An author's planned presentation at an Oklahoma City church has drawn opposition from a coalition of advocacy groups.
The Rev. Scott Hamilton, executive director of the Cimarron Alliance, held a news conference Thursday in which he and a local church pastor, a Muslim civil rights group leader and others voiced opposition to author Scott Lively's planned visit to Draper Park Christian Church, 8500 S Walker. The news conference was held at Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N Pennsylvania.
Hamilton said coalition members think Lively spreads hate and untruths by espousing themes in a book Lively co-authored called “The Pink Swastika.” The coalition characterized Lively as a Holocaust revisionist who has been placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups.
“This book lays squarely at the feet of gay people the atrocities of the Holocaust,” Hamilton said.
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, also spoke out against Lively. He applauded the coalition's efforts to hold Draper Park Christian Church accountable for bringing Lively to Oklahoma City. Truth Wins Out is a Vermont-based nonprofit organization that aims to fight anti-gay religious extremism.
“This is not Christianity, it's insanity. It's not faith, it's folly. It's not history, it's a hoax,” he said.
Author defends book
A spokesman at Draper Park Christian Church said the church did not wish to comment about the coalition's concerns or Lively's planned presentation, other than the information posted on the church's website. The website lists the times for Lively's presentation on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and shares a link to a portion of Lively's book “Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the Gay Agenda.”
Lively, in a telephone interview Thursday, said he was not surprised by the local opposition to his visit because he has encountered similar dissension in other places. He said he is not a Holocaust revisionist but a pro-Israel Christian who affirms the Holocaust of Jews as factual and undeniable.
Lively said “The Pink Swastika” (Veritas Aeterna Press, 1995), which he co-wrote with Kevin Abrams, is an attempt to present a historically accurate picture of the involvement of homosexuals in the development of the Nazi party.
He said that, before the book's publication, some individuals had made what he called exaggerated claims about the persecution of homosexuals under the Nazi regime.
He said he stands by the information in “The Pink Swastika” as researched facts. He said the book states that the Nazi Party had its roots in the German homosexual movement and also states that some homosexuals were persecuted, and between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexuals died in Nazi work camps.
Meanwhile, speakers at Thursday's news conference included Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations; Nathaniel Batchelder, a representative of the Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance; and Kathy McCallie, senior pastor of Church of the Open Arms. Other local leaders who attended as part of the coalition included Garland Pruitt with the Oklahoma City NAACP and the Rev. Robin Meyers, senior pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC.
Hamilton, who also serves as associate pastor at Church of the Open Arms, said a time of reflective prayer featuring Besen as guest speaker will be held at Church of the Open Arms on Friday, at the same time as Lively's presentation at Draper Park Christian Church.
Hamilton's Cimarron Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy and education on behalf of Oklahoma's gay, lesbian and transgender community.