Sunday, August 18, 2013

American pastor sued for direct promotion of brutal anti-gay law in Uganda

Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade is reporting on a lawsuit against a pastor in Massachusetts under the Alien Tort Statute (link) and Massachusetts state law, essentially for encouraging Uganda for passing vehemently anti-gay legislation.  The link for the story is here.   The pastor is Christian Scott Lively of the Abiding Truth Ministries.
It is possible under these laws for people outside the country to sue parties in the US for human rights violations overseas if the defendants played a direct and material part in bringing about the violations.  Merely publishing anti-gay views would not, but traveling to the country and directly promoting the measures to politicians or warlords could.   Of course, the civil action calls attention to the idea that ideas published and circulated in the West can have effects overseas with disadvantaged populations and make them more vulnerable to dictators. 
Technically, a federal district court allowed the suit to go forward.   
The ministry has also encouraged anti-gay laws in Russia.  The pastors are obviously taking advantage of a culture that stresses procreation, and in Russia they can exploit the low birth rate as bad for society (not in Africa, though).   

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