Upset with judge’s language, pastor filing appeal

In favorable ruling, Judge Michael Ponsor strongly criticized Pastor Scott Lively

springfield gov debate_Scott Lively
Springfield pastor Scott Lively, participates in a gubernatorial debate in Springfield on September 29, 2014.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – He may have won a victory in court earlier this week, but a Springfield pastor is still filing an appeal, due to the language used by the federal judge in his ruling.

Pastor Scott Lively is moving to strike language used by Judge Michael Ponsor in his memorandum issued earlier this week, in which he granted Lively’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against him.

The suit had been filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), which accused Lively – who had visited the East African nation and spoken there- of waging a campaign to persecute LGBT people in that country. They filed their suit under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign nationals to sue U.S. citizens in American courts. Ponsor, ruled, however that the statute does not cover alleged injuries committed by American citizens outside the United States, therefore the case should be thrown out.

In his memorandum, however, Ponsor had highly critical words for Lively, whose beliefs on gay people the judge said ranged from “the ludicrous to the abhorrent,” and that he was advancing “crackpot bigotry.” Further, Ponsor wrote that he believed Lively violated international law by “aiding and abetting efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda.”

The Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group representing Lively, says that Ponsor has no right to make such claims.

“Even more egregiously and even though he admittedly lacked jurisdiction to rule on SMUG’s claims, Judge Ponsor purported to conclude, without even a pretense of legal or factual analysis, that Lively’s Christian beliefs and pro-family activism violated ‘international law’ and that Lively’s peaceful speaking on homosexuality in Uganda somehow ‘aided and abetted’ crimes supposedly committed by people Lively has never spoken to or met,” states a Liberty Counsel news release sent to 22News.

Lively is the author of the book The Pink Swastika, which suggests that gays were behind the rise of Nazi Germany. He was also an unsuccessful candidate in the 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial election.

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