Scott Lively, the Springfield pastor whose controversial statements about homosexuality have made a him target of human rights groups and the subject of sharp criticism from a federal judge, is again jumping into a Massachusetts gubernatorial race — this time to challenge Governor Charlie Baker for the GOP nomination.
And Lively is not just leaving his fate to his God, as he told the Globe when he ran for governor as an independent in 2014. He says he plans to actively campaign to win enough convention delegates to get on the ballot and to raise the money to beat Baker in the GOP’s September primary.
But that doesn’t mean his deep religious views are not guiding him.
“I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit,’’ said Lively.
“My purpose was not to win but to advocate biblical values in the arena,’’ he said in an interview Thursday just before he was releasing an announcement of his candidacy.
This year Lively, who describes Donald Trump as a “political genius” who may well be ranked among presidents with Ronald Reagan, plans to take the cultural wars to the GOP electorate, saying Baker has led an “effort to gut the conservative agenda.” He also challenged Baker’s image and his popularity.
“He likes to appear amicable,” Lively said, but added, using a biblical phrase, “you shall know them by their fruits.”
Since his last race, Lively had to battle a federal lawsuit filed — with the help of human rights groups — by a Ugandan gay-rights group in Springfield. The group claimed he had participated in anti-gay activities in Uganda that deprived them of their human rights. Lively said he was exercising his constitutional rights to advocate his positions and never advocated hatred or violence against homosexuals.
The suit was dismissed last June, but not without the judge’s strong denunciation.
Lively’s “position on LGBTI people range from the ludicrous to the abhorrent,” wrote Judge Michael Ponsor.
The judge quoted Lively asserting that “Nazism was in large part an outgrowth of German homosexual movement.” And claiming there was in Lively’s words, “a dark and powerful homosexual presence in. . . . the Spanish Inquisition, the French ‘Reign of Terror,’ the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery.”
“This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause,’’ he said.
Lively has a different view of the lawsuit and his success in getting it dismissed.
“The plaintiffs crawled back into the holes,’’ he said this week of Ponsor’s dismissal of the case. “They were just partisans in the cultural war. They’re just liars.”Frank Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.