Thursday, September 8, 2016

"SMUG," Indeed!

This e-mail from Mat Staver is just too richly ironic to ignore. It's badly put together--no link to MS's own web site, links go to either a fundraising site or an online comment form--but the story, oh mercy...Rush Limbaugh could probably get fifteen hours of comedy out of this story, very likely more.

International readers, your English vocabulary word of the day is "smug." It means "highly self-satisfied," or, per Merriam-Webster,

"having or showing the annoying quality of people who feel very pleased or satisfied with their abilities, achievements, etc."

It's one of those words for which people might be called mean, rude, cruel, or even abusive, if we applied it to people with whom we disagreed...unless those people have chosen it as a name for themselves! (I'm not a regular listener to his show, so why am I hearing the distinctive Limbaugh chuckle in my mind as I type this?) "SMUG" is a word that people whose native language is English would never choose as a name for themselves.

So what are they so self-satisfied about? Crybullying. Uganda is, Heaven knows, a country where crimes against humanity have been committed. Uganda is still, despite rapid improvements in recent years, a country where as many as one person out of five may still be scraping by on an income whose U.S. equivalent would be lower than mine. Figure that most of that 19% of Ugandans are not able-bodied adults and may not be living in orchards, and you'll recognize that for anyone in such a country to scream and squall about the "crime" of having their personal choices rebuked by a minister (I mean, they're not saying that this minister barged into their homes and forced them to listen to his sermons) is definitely a major sin against humanity. If Ugandans have any sense of personal honor whatsoever, they have to shut up about their sexual choices and focus on helping their desperately poor neighbors, and their only complaint about being visited by U.S. pastors and/or church groups would have to do with difficulties collecting the money U.S. church groups would undoubtedly want to donate to the said neighbors.

Rush Limbaugh would, although I won't, get hours of entertainment value about the proclivities of Uganda's departed leader Idi Amin, which were reported to be much worse than mere homosexuality. Even sweet old Art Buchwald once wisecracked about a cloning experiment having gone horribly wrong when the experimenters mixed up the genes of Jack the Ripper and "Jack" the (burro), and "We reproduced Idi Amin." I'll stop there.

But poor old Idi Amin has gone to his eternal punishment (now I'm hearing Mr. T's "Pity the fool!"), and now those who apparently do share his lack of humanity are howling in agony because this humanitarian minister dared to observe that they are, well, sinners. Hello...Christian ministers' job description consists of observing that people are sinners, and inviting them to repent and be saved. If you really can't stand that, you need to avoid Christian ministers. Duh.

Need I go on? I am not Rush Limbaugh, nor was meant to be. Suffice it to say that I think no court on Earth should give SMUG a serious audience. I actually think they need a kick in the pants (which, for international readers, is a figure of speech here meaning something like "a substantial fine for wasting the court's time, to be distributed among the poor people of Uganda"). That I could go on being sarcastic about this story is an indication of how little talent for snarky comedy this story needs. I don't have Limbaugh's talent, and would like to turn the job of snarking about this story over to him now. Here's Staver's e-mail:

A lawsuit filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) against Massachusetts Pastor Scott Lively allege that he committed "crimes against humanity" in violation of "international law" — akin to genocide and war crimes — by simply sharing his biblical views on homosexuality.

The plaintiffs are seeking to have an obscure international law override our constitutional protection of free speech — and also seeks a huge financial windfall! This lawsuit has the potential of creating an extremely dangerous precedent.
Last week, Liberty Counsel filed its second 150-page brief in support of dismissing SMUG's lawsuit against Massachusetts Pastor Scott Lively. The brief addresses the 1,000+ pages submitted by SMUG to keep its vindictive and baseless lawsuit alive.
SMUG makes the sensational claim that Lively's three visits to Uganda were part of a "conspiracy" to "persecute" the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population of the African nation.

SMUG deems every pro-family advocate in Uganda to be a "co-conspirator" in a "criminal enterprise" to "persecute" the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population of Uganda.

In addition to seeking bankrupting financial penalties from Lively, SMUG is asking the federal court to prohibit Lively from, among other things, preaching at Ugandan churches and lobbying or advocating against same-sex marriage in Uganda.

The brief, filed on behalf of Lively, shows the court that SMUG cannot prove a single act of "persecution" by Lively, and concealed from Lively and the court a book published by SMUG covering a decade of the Ugandan homosexuality debate and containing information that destroys SMUG's international "conspiracy" theory.

+ + SMUG is trying to undermine our Constitution and create a new precedent to punish free speech world-wide.

The implications of this suit are truly alarming because SMUG is trying to punish a U.S. citizen for constitutionally protected speech under some vague and undefined international law.

Liberty Counsel's Harry Mihet, Chief Litigation Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs reports:

"SMUG has now made it clear that it wants to put Pastor Scott Lively's Christian faith on trial. Every American should be concerned about this unprecedented attempt to subjugate U.S. citizens and our Constitution to the new 'morality' of the international left and we should pray for a just and decisive ruling from the court preserving our most cherished constitutional freedoms of thought and expression."

+ + 4 years and hundreds of hours later...

Four years, hundreds of hours of depositions, and over 40,000 pages of legal documents later, SMUG failed to produce a shred of evidence of any conspiracy or persecution by Lively.

While we believe SMUG's lawsuit has no merit, we will not allow an innocent man to be silenced, intimidated, and sued by an activist international organization on trumped-up charges.

As you know, we do not charge Pastor Lively, or any client, for our representation. Instead, we depend on the financial support we receive from friends, like you, who believe that our efforts to defend people of faith against the burgeoning onslaught of secularist assailants is worthy of financial support.
Priscilla, I pray that you will consider a gift on behalf of our representation of Pastor Lively and to continue advancing our many other cases advancing life, liberty, and family.

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God bless you for your ongoing support,


P.S. The federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts, will hear argument on Lively's motion for summary judgment dismissing SMUG's case on October 5, 2016. 

Here is the official web page for the federal courts in Massachusetts. Do we have readers in Massachusetts? If so, will youall kindly use this link to endorse Pastor Lively's motion for a summary dismissal, or better yet initiate a motion for a kick in the pants?