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The LGBT Hate Crimes Project: Satendar Singh

This entry is part 29 of 53 in the series lgbt hate crimes project

When I started The LGBT Hate Crimes Project the Murder of Satendar Singh was one cases I wanted most to write about, because at the time I started the project it had just happened. But I decided to wait until more information about the case became available, as I wanted to avoid writing about the case as a hate crime only to have different information come out later.

But earlier this month, one of Singh’s attackers went to court, and that was the catalyst for starting to research the story.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comOne of the men accused in the beating death of Satender Singh was in court yesterday.

The the hearing, Aleksandr Shevchenko was told appear back in court next month.

Shevchenko is accused of being part of a group that allegedly used racial and homophobic slurs toward Satender Singh in July at Lake Natoma. A brawl ensued and Singh was severely beaten. He later died from head injuries.

Investigators say Shevchenko didn’t throw the punch that killed Singh but contributed to the crime.

What I found out made it even more convincing as a hate crime.

According to witnesses, Singh’s attackers, one of whom — the one who threw the fatal punch — fled to Russia and is still a fugitive from justice, boasted of belonging to a Russian evangelical church and that Singh and his friends should join a “good church” like theirs.

On the first day of July, 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.

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.
Singh
Satender Singh

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.”

I haven’t found any reports saying exactly which church Singh’s attackers belong to, could be one of several. And it’s likely to have connections to a Slavic Evangelical group called “The Watchmen on the Walls.”

A growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in the Sacramento Valley is centered among Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking immigrants. Many of them are members of an international extremist anti-gay movement whose adherents call themselves the Watchmen on the Walls. In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has “made an injection” of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. “In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin,” Kusakin said.

And then I came upon a “blast from the past” in the form of Scott Lively.

Last April in Salem, Ore., more than 700 Russian-speaking teenagers rallied outside the state Capitol against a pair of gay rights bills. It was the largest anti-gay protest to take place in Oregon’s sleepy capital city since 1992, when the anti-gay Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) pushed a ballot initiative that came within a few percentage points of rewording the state constitution to declare gay people “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse” and requiring the state to fire all openly gay or lesbian public school teachers.

The executive director of the OCA at that time was Scott Lively, a longtime anti-gay activist who is now the chief international envoy for the Watchmen movement. Lively also is the former director of the California chapter of the anti-gay American Family Association and the founder of both Defend the Family Ministries and the Pro-Family Law Center, which claims to be the country’s “only legal organization devoted exclusively to opposing the homosexual political agenda.”

…Lively identifies “the enemy” as not only homosexuals, but also what he terms “homosexualists,” a category that includes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who “actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy.”

When he personally confronts the enemy, Lively practices what he preaches when it comes to “battle-hardened” tactics. He recently was ordered by a civil court judge to pay $20,000 to lesbian photojournalist Catherine Stauffer for dragging her by the hair through the halls of a Portland church in 1991.

I remember Scott Lively because when moved to D.C. in 1994, my first job was for HRC, in their campaign to fight the anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon and Idaho. Occasionally, as part of my job, I collected information and documents to pass on to the opposition research person. It was then that I came across Scott Lively’s work in the form of The Pink Swastika.

Lively occasionally writes for Chalcedon Report, a journal published by the Chalcedon Foundation, the leading Christian Reconstructionist organization in the country. (Reconstructionists typically call for the imposition of Old Testament law, including such draconian punishments as stoning to death active homosexuals and children who curse their parents, on the United States.) But he’s most famous as the co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.

Published in 1995, the book is a breathtaking work of Holocaust revisionism. It asserts that Hitler was gay — a claim no serious historian supports — and that Hitler and other evil gay fascists were central in forming the Nazi Party, operating the Third Reich and orchestrating the Holocaust. (Lively’s most recent book, The Poisoned Stream, similarly details “a dark and powerful homosexual presence” through “the Spanish Inquisition, the French ‘Reign of Terror,’ the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American Slavery.”)

The Pink Swastika — whose cover has a swastika in place of the “x” in “homosexuality” in the book’s subtitle — has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and was thoroughly debunked in a 2005 Intelligence Report article. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, said the book was “produced by a right-wing Christian cult and is as correct as flat earth theory.”

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find Lively speaking in support of Singh’s attackers, then. Right?

Right. Note the applause after Lively speaks of Vusik punching Satendar Singh. Note the applause after Lively says that Satendar Singh died as a result of his injuries. Note how Lively corrects his audience’s immediate response, which he must know comes across as horrifying, coming from the supposedly “godly” audience he’s addressing. Whether he would have corrected them if the cameras were not rolling I don’t know. But who whipped them into such a fervor that they would applaud the beating and murder of a gay man?

Nevertheless, The Pink Swastika has become Lively’s passport to fame among anti-gay church leaders and their followers in Eastern Europe, as well as Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. Lively frequently speaks about the book and his broader anti-gay agenda in churches, police academies and television news studios throughout the former Soviet Union.

Lively credits the popularity of Russian-language translations of The Pink Swastika to the support of Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the head of the New Generation Church, an evangelical Christian megachurch based in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. New Generation has more than 200 satellite churches spread throughout Eastern Europe, Argentina, Israel and the United States.

“One of my supporters gave him [Ledyaev] a copy of The Pink Swastika. He was very impressed by it,” Lively said in a December 2006 radio show on WTTT-AM, based in Boston. “The European press was bashing them [Ledyaev and his church] for being Nazis. He was finally thrilled that he had something to counter the media with.” Ledyaev did not respond to E-mails seeking comment.

Since then, Lively said, “I’ve been deluged by media speaking offers all over the former Soviet Union.”

In Sacramento, editorials in The Speaker urge readers to buy The Pink Swastika. Even right-wing legislators in the California Assembly are said to audibly groan when Slavic evangelicals wave a copy of the pink volume during testimony.

When you single out a group and blame them for every other major tragedy or disaster in human history — with the Inquisition, slavery, the Holocaust, and apartheid on his list, Lively seems to have left out the Black Death, unless he’s working on that right now — what do you expect people to do? How do you expect them to respond to a group you’ve told them is responsible for every awful thing in human history and that you’re telling them is a threat right now? How do you expect them to respond to members of this menace you’ve told them is out to destroy everything they hold dear and is right now panting and clawing at their door?

How have people responded to other groups so accused throughout history? Do any happen to come to mind?

Lively tells his Russian audience that the case of what happened to Satendar Singh is an example of how bad things are in the United States. He’s right, but not in the way he thinks. What happened to Satendar Singh doesn’t seem to be wrong in his eyes. Neither, apparently, is lying about what happened in the park, if the actual witnesses are to be believed. (Nothing I’ve read says anything about anyone taking their pants off, though some reports say that Singh danced with male members of his group. His friends deny reports of any men in their group kissing, however.) But what’s happening to his attackers is.

Satendar Singh was merely being “rebuked,” after all. Something any homosexual has coming.

Satender Singh (July 21, 1980 – July 1, 2007), a gay man of Fijian descent, was attacked on July 1, 2007, while socializing with friends in Natoma Lake state park, near Sacramento, CA. Singh was punched by a man from another group in the park that had made racist and homophobic comments to Singh’s group. Singh fell backwards, hit his head, and lapsed into a coma. Singh died of his injuries four days later when his family removed him from life support.

The Background

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comBorn in Fiji, Singh moved to the United States in 2000. He settled in Sacramento, CA1) and worked at an AT&T call center.2) On July 1, 2007, Singh and six friends, three couples of Indian and Fijian descent, were at Natoma Lake state park near Sacramento, to celebrate Singh’s recent promotion at his call center job.3)

Singh was the only single member of his group, and was seen hugging and dancing with other men in his group. Another group in the park, made up of Russian immigrants was offended by Singh’s dancing with men and women in his group, and made homophobic and racist comments to Singh and his friends.4)

Bystander Wolfgang Chargin witnessed the exchanges between Singh’s group and the Russian group, and called 911 to warn that a fight was likely to occur. Chagrin witnessed the escalating conflict between the two groups as they used the picnic area, and said that the Russian group seemed especially offended by Singh’s activity. At one point, when Singh’s group went into the water, some of the men in the Russian group walked over and spat on their blankets.

Chagrin emphasized that Singh’s group was never aggressive, though they were confronted several times.5)

As the conflict grew more heated, Chagrin packed up his family and left the park, but not before notifying a worker at the gate kiosk that the shouting match was escalating into a shoving match.

The Attack

Around 8:00 p.m., Singh’s group was leaving the area when some of th men from the Russian group confronted them. in the parking lot.6) A friend of Singh’s, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said the confrontation began when two members of their group returned from a nearby bathroom when two men from the Russian group “saying something” to them.

The men were angry that two of the men in Singh’s group allegedly kissed each other, and they demanded an apology. Singh’s friends denied anyone kissed and refused to apologize. That, they said is when the homophobic and racist taunts – such as “Sodomites” and “7-11” – began. One of the men threatened them, saying, “If there weren’t any park rangers here you’d see what I would do, we’re waiting for you.”7)

At that point, Singh responded to the insults, and the two men turned on him. According to witnesses, the two men said to Singh that they belonged to a Russian evangelical church and that he should go to a “good church” like theirs. According to several witnesses, the men sent their wives and children home and called for several more Slavic men on their cell phones.

When members of Singh’s group – which included a pregnant woman – tried to leave the men blocked them with their bodies. The woman said to the men that she didn’t want to fight them, and one of them said to her “We don’t want to fight you either, we just want your faggot friend.”8)

One of the Russian men then threw a beer into the face of a member of Singh’s group, and then “sucker punched” Singh. As Singh fell to the pavement, the two men ran away. Singh struck his head on a concrete sidewalk when he fell.9)

Arrest & Escape

On August 7, police held a press conference to announce developments in the investigation. Police said that Andrey Vusik, 29, was wanted in connection with the attack on Singh. 10) Vusik fled the United States and is believed to have returned to Russia. A warrant has been issued for Vusik’s arrest, and he is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Evidence did not show any intent to kill Singh, but police believe Vusik threw the fatal punch.11)

Police also announced that Alexander Shevchenko, 21, another suspect, had been located and arrested on August 6 and charged with committing a hate crime.

Vusik faces a maximum of eight years in prison, and Schevenko faces up to three years in prison.12)

The Motive

Gay activists have claimed that Singh’s attackers have ties to a Sacramento-centered evangelical movement among Russian and Latvian immigrants calling themselves The Watchmen on the Walls. According to witnesses, one of Singh’s attackers bragged about their membership in a Russian evangelical church.13)

Vusik’s wife, Tayana, claimed that the attack on Singh was not a hate crime, and that her husband acted in self defense. Mrs. Vusik said she, her sister and the children left the park shortly after the exchange began. When Vusik came home, he told here there was a confrontation during which he thre w a “soft punch” and then ran away. Vusik said Singh was he first to mention the term “gay” as a crude sexual advance.14) Members of Singh’s group, according to Vusik’s wife, were “really drunk and they were kissing,” and that Singh started smashing bottles.

She said that Singh and his friends started cursing and swearing at her family and saying “go back to Russia.” “It would be very uncommon for our family to tolerate this kind of behavior. Vusic blamed Sacramento’s gay communiy for “exaggerating this matter,” adding “I personally think this argument had nothing to do with gay.” Vusick claimed her husband’s trip to Russia had been planned before the attack, but admitted he was afraid to return and face the charges.

A friend of Singh’s, who spoke anonymously out of fear of retaliation countered Vusik’s story, saying that that Shevchenko and Vusik taunted saying “You guys are gay. You guys are faggots.15)

The Watchmen

The Watchmen on the Walls organization is composed of some of California’s approximately 200,000 Russian-speaking immigrants.16) In the U.S., the group’s following of Russian-speaking evangelicals has become increasingly active in gay-friendly cities like Sacramento, Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR. Vlad Kusakin, host of a Russian-language radio show in Sacramento, said that God has “made an injection” of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into liberal West Coast cities, adding “In places where the disease is progressing, God has made a divine penicillin.”17)

In the summer of 2006 a Russian-Language newpaper in Sacramento, The Speaker, urged readers to attend an anti-gay rally, saying “Make a choice. It’s your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking: ‘Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?’” At the rally, thousands of Russian-speaking teenagers crowded the halls of the Capitol building, wearing t-shirts that read “Sodomy is a sin” and carrying signs reading “Perversion is never safe” and “I am not learning about gay people.”18)

Scott Lively, chief envoy for the Watchmen movement, is the former director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which formed in the mid-90s and in 1994 nearl succded in passing a state ballot initiative declaring gay people “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse,” and requiring the state to terminate all openly gay public school teachers. Lively is most widel known for co-authoring The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, which asserts that Adolf Hitler was homosexual, that gay facists were central in forming the Nazi Party, and orchestrating the Holocaust.

The Aftermath

Singh was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center and treated for internal bleeding and severe brain damage. He slipped into a coma. Shortly afterwards, on July 1, Singh died of his injuries. 19)

On July 6, over 300 people attended a vigil at the World Peace Garden, in memory of Singh. Speakers included Muslim leaders, Sikh leaders, state Senator Darrell Steinberg , Assemblymember Dave Jones, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, and Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada.20) Singh was also a topic of discussion at the West Coast Diversity Summit on July 27, an event planned months before the attack on Singh.21)

Shevchenko returned to court on October 16.22) Shevchenko pleaded not guilty to a felony hate crime charge, and was ordered to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on November 27, to determine whether he should go to trial.23)

Law enforcement officials said that Shevchenko did not throw the punch that brought about Singh’s death, but that he contributed to the crime. Singh supporters left the trial questioning why there was only one defendant.24) Vusic remains at large in Russia, and a spokesperson for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department said the department has contacted the FBI for assistance in finding Vusik.25)

Series NavigationThe LGBT Hate Crimes Project: Lisa CraigThe LGBT Hate Crimes Project: Alfred Dibble

5 Comments

  1. Awaiting Justice: Vusik Still At-Large
    Anti-Gay Slavic Community Targets “America’s Most Integrated City”
    by Dan Aiello

    A year has passed since Satendar Singh was attacked at
    a recreation area near Sacramento by Russian
    immigrants who percieved him to be gay, but without
    the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the Federal
    Hate Crimes law his killer remains a successful
    fugitive from justice.

    The death of Singh is symbolic of tension between
    Sacramento’s gay community and the local Slavic
    evangelical and pentacostal communities who continue
    to spread anti-gay rhetoric.

    Singh, a 26 year old worker at the AT&T Call Center in
    Sacramento, was attacked while picnicking at Lake
    Natoma with friends. His attackers were Russian and
    Slavic immigrants believed to be members of
    Sacramento’s virulently anti-gay, slavic evangelical
    movement. Singh was first verbally then physically
    attacked because his attackers perceived him to be
    gay, according to the Sacramento Sheriff’s arrest
    report. He died four days later at a local hospital
    having never regained consciousness.

    One of those arrested, Alexsander Schevchenko, 22, was
    sentenced to 150 days in county jail after being found
    guilty on two misdemeanor charges, but Andrey Vusik,
    identified as the man who threw the fatal punch, fled
    the country following Singh’s death. He is believed
    to have returned to Russia,” according to longtime
    Sacramento lgbt activist, Jerry Sloan, who is
    concerned that the recent Schevchenko sentence and
    Vusik’s successful flight from justice will be a green
    light for further violence. “It was a little slap on
    the wrist. Five months in jail for the murder of a
    man was a slap on the wrist. It indicates that if you
    harm a gay person, chances are its not going to be
    costly.”

    Sloan has been a critic of the way the Sacramento
    Sheriff and District Attorney Jan Scully have handled
    the case. “This whole case from the beginning to the
    end of [Schevchenko’s] trial has been fucked up.”
    Sloan believes the attack, because the attackers first
    sent their families home then called friends for
    additional back-up, “was a conspiracy and should have
    been prosecuted as one.”

    Vusik’s flight from justice has been successful so
    far, in part, because his crime was perpetrated based
    upon his hatred of homosexuals. While the attackers
    and the victims both threw racist comments (Singh was
    Fijian-born and his friends were Indian), the Sheriff
    and District Attorney determined that Singh was not
    attacked because of his race, but his perceived sexual
    orientation. Something Schevchenko’s jury also
    determined.

    Crimes based on “Sexual Orientation” are covered under
    California state law, but not covered under current
    Federal Hate Crimes law. It’s the Federal hate crime
    that qualifies a fugitive for the FBI’s “Most Wanted”
    list, and it is that list where the FBI focuses reward
    money and additional monetary and personnel resources.

    “The recent rise in hate crimes in Sacramento are
    disheartening to us all,” said Congresswoman Doris
    Matsui in an e-mail to the Bay Area Reporter about the
    recent attacks against members of Sacramento’s lgbt
    community and recent racially-motivated attacks in the
    area. “Now more then ever, it is vitally important to
    promote and encourage equality and end
    discrimination.”

    Former Mayor Anne Rudin, who pioneered some of the
    nation’s most aggressive local anti-discrimination law
    in Sacramento between 1983 and 1992, is particularly
    concerned with the anti-gay, Slavic immigrant
    community. “They don’t seem to be fitting in very
    well. I’m concerned about this immigrant community and
    how they are not reacting well to the diversity of
    Sacramento.” Rudin was known for promoting tolerance
    and diversity during her tenure. “For them to come to
    our community and behave the way they do, it really
    saddens me. It almost makes me feel like I want to be
    anti-immigration, but i’m not going to be that. I
    don’t want to think that way.”

    “We’re using our resources and that’s all we are going
    to say,” stated FBI agent Steven D. Dupre of the local
    FBI office, regarding Vusik’s pursuit.

    Dupre explained that in the case of a fugitive flight
    beyond U.S. borders, the FBI uses “Legal attache
    offices that work with local agencies to capture and
    extradite,” fugitives like Vusik. “We develop
    information as to where we believe the fugitive is,
    then we send that information to the legal attache in
    that country. It’s up to the legal attache to then
    work with local agencies” to capture the fugitive.

    “There are a lot of procedural issues” involved with
    capture and extradition, Dupre stated. “There’s a
    provisional arrest warrant” which the legal attache
    will present to the local agencies, along with the
    information the FBI has as to his whereabouts. Vusik’s
    capture is even more difficult because the United
    States does not currently have extradition treaties
    with many of the states of the former Soviet bloc
    where Vusik is believed to be living.

    So where does the FBI believe Vusik is hiding? “We
    have several possibilities,” stated Dupre, but
    declined to indicate where the FBI currently believes
    the fugitive is living, noting that the families
    involved in the case have “admitted to speaking to
    him.” Dupre explained that to divulge any information
    on the progress of the pursuit could jeopardize his
    agency’s efforts to capture Vusik.

    Sacramento Sheriff’s media spokesman, Sgt. Tim Curran,
    was more candid. “He’s in Russia,” and contradicted
    Dupre’s assertion that the FBI is using its resources
    to capture Vusik. “The FBI doesn’t have anyone on the
    ground looking for him. There is not any active
    pursuit, as far as I know.” What effort is the
    Sheriff’s Department employing to return Vusik to face
    charges? “We have an active warrant out for his
    arrest, his passport has been flagged and that’s about
    it,” responded Curran. “We’re certainly not going to
    send officers to Russia to look for him.”
    Dupre admits that greater efforts are focused on the
    capture of international fugitives who qualify for the
    agency’s “Most Wanted” list than those who do not.
    Vusik, whose crime was based on sexual orientation,
    “does not qualify,” according to Dupre, because he
    killed Singh “based upon sexual orientation, which is
    not a Federal Hate Crime.” Vusik can not qualify as
    one of the agency’s top priorities until Federal Law
    changes to “qualify” his attack as a Federal Hate
    Crime, according to Dupre. Once returned, Vusik would
    face a State hate crime charge of “commission of a
    crime for purpose of interfering with civil rights of
    another.”

    New Hate Crimes Legislation

    Legislation which would include hate crimes based on
    sexual orientation (HR 1592) recently passed in the
    House and has been sent to the Senate Judiciary
    Committee. HR 1592 provides for technical, forensic,
    prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the
    criminal investigation or prosecution.

    “We must get the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes
    Prevention Act signed into law. The House has passed
    it, now the Senate must act. This significant
    legislation would properly define a “hate crime” and
    ensure that those who commit these terrible crimes are
    given the punishment they deserve,” stated Matsui.
    “Satender Singh’s death must not have been in vain and
    it is time to unite as a country to end discrimination
    and stand up against hate.”

    Bush has stated he will veto the Hate Crimes
    legislation.

    Whether or not Vusik is captured and returned to face
    charges, Sacramento’s lgbt community remains uneasy
    with the recent rise in the area’s number of hate
    crimes. Ironically, in 2002 Harvard University’s
    Civil Rights project called Sacramento
    “America’s most integrated city,” and promoted the
    California Capital as “an example of a community
    tolerant of diversity.”

    A lot has changed.

    Part of a Greater Movement

    Called “a growing and ferocious anti-gay movement in
    the
    Sacramento Valley” by the Southern Poverty Law Center,
    Sacramento’s local anti-gay demonstrations are being
    orchestrated and attended mostly by Russian- and
    Ukrainian-speaking immigrants, according to a Fall
    2007 article by SPLC.

    The SPLC article states that many of the demonstrators
    are members of an international extremist anti-gay
    movement whose adherents call themselves the
    Watchmen on the Walls.

    In Latvia, the Watchmen are
    popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic
    Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay
    rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags
    of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a
    following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the
    former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active
    in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves,
    including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, according
    to SPLC.

    The international nature of the anti-gay movement was
    seen at the 2006 conference of the so-called Watchmen
    on the Walls in the alliance between American
    gay-bashers Kenneth Hutcherson, Scott Lively (The Pink
    Swastika), and Latvian megachurch preacher Alexey
    Ledyaev.

    What SPLC did not mention, however, was that the
    orchestration of the anti-gay rallies often are done
    in partnership with a small, non-Slavic, Placerville
    pentacostal group who call themselves “The Church of
    the Divide.” This group includes a member with a
    printing business and they are the ones responsible
    for the demonstrators professional signage and
    t-shirts. They are one example of how the Slavic
    evangelicals have been embraced by the existing US
    conservative movement.

    Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay
    radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a
    Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The
    Seattle Times in January that God has “made an
    injection” of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic
    evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast
    cities. “In those places where the disease is
    progressing, God made a divine penicillin,” Kusakin
    said.

    Last summer, The Speaker, a Russian-language newspaper
    with an English title in Sacramento, urged readers to
    attend a massive anti-gay rally: “Make a choice. It’s
    your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors
    and asking: ‘Can I make your son gay and your daughter
    lesbian?'”

    At that rally and others at the California Capitol,
    thousands of Russian-speaking teens crowded the halls
    of the Capitol building rotunda, wearing “Sodomy is a
    Sin” T-shirts. Scarf-wrapped babushkas held up signs
    that read, “Perversion is never safe” and “I am not
    learning about gay people” according to the Times
    article.

    Dennis Mangers, a former California state assemblyman
    who now lobbies for the cable communications industry,
    told the BAR that when he and a group of
    community leaders met with the Slavic community
    leaders following a violent first picket of the 2006
    Rainbow Festival, a prominent leader of Sacramento’s
    Slavic community told him through an interpreter “You
    all seem like nice people but you have to understand,
    we equate homosexuals with thieves, adulterers and
    murderers. To us, you are an abomination.”

    Despite the barb aimed directly at Mangers and the
    other LGBT leaders present at that meeting, both sides
    agreed to schedule a second meeting. But before that
    meeting could take place, Singh was murdered.

    “After Singh’s death we met with the Sheriff, Police
    Chief and District Attorney and they all met with the
    Slavic community leaders and told them that [the lgbt
    community] here was a well-respected, contributiing
    part of the Sacramento community and this sort of
    violence would not be tolerated,” Mangers said.

    “[The Slavic] community seems to have quieted down
    some,” stated Mangers. “A lot of that community is
    receiving social program benefits and others are
    beginning to get good paying jobs like cable
    installers, and I think they weren’t prepared for the
    kind of response they got from the community.”
    Mangers believes that the lgbt community has been an
    easier target in the former Soviet bloc states than
    it’s proven to be in Sacramento, Seattle and the other
    traditionally liberal cities targeted by the Slavic
    evangelical movement.

    “Gays and Lesbians are suffering violent attacks” in
    eastern europe, says Mangers, who believes the
    violence in Sacramento has been part of an
    international campaign orchestrated by evangelicals
    from Latvia, Russia and the Ukraine.

    http://www.up4now.com/forum.php

  2. In 2002 Sacramento was called ‘America’s Most Integrated City’ and ‘Most tolerant of diversity’ by Harvard University’s Civil Rights project. Then a wave of slavic evangelists came and with them a virus of hatred and homophobia from abroad, foreign to a gentle city.

    It caught the residents of Sacramento by surprise.

    Violent protests by Russian-language immigrants began at lgbt community events in 2006, then Satendar Singh, a Fijian-born immigrant, was attacked and killed by Russian evangelical immigrants who believed him to be gay.

    These evangelical and pentacostal extremists claim to love God, but show no signs of honoring God’s commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” There are few people who more soundly deny the faith found in scripture than these evangelists, profoundly noting the hypocrisy in their praise of Jesus while ignoring his words of compassion and love. It is shameful. Perhaps one day they can find their way back into God’s loving embrace. We can all pray for their salvation. They harm their children by teaching them only to hate – a trait which will prevent them from becoming contributing members of this country’s secular society.

    In case you are wondering – the number of times Jesus condemned homosexuality in the bible? Zero. The number of times he condemned hypocrites? 16. Jesus proclaimed with compassion, “That which you do to these, the least of my children, you do unto me.”

    This video marks the one year anniversary of the death of Satendar Singh at the hands of evangelical immigrants. It is meant to keep this violent act in our consciousness until all those involved are brought to justice.

    Help capture Andrey Vusik – Singh’s killer. He is a fugitive from justice most likely aided in flight by the evangelical community from which he came.

    The idea for this video began with one of the signs held up by a young protestor that read: “Woe to them who call evil good and good evil.” It struck me that the lgbt community’s response to the protestors includes that very same quote from scripture (Isaiah 5:20).

    The lyrics of the song, and the pictures, objectively taken, trust the viewer/listener to draw his or her own conclusion. – Thanks for watching and please remember in your prayers Satendar Singh, Matthew Shepard and all gay, lesbian and transgendered victims of violence spawned and ignited by the kind of ignorance and fanaticism shown here. Sacramento is a beautiful, historic capital city and the place I call home. It is home to many good people – too many for the actions of these few to have any lasting effect. Song credit: “Hallelujah!” by lesbian singer K.D. Lang. photo credits: Sac Pride Parade protestors – Dan Aiello, Mira Loma High School protestors: B.C.

    Note: Scripture which supports loving all of God’s children: Luke 6:31: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”; “All are the sons and daughters of God, good people all, Brothers and Sisters, since created by One Father. No rooted difference is there between them.” (From Hindu scripture, since Singh was Hindu in this secular, not solely christian, country); “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?” (Judiasm, Malachi 2:10); Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this is the law and the prophets.”

  3. New Video: No on Prop 8 – California Ends Its Discrimination

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzSjML1kXr0

    In 1948, the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp ruled that the California anti-miscegenation statute, prohibiting marriage outside of one’s race, violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and was therefore unconstitutional. This was the first time since Reconstruction that a state court had declared an anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional.

    California was the first state since Ohio in 1887 to repeal its anti-miscegenation law. In a number of states, state laws prohibiting interracial marriage and interracial sex were repealed after Perez v. Sharp.

    Why is it relevant to the prop 8 debate that California’s supreme court struck down the State’s anti-miscegenation law, a law that prevented someone of one race marrying one of another? Because the same arguments, religiously-based, societal- and culturally-based, that were used to validate that discrimination are nearly identical to those used to seek discrimination against same-sex couples today. Those who did not believe in the mixing of the races, in the government allowing its citizens the freedom to choose who they wished to marry because they believed it would degrade society and country, that it would create a “mongrol” nation, fought to impose anti-miscegenation laws in this and almost every other state. These opponents to interracial marraige were largely prejudiced, but many truly believed they were saving society.

    So it is quite relevant that in May, the California court, a Republican and conservative court, voted that the same legal argument, that such an infringement on civil rights, violates the 14th amendment of the US constitution.

    The California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage May 15, 2008 in a broadly worded decision that would invalidate virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

    The 4-3 ruling declared that the state Constitution protects a fundamental “right to marry” that extends equally to same-sex couples. It tossed a highly emotional issue into the election year while opening the way for tens of thousands of gay people to wed in California, starting as early as mid-June.

    The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state’s high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard.

    The decision was a bold surprise from a moderately conservative, Republican-dominated court that legal scholars have long dubbed “cautious,” and experts said it was likely to influence other courts around the country.

    “Our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation,” George wrote for the majority. “An individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.”

    Many gay Californians said that even the state’s broadly worded domestic partnership law provided only a second-class substitute for marriage. The court agreed.

    Giving a different name, such as “domestic partnership,” to the “official family relationship” of same-sex couples imposes “appreciable harm” both on the couples and their children, the court said.

    Now those who have traditionally opposed homosexuality, placed onto the ballot Proposition 8, which would limit marriage only to heterosexual couples and would deny same-sex couples the legal tax and family benefits of a civil marriage. It is the hope of Prop 8 proponents to impose their religious beliefs into the constitution of our secular state government and our democratic society. They should not be hated for their ignorance, but they must be stopped.

    Music Credit: Clay Aiken, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” – to read more about the first day of California same-sex unions, go to: http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=

    This video was made for the gay online community, Up4Now.com

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