmen on the Walls, along with Scott Lively, former director of the California tentacle of the American Family Association and the anti-gay Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA).

Lively identifies "the enemy" as not only homosexuals, but also what he terms "homosexualists," a category that includes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who "actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy."

...During the past year, the Watchmen have met twice in the United States, first in Sacramento, then in Bellevue, Wash. They gathered to strategize against same-sex marriage and build a political organization to fight "gay-straight alliances" in public schools and push for the boycott of textbooks that mention homosexuality in any context other than total condemnation.

The group has also convened outside America. In the summer of 2006, the Watchmen and their supporters gathered in Riga, Latvia, to "protect the city from a homosexual invasion." Gay rights activists in Europe counter that it's gays who need protection from the Latvian capital, not the other way around.

...One of Ledyaev's nephews saw Hutcherson speak in Seattle at a March 2006 debate on gay rights and arranged a meeting with the Latvian pastor. By the end of the year, Hutcherson, Ledyaev and Lively had teamed up with Vlad Kusakin, the editor of The Speaker, to form an international alliance to oppose what Hutcherson characterizes as "the homosexual movement saying they're a minority and that they need their equal rights."

Did I mention that Ledyaev, a good friend of Crazy Pat Robertson, was also invited to the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast hosted by Dear Leader? And he has a flair for anti-gay theatrics:

At 56, Ledyaev is still youth-oriented enough to promote his vision of global theocracy through elaborate, large-scale Christian rock operas that Ledyaev writes, directs and stars in, and which are replete with lasers, smoke machines, and spandex-clad actors in ghoulish makeup. One of the rock operas, which young Russian-speaking anti-gay activists promote on video-sharing websites, features a hero character wearing a tuxedo battling men in black tights armed with tiki torches. Over heavy-metal guitar riffs, a military-like chorus sings of "victory over the gays."

OK. Is it me or do I sense a tad of homoeroticism there?

David Schmader at SLOG (which has action item info up), aptly notes this about the conference, which is slated for October 19-21 at the Lynnwood Convention Center:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but foreigners coming to America with the purpose of doing harm to Americans are traditionally called terrorists, and the Watchmen conference seems like the last thing the City of Lynnwood would want to align itself with.

Hat tip oddjob and Shakesville.


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bill perdue | October 14, 2007 5:01 AM

Sacramento has the dubious distinction of being home to thousands of rabidly homobigoted Slavic christians. (To be accurate, many Slavic immigrants will have nothing to do with the christian fanatics.)

They're a different breed from home grown bigots; their antecedents are the Black Hundreds, pre-Revolutionary Tsarist pogromists who pillaged Jewish towns and murdered their inhabitants. A generation later their chilrden welcomed the Nazi armies and volunteered as SS auxilliaries and death camp guards. And now their grandkids are here, harassing and battering our GLBT kids.

If you had to compare them to groups here it would have to be the Southern Baptist - Dixiecrat - KKK coalition in the 1930's and 40's.

The Slavic christians response to the Day of Silence was to ferry church led groups of adults and kids to public schools in Sacramento and Roseville. They taunted and physically attacked GLBT youth. It got so bad that enraged striaght American students came to our defense. I was in Roseville, a Sacramento suburb when this was happening and the fear and demoralization among GLBT youth was palpable, although they seemed to recover.

More recently Slavic christian thugs killed a man in a public park for dancing with another man. The murderers and the christian groups now claim now they're being discriminated against but both men were sheltered by the Slavic community and evaded police capture for months.

They'll kill again.

(If you want to follow the story search for the Sacramento Bee. Their letters column and blog will give you a good feel for the often tense confrontations in the region.)

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 14, 2007 6:57 AM

"Correct me if I’m wrong, but foreigners coming to America with the purpose of doing harm to Americans are traditionally called terrorists, and the Watchmen conference seems like the last thing the City of Lynnwood would want to align itself with."

Yeah, but these creeps are just attacking the gays which makes them not terrorists, but people expressing their belief in God.

Doesn't make any sense to me either.

Thanks, Pam. Excellent, enlightening story.

I live in Lynnwood, and am involved in community diversity work -- I was shocked to find out about this. I've written letters to the city, the Diversity Council, the Convention Center, and the PFD. Apparently the conv. cntr operates independently from the city. The mayor is not touching this with a 10' pole. The convention center is run by the Public Facilities Department. Here are the people to contact:

PFD, gdull@lynnwoodpfd.com

PFD Chair: 425-640-7631

Convention Center: etadlock@lynnwoodcc.com

They say their hands are tied behind "freedom of speech", but then they also say if it was the KKK, they wouldn't rent to that group. You can't have it both ways. A hate group is a hate group in my book, and this group is TRYING to set up shop on the West Coast.

I don't want a violent hateful group in my community, especially a group withe the agenda of purposefully making a stronghold here, connected with the likes of Ken Hutcherson. Please contact the PFD and the center.

I contacted the convention center and they are holding there conferences Friday 6pm to 9pm Saturday from 11am to 9:30pm and Sunday from 6pm to 9pm. We are protesting Friday at 5pm and Sunday at 5pm. I am not sure who is protesting Saturday. I will be wearing a Pink Triangle on my arm representing the hatred they say we as gay men and woman caused the holocaust.

Please join us in peace, unity and equality for all.

Matt

Thanks for organizing this information. I am watching glbt people getting murdered by murderers who are stealthy. In a current apparent murder suicide by a lesbian couple one of the women wrote for The Huffington Post and so it seems to me to be a murder because of a political affiliation and a hate crime.We will see what happens as this case unfolds here. There have been other murders of glbt people in my area in one year's time one right after the other and I find it hard to believe that 'johns' explain it all. So I have begun to research hate crimes and groups to find your site describing the Slavic connection to anti-gay rhetoric and organization in this country. Like a sucker punch. I am wondering is this group is active in South Florida which I strongly suspect. They have protested Disney gay days. This is a group to watch in South Florida I suspect.