Persecutors of the Community

Alexey Ledyaev

Posted in Profiles of Hate by N. de Guerre on November 22, 2008

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Name:  Alexey Ledyaev (aka Aleksej Ledjajev, Aleksejs Ledjajevs)
Organization:  New Generation Church, First Party of Latvia (LPP), No Pride, Watchmen on the Walls
Title: Pastor, Musician
Location: Riga, Latvia
 

A Latvian of Russian-ethnic origin, Alexey Ledyaev, emigrated from his native Kazakhstan in 1985.  Since then, he has helped found and minister over the New Generation Church, a “Russian Baptist” (a Pentecostal sect not affiliated with the mainline Baptist church) megachurch with approximately 5,000, mostly Russian or Russian-speaking members, and which also has an American franchise in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Ledyaev, a self-proclaimed “activist for human rights”, is also active in the First Party of Latvia (LPP), a political party with a theocratic bent that represents Latvia’s Christian Right.
 
Taking cues from the anti-gay American Christian Right (and many times working in direct contact with), Ledyaev makes his base in Riga, Lativa, working to tear down the wall between Church and State while demonizing lesbians and gays with his unofficial offshoot, “No Pride”.  “No Pride’s” logo mirrors the obscene anti-gay imagery of Fred Phelps “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church and is plastered onto the t-shirts and signs of Ledyaev’s supporters and collaborators.  For his so-called human rights work, Ledyaev has been called “one of the major forces behind gay-bashing in Latvia.”

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When the LGBT community of Riga held their first Pride Parade in 2006, Ledyaev’s followers, in association with neo-nazi skinheads and members of the Latvian National Front, held a massive counter-demonstration that escalated into a vicious display of anti-gay hatred and violence, including pelting LGBT Christians and their “homosexualist” supporters with eggs and bags of feces as they left a local church.   

“When the service concluded, the priests asked the congregation to exit the church to avoid a group of men who had been spotted gathered angrily in the front of the church. Half of us had exited when a group of around ten to twelve men swung from the front entrance to the back and began to verbally insult the churchgoers. Shortly thereafter, one individual reached into his shoulder bag and threw a small plastic bag at the priest. The priest dodged the missile and the stench emanating from the bag as it hit the ground made it evident that it was full of shit. Soon, other assailants were laughing, yelling, and throwing eggs and shit at the members of the church gathering.”
 
“According to the organizers of the gay pride day in Riga on July 22, members of New Generation’s congregation met them outside the Anglican Church after a service held by the openly gay priest, Maris Sants, where they proceeded to throw excrement at parishioners. “People in my group recognized them,” Juris Calvitis, the Anglican minister who oversaw the service, says.”

ledyaev-no-prideAttacks against lesbians and gays continued along the parade route and into a local hotel that had hosted the event’s sponsors while the local police looked on.  A year and a half after the event, a member of the New Generation Church and a member of the LPP were sentenced to 100 hours of community service for their involvement in “hooliganism” against the civil rights marchers, as Ledyaev and 20 of his supporters stood in the court for support.

Unlike many “Talibangelists” in the United States, Ledyaev does not mince words in his hopes for a theocratic state in Latvia and, presumably, America.

These quotes are taken directly from his website:

“If rulers separate church and state and declare war against church – they are doomed to defeat.riga211

For our mind it’s so natural and traditional to take in the concepts like “Islamic State”, “Islamic government.”

But as soon as the conversation turns to “Christian state” and “Christian government” all the world is put in motion. 

Somebody has separated church and state to unimpededly (sic) demonize and control the rulers. Somebody has criminally agreed with that, but somebody is earnestly protesting, proclaiming from the high housetops, that in the last days God will return church to state as the sole solution for all problems.

Church will be able to destroy the works of the devil on the governmental level, to clear the government from magic and witchcraft, and to proclaim the just principles of the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ in the country.

And if there are Christian principles in the basis of the ideology, it means that such concepts as ‘Christian country’ and ‘Christian government’ will become a real experience and will easily be taken not only in human mind, but also in the Chronicle of the Last Revival.”

And what would be the role of the LGBT community in this “Christian country” with a “Christian government”, you might ask?

“Homosexuality is a…dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community.

Homosexualism is a global problem and it is only the first wave. After that comes Islamization. If we won’t stop the first wave, then the second wave won’t wait for long.

In the name of Jesus I curse this phenomenon! I curse the root of this movement!

Let a stone, without the assistance of a hand, come off the rock and hit this homosexual idol right on its legs! Let this idol come down to ashes!

You, the Pharaoh of homosexualism – we will not give a hoof, a rusted nail to you!”

To the recent dismay of many LGBT Americans who now find themselves under siege by anti-gay counterdemonstrators at recent Pride Parade events, Mr. Ledyaev and his associates have now exported excrement to America’s shores.

Along with notorious Holocaust Revisionist and professional queerbasher Scott Lively and his partner-in-crime Ken Hutcherson, Ledyaev has partnered with right-wing Russophones and dominionists in the United States to create what The Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an extremist group called Watchmen on the Walls.

The Watchmen on the Walls is made up of some of the most far right, anti-gay elements on American and International soil, including:

Vlad Kusakin (US; the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle)
Scott Lively (US; Christian Reconstructionist and Holocaust Revisionist author)
Alexey Ledyaev (Latvia)
Wade Kusak (US; anti-gay host of a Russian-language radio show in Sacramento, California)
Chalcedon Foundation (Christian Reconstructionist organization)
Rev. Ken Hutcherson (US; active in Redmond, Washington and nationally)
Vadim Privedenyuk (US; runs an anti-gay church in Springfield, Mass)

Once considered a longtime safe haven for lesbians and gays, the influence of the extremist “Russian Baptists”/Pentacostals in mobilizing thousands of anti-gay supporters at LGBT events in Sacramento has turned this once tolerant city into a community gripped with terror.  The level of viciousness emanating from the recently arrived Russian-speaking  community has made many lesbians and gays in Sacramento fear for their lives.  And with good cause.

According to the SPLC:

On the first day of July (2007), Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless – two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.145584_071207_1

According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them “7-Eleven workers” and “Sodomites.” The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a “good church” like theirs. According to Singh’s friends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used their cell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh’s party, which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried to leave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.

The pregnant woman said she didn’t want to fight them.

“We don’t want to fight you either,” one of them replied in English. “We just want your faggot friend.”

andrey_vusik_sacsheriff_com1One of the Slavic men then sucker-punched Singh in the head. He fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. The assailants drove off in a green sedan and red sports car, hurling bottles at Singh’s friends to prevent them from jotting down the license plate. Singh suffered a brain hemorrhage. By the next day, hospital tests confirmed that he was clinically brain dead. His family agreed to remove him from artificial life support July 5.aleksandr_shevchenko_sacsheriff_com1

In August of Sacramento authorities charged Andrey Vusik, 29, with involuntary manslaughter as a hate crime in Singh’s death.  Vusik has since fled to Russia and is being sought by the FBI.  A second suspect, Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21, was arrested at his home and charged with intimidation and interfering with a victim’s rights, also as a hate crime.

Ledyaev, and other members of the Watchmen, have refused to condemn the hate crime killing of Satender Singh.  As of November 2008, Ledyaev continues to enter the country freely and recently bragged that he toured four states in 30 days, delivering 30 sermons in support of banning same-sex marriage and tearing down the wall of separation between Church and State.

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Lou Engle

Posted in Profiles of Hate by N. de Guerre on November 18, 2008

Name: Lou Engle
Organization(s): Justice House of Prayer, The Call
Title: Co-Founder, preacher
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Lou Engle is a charismatic Evangelical who belongs to the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement and whose religious philosophy has been linked to Dominionism.  Despite claiming on his website that “we deny the Church will take over all the governments of the Earth before the return of Christ,” various statements he has made in the past demonstrate that he does not renounce dominionism and believes that the United States should be a theocracy.  Sponsorship of “The Call” event in San Diego, which rallied against same-sex marriage, was in large part funded by Howard Ahmanson, a wealthy Reconstructionist/Dominionist. 

Dominionists believe society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law.  For lesbians and gays, this means State-sponsored stoning executions of suspected and confirmed homosexuals.

Engle, along with Bob Jones and Paul Cain, is one of the leaders associated with the Kansas City Prophets, a group that has been long suspected of being a cult.  Bob Jones, whom Engle is oft to quote, was removed from his leadership position in the Vineyard Anaheim church because of sexual improprieties, which consisted of encouraging women to undress in his office so they could stand “naked before the Lord” in order to receive a “word.”  Cain was exposed after movement leaders determined he had engaged in a pattern of “unbiblical behavior” that included heavy drinking and homosexuality.

Engle founded a Christian revivalist organization called The Call in 2000 that organizes mass rallies of young Evangelicals to publicly fast and pray, often against abortion and gay rights.  In November 2008, a Call rally was held in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium to oppose same-sex marriage.  During the course of the rally, Engle (who often goes into hysterics while preaching) called for spiritual warfare, a “cleansing” of San Francisco – presumably against homosexuality/tolerance of gays – and for young people to be martyrs for a Christian take-over of government.

Engle is also the founder of “Justice House of Prayer” (JHOP), an offshoot of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), located in Kansas City, and founded by his co-religionist Mike Bickle.  JHOP has franchises in San Francisco, Washington DC, San Diego, Boston, and New York City. 

Among the “mandates” against abortion and a support of Israel (Christian Zionism), JHOP’s mandate against homosexuality claims to “deliver and redeem” the “homosexual community”, which “raises itself up against the knowledge of God and seeks to destroy the identity of our generation.”  JHOP’s seeks to “convert” lesbians and gays to heterosexuality and text-proofs Luke 7:47, which viewed in its entirety (Luke 7:40-50) is about the equality of forgiveness through faith, and not at all about “redeeming” or condemning homosexuality.

Believing lesbians and gays can be cured through prayer (and if that doesn’t work, keeping in mind the dominionist undercurrent running through JHOP, through stoning), JHOP’s San Francisco franchise rallies weekly in the heart of San Francisco’s gay community.  JHOP San Francisco is led by Lou’s son, Jesse Engle. 

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For the most part, they have been ignored.  However, with the passage of Proposition 8, JHOP received a less-than-welcome reception when they attempted to antagonize lesbians and gays on the night of Friday, November 14th 2008.  In what can only be called a spontaneous uprising against homophobia, angry Castro residents and visitors chased the group out of the community while the SFPD were called in to “protect” the proselytizers.

Afterwards, members of JHOP, claimed they were sexually assaulted and threatened, although no evidence has come forth to support such claims.  It would be fair to assume that such charges were made up to defame the lesbian and gay community while currying sympathy for those who purposely came into the Castro to gloat over the passage of Prop 8 and antagonize the victims of hate.

Right-Wing Watch has a collection of articles on Lou Engle that are well-worth checking out.  Some excerpts are below:

Engle is an unabashed “dominionist” – someone who thinks the church, under the leadership of modern-day apostles like him, should rule over government and other institutions of society.  He thinks of himself as a John the Baptist who badgers Christian teens to adopt a radical lifestyle of fasting and prayer that will bring God’s intercession against gays, liberal judges, and the like.

“It just tells about the significance of the moment and the real need to pray,” Engle, whose ministry is based in Kansas City, said in an interview Wednesday. “I spoke recently with a man from a Muslim country, who said to me, ‘Lou, we’re praying for you all over the world, for what you’re doing, because if same-sex marriage stands in California, it will sweep all over the world.’

It turns out that The Call and its founder Lou Engle are closely aligned with a militant Christian dominionist movement called “Joel’s Army” run by self-proclaimed prophet and faith-healer Todd Bentley.

Lou Engle is married to wife, Therese, and have five sons and two daughters.

Frank Schubert

Posted in Profiles of Hate by N. de Guerre on November 18, 2008

Name: Frank Shubert
Organization: Schubert Flint Public Affairs, Yes on 8, ProtectMarriage.com
Title: Campaign Manager, co-Chairman
Location: Sacramento, CA

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Frank Schubert is president of Schubert Flint Public Affairs and was the campaign co-manager for California’s Proposition 8, a voter approved initiative aimed at banning same-sex marriages in the State of California by amending the state’s constitution to declare marriage between a man and woman only.

According to his company’s website, “Mr. Schubert lives in Lincoln, California with his wife and three children.  He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Political Consultants and WIND Youth Services, Inc., a nonprofit group assisting homeless teens. He serves as Captain of the Catta Verdera Men’s Golf Club and previously served as president of the St. Francis High School Booster Club.”

Passage of Prop 8 couldn’t have happened without the expertise of Schubert.  From the start, he shaped a campaign that purposely obscured the anti-gay intent of the initiative while engaging in what can only be described as anti-gay Blood Libel, by using children to stoke irrational fears and hatred about a persecuted minority to take rights away from that minority.

Here are some examples:

“One of our campaign cornerstones will be the fact that if the initiative [to ban gay marriage in California] doesn’t pass that public schools will be forced to teach the difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.” – Jennifer Kerns, Campaign Spokesperson for ProtectMarriage.com

“In health education classes, state law requires teachers to instruct children as young as kindergartners about marriage. (Education Code 51890). If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, TEACHERS WILL BE REQUIRED to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.” – Text stricken from Voter Information pamphlet after lawsuit by the No on 8 campaign

“Ask yourself this: do you know of a single constitutional right that isn’t taught in the schools? Once gay marriage is established as law they have to teach it along side of regular marriage and they will teach it.” – Frank Schubert, Culture 11

“‘We bet the campaign on education,’ Mr. Schubert said.” – New York Times

Not all parents with children were pleased with Schubert’s use of children, especially their children, in the anti-gay effort to ban same-sex marriage.  In San Francisco, several parents (of their own volition) took their kids to the wedding of the children’s teacher who was married to her wife in a private ceremony.  When the Yes on 8 campaign obtained footage of the event, it was used to as further “proof” that schoolchildren would be indoctrinated that gay marriage was normal and that homophobic parents would have no choice in the matter.
 
When these parents attempted to confront Schubert in his office, he had them thrown out of the building.  Said one parent, “I want to ask him how he would feel if his children were manipulated like this.”  Schubert refused to meet with the parents.

Schubert himself denies that he is anti-gay, although a lesbian niece disputes that.  Two of his sisters and a niece are lesbians, although, as many of us know, having a lesbian or gay relative is not necessarily a pass when it comes to anti-gay prejudice.  After the passage of Prop 8, Schubert’s niece felt so disgusted that she wrote an apology to same-sex couples now prevented from marrying thanks to the work of her uncle.

Since the passage of Prop 8, Schubert continues to function as an anti-gay activist.  After massive, but mostly peaceful, marches and rallies against Prop 8 erupted in cities across California and the U.S., Schubert continued his public defamation of the lesbian and gay community by equating such demonstrations as “hateful”, “intolerant”, and (ironically) as “trampling on civil rights”; even going so far to use the “T-word” and while describing these events as “wildfires of hate going out of control.”

“It strikes me as quite ironic that a group of people who demand tolerance and who claim to be for civil rights are so willing to be intolerant and trample on other people’s civil rights.” – Time Magazine

“Amidst all this lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials,’ said spokesperson Frank Shubert of ProtectMarriage.com. – WeHo News

“This is a very disruptive, small group of fanatics protesting because they were unable to persuade Californians of their position.” – Fox News

Referring to the targeting of the Mormon church over their huge role in bankrolling the campaign and to envelopes containing harmless white powder sent to two of the churches (although no one has claimed responsibility for it nor is there any indication that whomever sent them was angry about gay rights):

“They mean to frighten and to intimidate the people who supported Proposition 8 and those who have stood up for traditional marriage. This is the very definition of terrorism and that is what is occurring in California today.” – KTLA.com

What the future holds for Frank Schubert as an anti-gay activist remains uncertain. It may be very likely that he will be involved in similar future campaigns aimed at dismantling what little civil rights the LGBT community has or curtailing through initiatives any chance at obtaining rights.

We’ll have to wait and see.