Scott Lively On His Campaign For Governor

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Republican candidate for governor Scott Lively addresses the Massachusetts Republican Convention at the DCU Center in Worcester. (Winslow Townson/AP)
Republican candidate for governor Scott Lively addresses the Massachusetts Republican Convention at the DCU Center in Worcester. (Winslow Townson/AP)

Gov. Charlie Baker won the endorsement of this weekend's Massachusetts Republican Convention, with just under 70 percent of the vote, but Baker will be facing a challenger in the GOP primary.

Conservative Springfield pastor Scott Lively received nearly 28 percent of the vote -- well over the 15 percent needed to advance to the primary.


Scott Lively, pastor and candidate for governor. He tweets @realscottlively.

Ed Lyons, Republican activist, political writer and GOP delegate from Swampscott. He tweets @mysteriousrook.


This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Meghna Chakrabarti: Lively is a controversial pastor known widely for his anti-gay rhetoric. At the convention, though, he positioned himself as what he called the true conservative, versus Baker's more moderate Republicanism.

[Audio from Lively’s convention speech]: “I'm 100 percent pro-life. I'm 100 percent for the Second Amendment. I stand on the original intent of the Constitution. I'm 100 percent for Trump.”

Lively in fact seemed to take a page from the Trump campaign rally playbook when he called for a delegate to be removed from the convention.

[Audio from Lively’s convention speech]: “I was born in 1957, and when I was born, I was [interruption by heckling delegate] ... This is the problem with letting Democrats in the Republican Party, see, they don't let people — would, would security remove this person? Right. I'm not going to be heckled during my speech.”

Security did not remove the delegate.

So what kind of message is Lively's candidacy sending to the Mass. GOP and the state as a whole? Well, Scott Lively joins us now. Mr. Lively, welcome back to Radio Boston.

Scott Lively: Good to be with you.

Well, so first of all I just want to ask you, I mean you said this weekend at the Mass. GOP convention that you stand for conservative values in the Bay State.

But I'm wondering, looking back over your career and your history, and in 1992 you were found guilty of battery in an Oregon court where you were living and working with a conservative Christian group at the time. And that's because in 1991 there was this incident where a 23-year-old freelance photographer named Catherine Stauffer attended a meeting of the Oregon Citizens Alliance with whom you were working, and you threw her against the wall, dragged her across the floor. She sued and a Multnomah County jury found you guilty of battery and awarded Stauffer $31,000 including $20,000 in pain and suffering.

So if you stand for conservative values that put women and family at the front, but you assaulted a 23-year-old back in 1991, I mean why should Massachusetts Republicans vote for you?

Wow, that was quite an opening. I didn't realize you guys were quite so predatory.

But these are facts. We have the court documents, sir, so it's not predatory. It's not predatory; it's straight from the Oregon State Court.

No, it is predatory. You asked me to come on the show and pretend like you're actually interested in my views. That's fine, I don't mind answering any question.

It is not predatory, sir, you are running to be the chief executive of Massachusetts, and you say you're running on conservative values so I'm just wondering how your own past history —

I just want a chance to respond to your allegation.

But I'm just, I don't want anyone to think we're being predatory when we're simply asking you to respond to your own record.

They can hear it. The people have ears. This is what this is called a gotcha interview.

It's a gotcha with your own record. I'm just wondering if you have an answer —

That's not my record. And if you give me a chance to actually respond to the allegations you'll have an opportunity to hear that.

Go ahead.

First of all I was not found guilty. I was found liable. And there's a big difference. I'm an attorney myself, and actually I became an attorney because of what I experienced during that outrageous abuse of the judicial system in Multnomah County, Oregon. When guilty is a criminal verdict, liable is what is found in a civil case when a jury agrees with the arguments of the plaintiffs and not the defendant. And the case at issue was an extraordinarily political case in which the judge actually happened to be a corporate attorney for an organization that was funding the opposition in a ballot measure campaign in which I was the spokesman.

[Editor’s Note: Court documents obtained by WBUR show a judgment filed against Lively and the Oregon Citizens Alliance — the group Lively worked for — on Nov. 5, 1992 in Multnomah Circuit Court. The civil case was heard by a jury. They decided that Lively was “at fault in one or more of the respects...which caused damage to plaintiff.” The jury awarded Stauffer more than $31,000.]  

This was a jury trial, it was a civil trial and it was a jury trial.

That’s right. There was a jury trial but it was a jury trial with the judge who was on the other side.

The jury deliberated for about 12 hours and came back and found you being liable for this battery, and they awarded $31,000 award to the plaintiff. You paid, you paid a lot of it, though, you paid at least $16,000 of it.

If, if, if you had been in the courtroom you would have actually seen that judge, when my attorney attempted to introduce Catherine Stauffer's admission that she was criminally trespassing to the assistant district attorney, when he attempted to introduce that into evidence, which was our right to do, which was exculpatory evidence which would have changed the entire result. That judge made the jurors leave the courtroom and then he threatened my attorney, with this first case out of a law school, with sanctions if he proceeded any further, which was our absolute constitutional right to do. But. But that's what the judge did. So the jury never actually got to hear that Catherine Stauffer was the one who was guilty. Not me.

[Editor’s Note: WBUR obtained several court documents related to this case. The plaintiff’s original complaint claims that Lively assaulted her using unreasonable force by “pushing plaintiff across the room...throwing plaintiff into a wall...throwing plaintiff to the floor; grabbing plaintiff’s hands and arms and dragging her ...out the door.”

Lively’s defense attorneys denied those allegations. They also counterclaimed that Catherine Stauffer was unlawfully at the church where the incident occurred, and that his use of force was “reasonable” and “justified”. They claimed Stauffer committed “criminal trespass” at the church.

The plaintiff’s trial memo said the question “whether a party to a battery case was a trespasser is one for the jury.” Further, Stauffer’s attorneys claimed that even if she had been at the church unlawfully, Lively’s use of force was “more than was justified.”

WBUR also obtained a Multnomah County District Attorney’s intake form, filed on October 21, 1991, a year before the civil case. The form shows DA Michael Schrunk declined to press criminal charges against Lively because the state could not sustain its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The intake form indicates “[Stauffer] is told to leave but refuses (per her statement to police)” and she may have engaged in criminal trespass due to “varying statements” Stauffer made to the DA and police.

A year later, during the 1992 civil trial, the jury decided Stauffer did not commit criminal trespass.]

So are you saying that you didn't assault her? Are you saying that you didn't throw her against a wall and drag her across the floor?

Exactly. That was all made up. She was a journalist for Just Out magazine. And a member of the political opposition during a ballot measure campaign on LGBT issues in Oregon.

[Editor’s Note: Oregon’s Ballot Measure No. 9 failed a statewide vote 56 percent to 44 percent. The 1992 proposal called for amending the Oregon Constitution so that no government entities could “promote, encourage or facilitate homosexuality,” and “all levels of government ... must assist in setting a standard for Oregon’s youth which recognizes that these ‘behaviors’ are ‘abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse.’ Lively is listed as one of the chief petitioners of the measure on the 1992 Oregon voters pamphlet.]

Then why did you pay the $16,000 in damages? Why did you pay? Why didn't you counter sue?

Well, you, the reason that I paid is because I wasn't going to be able to get a law license after going to law school. I went to law school because of what I experienced in that case. I was never going to let that happen again. Most outrageous abuse of judicial authority. It was it was completely political. It was all about Ballot Measure 9. And I was stuck. What can you do when you have a corrupt judge. And when the media won't report the facts about the corruption of the judge because they want to get you because you're against their ideology.

[Editor’s Note: A 2006 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling shows that Lively paid a major portion of the damages in the Stauffer case, but the Oregon Citizens Alliance had not.]

But since you say, you have, you do have a law degree now. I mean, I didn't actually, I didn't say, I didn't imagine spending so much time on this, but this is interesting. I mean why didn't you counter sue? It seems as if what you're saying is true, you had the grounds for a mistrial, and yet you didn't pursue that.

Well, when you are in a system that is as corrupt as Multnomah County it's sort of like being under the Soviets. When the Soviets would find you guilty, you know, even in the Soviet Union there were procedures that you could follow, you know, to sort of get an appeal. But everybody knew it was just ridiculous to even try because the entire system was rigged. And that's, that's what it was in Multnomah County in 1992.

So just let, let me get this clear —

I got nailed for something I didn't do and I was ... And you know what? During this whole thing, this is a complete setup. This case, the incident happened like over a year before. But they intentionally postponed and postponed it until just before the election so they could turn it into a show trial to influence the vote on Ballot Measure 9. And they, and they characterized me on the evening news every night as, as somebody was like a Nazi and the Ku Klux Klan. And it was all about, is all about destroying the credibility of our ballot measure.

[Editor’s note: WBUR’s Radio Boston is pursuing a public records request for more documents related Catherine Stauffer vs. Oregon Citizens Alliance.]

So it really must have hurt to be to be equated to Nazis.

Yeah. It was, it was, that’s in fact, that's one of the reasons why I wrote "The Pink Swastika" because the accusations that were being leveled against people just simply because we said that no, we don't agree with special rights for people based on sexual orientation. So they started saying because of that anyone who opposes special rights for homosexuals is like the Nazis.

Into my office comes a guy with a sheaf of documentation, and he said, you know they got it completely backwards. Right. That the Nazis weren’t you know — yeah, there were some anti-gay stuff, but the Nazis were filled with homosexuals. So he showed me the documentation, and I said this is outrageous. So later on I responded to it by showing that the argument that they were making, the attacks they were making against me were just simply not true. And the documentation proved my position and disproved there.

"Well, when you are in a system that is as corrupt as Multnomah County it's sort of like being under the Soviets."

Scott Lively

So I want to get a couple of things clear. Are you equating a United States court of law, this is Multnomah County, an Oregon county court as being equivalent or worse than a Soviet court?

Well you know that's, I'm just saying that's the way the Soviet system worked.

But we're talking about a state in the United States of America.

I know and have you. You really haven't seen, don't know much about Oregon do you.

I actually grew up in Oregon. I lived there from the time I was 2 to the time I was 23 in Corvallis, Oregon, in fact, and I know you spent a lot of time in Eugene, Oregon, so I know Multnomah County very well.

I would have pegged you as a Eugene-ine in an heartbeat.

Actually I said, I said Corvallis, I said Corvallis, sir. I said Corvallis.

Well they border and this is really the same ultra leftist crowd. That's actually antifa has deepest roots in that exact area. You know there were actually people, when I used to go down to Lane County, there were actually people — black-clad antifa types — hanging out in front of the police station with signs that said ‘kill the police.’ That was all the way back. That was back in the '90s long before they showed up going after Donald Trump. So you come from an interesting background that explains why you conduct your interview the way you do.

I mean — but I'm going to get back to something that you were saying about ... why you wrote "The Pink Swastika." Right, so this is this is the book that you co-authored with Kevin Abrams. And I have a fourth edition with me from 2001 where were you say in the section preliminaries that quote, “We were scrupulous in our documentation of homosexuals as the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” So I mean at the convention this weekend you...

Now did you do any fact checking on the documentation.

Well, I have your book.

I know. But did you did you do any fact checking on the documentation.

Well, I guess what I'm asking more is that ...

No, no, no, you're a journalist, and you've read a document that is, that is filled with citations to sources regarding assertions that are highly controversial. Did you actually do any investigation to determine if the facts that I'm arguing are true?

It's the conclusions more that I’m actually curious about.

No, no, no, you’re the journalist, you're supposed to. You're an investigative journalist. You have a responsibility. If you're going to have a subject come on your show and start attacking them to actually look and see if the things that they said are actually factually true. Don't, don't attack the premise. You've got the book in your hand.

Well, it's the conclusion, it’s the conclusion that I'm asking you about because at ...

You don't want to talk about the documentation because if you talk about the documentation then you'll have to admit that facts are true that contradict your ideology. Right, you want to talk about the, you want to talk about the premise the idea that homosexuals couldn’t have been, it's so ridiculous --

[Editor’s Note: Lively and Kevin Abrahms co-authored “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.” First published in 1995, it includes passages such as, “In their quest for power, Nazi homosexuals were no different from today’s ‘gays.’ Then, as now, the strategy was one of deception, infiltration and subversion.”]

I'm actually asking you about what you wrote, simply. But you're not answering the question —


I haven't even a chance to ask you a question because the question --

You read what I wrote.


The question has to do with the fact that you want to represent Massachusetts as governor of the state of Massachusetts, and, this weekend in Worcester you actually talked about how you have bridges to mend. Those are your words with the LGBTQ community. So I want to, I want to just play what you said this weekend in Worcester.

[Audio from Lively’s statement to reporters]: “On the LGBT issues, I have some fence mending that I need to do with people in the LGBT community. Mea culpa, I have overstated some things. Not so much in my writings. I can defend just about everything I've written. But sometimes giving a speech. When you're under siege like I have been and there's, and the media is only looking at you and not fact-checking the other side too, sometimes you fall into hyperbole, and I'm guilty of some hyperbole.”

So, Mr. Lively, I'm just wondering when in your book when you wrote: “In their quest for power Nazi homosexuals were no different from today's ‘gays.’ ” Is that one of the hyperboles you were referencing?

Well, no — not in the context that it's in. The hyperbole that I was referencing they were quoting, they were quoting I think, and I am not even sure exactly what I said. But I did an interview with the guy in the Boston Globe about it, and he was quoting it. And I challenged him; he couldn't come up with the source. But anyway, if, if that is exactly what I said.

The hyperbole was the sentence was sort of like, ‘everything that you think about when you think about Nazis comes out of the German gay subculture,’ or something like that. And the hyperbole was to say everything instead of some things or many things. Because the actual documented fact which you have in your hands. See you, you are, you're culpable now. You're responsible to tell the truth because you, you're holding the book in your hand that actually cites the sources. Twenty-five percent of the sources in the book that you're holding in your hand are gay sources. Right. So that the real issue, the real conversation we should be having is whether the things that I’ve asserted, the specific facts that I asserted, not the sort of generalized summaries but the actual specific facts. Is any of my book true? Can you can you answer that. Is any of the book true?

Well, you know what. In good faith, what I'm going to do is I'm going to look at all those sources that you cited. And between now and September, we'll have multiple opportunities to talk about it. So, I'll do that, and let's come back to that conversation. But, but I just want to ask you one last question. Back to the beginning here. Why is it that you think you are the best Republican candidate for the office of governor for the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Because I'm a man who is, who can stand on his principles against the worst possible attacks that a person can go through and not, and not be stampeded away from the things that he believes or be intimidated or compromise against his values. And, frankly, that's the kind of person that we need who's standing in the seat, in the platform of the governor. Because all the Republicans that have come before are people that are so intimidated by people like you that they will cave on Republican values and pander to the Democrats out of fear of being treated like you've been treating me on this interview.

See I'm, I'm able because of all the things I've been through, to be able to take everything that you've got and respond with fact, with reason without losing my temper and without hating you. I don't hate you. I don't. I don't have any ill will toward you. I can, I can treat you like a human being, care about you even though you're doing what you're doing. And that's the kind of person we need in the seat.

"I'm a man who is, who can stand on his principles against the worst possible attacks that a person can go through and not, and not be stampeded away from the things that he believes or be intimidated or compromise against his values."

Scott Lively

Now you may not agree with me on some of these things and frankly I am, my, my personality, my profile, the things I'm interested in, the skills that I have, are so much broader than this tiny little narrow issue about LGBT. I mean there's ... how much of what we deal with in Massachusetts really revolves around the LGBT agenda? It's a tiny fraction of a fraction of 1 percent. But we're dealing with the rest. The other 99.999 [percent] is stuff that we should we could probably agree on most of it. And I think if you have a list, if you listen to the, to the way that I would approach those issues that you would actually agree with me on most of the things that I say even though you're, you're a progressive on the other side.

[Editor’s note: Lively has been active in international anti-gay political efforts. As Radio Boston reported in 2013, Lively was sued by Ugandan LGBT activists for allegedly conspiring to deny gay people their human rights in Uganda. The suit was dismissed in 2017. Massachusetts Federal Judge Michael A. Ponsor submitted a strongly worded opinion, stating that though the case had to be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, “The question before the court is not whether Defendant’s actions to...demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda constitute violations of international law. They do.”

Lively appealed the dismissal, saying that though Judge Michael A. Ponsor ruled in his favor, Lively claims Ponsor did not have the authority to opine on whether Lively had abetted a crime against humanity. The case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston.]

Well, I don't think that we should be — Look, I'm not, I'm only taking the sides of what the record says, and so that's why I asked you the question --


The questions that I did.

You’re not just taking --


But with all, with all due respect, Mr. Lively, I just let you, I let you ...


You slandered my character, and it's OK. I know that's what happens in politics. You made presumptions about who I am based on the fact that I grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. But my point is, is --

No, you don’t. Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare, you --

I actually appreciate, I appreciate this conversation. I appreciate this conversation, and I made a promise to you about checking your sources in your book and having multiple conversations with you between now and the primary in September, and also about the, about the other issues as well so, so, I do, I make that commitment to you. I'd love to talk to you a couple more times, but at this point in time I'm afraid we've actually gone several minutes over our allotted time here so I just want to say, Scott Lively who is a Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts. Thank you so much for joining me.

Well, thank you for having me on, and I look forward to many enjoyable conversations in the future.

Thank you.

WBUR reached out to the campaign for the re-election of Gov. Charlie Baker. They said neither the governor nor anyone from the campaign could join Radio Boston on Monday. They referred us to statement the governor made during the convention:

[Audio from Baker’s statement to reporters]: "Look I can't get in the minds of people who made decisions to support us or to support anybody else. But I can tell you, though, Scott Lively, a lot of what he says, a lot of what he believes, doesn't belong in public discourse."

Radio Boston was also joined by Ed Lyons. Lyons is a Baker delegate from Swampscott and a Massachusetts Republican activist and political writer. Below is a transcript of our conversation with him.

Ed Lyons: Good morning, Vietnam.

So what do you, what do you think the message is that's being sent to the Mass. GOP, as a whole, that Scott Lively got, you know, more than about 28 percent of the vote here this weekend.

I think a lot of people in the party, although a minority, are frustrated with the reality of governing this state and believed in kind of the fantasy that Dr. Lively gave about conservative principles being applied to our state government. I think that most of the people who voted for him were not bigots until that moment. And I think a lot of people are just sort of tired of compromising. I think that probably a minority of the delegates who voted for Dr. Lively could be called supporters of his. And most people who voted did not vote for him. I think only several hundred delegates voted for him. I imagine that number will be lower today if they listen to Radio Boston.

So I mean ostensibly between now and September, Gov. Baker, I mean he's going to, he is, factually, he is going to have to be running against Scott Lively now, and perhaps there will be some debates. Who knows. I mean, is there the underlying concerns that you were talking about that some mass of GOP delegates may have had which is why they cast their vote for Lively? I mean those, those concerns are going to get an airing and they should shouldn't they?

Sure. I mean Gov. Baker won the 2014 primary with 75 percent of the vote. He will probably win the 2018 primary with far more because people will feel the need to support him. You know, he's very popular in the party. There is a small group of people in the party who are just frustrated with the fact that Baker cannot sound like the people on Fox News. You know, it's not a new message. It's a persistent message. There are people who you know want the party and their representatives to be authentically conservative and to not compromise at all with anyone else in the state that that will not win a statewide will not win for federal races. And so we keep hearing from them, and we're going to keep hearing that message. But really most of the party understands that a man like Charlie Baker is who should be governing the state and he’s doing a great job.

... People like Trump, but they like Baker a lot more. And the part that likes Trump is not going to get anyone else elected in the state.

Ed Lyons

Now you wrote over the weekend that you concerned — and correct me if I'm wrong — but you're concerned with some of the aspects of the platform that the Republican Party laid out this weekend, is that right?

Sure. So we were a platform every four years, but no one notices it because we don't use it for anything. It sort of reflects, you know, a bunch of things: grievances among different subgroups in the party, standard Republican themes. But we don't use it for anything. But I was distressed by the fact that it included a few things that, you know, Dr. Lively would agree with.

So overall, I mean obviously we've still got several months between now and September. I'm just wondering what you see in the road ahead for it for the Mass. GOP. Because it seems like what happened in Worcester this weekend is, is actually significant, because it's an echo. It's a strong echo of the fact that a million Massachusetts voters in the 2016 election voted for Donald Trump.

Sure, but that doesn't mean they're going to vote for Dr. Lively at all. I mean they're, they're actually very different people. I mean, one man talks a lot about Ten Commandments, the other one breaks them all the time. You know, I think that, that just because people are pro-Trump they might have been against Hillary Clinton. You know, Dr. Lively ran as an independent last time and got 1 percent of the vote. People in the party generally don't know him. I don't think he will be a factor at all. The pro-Trump wing of the GOP is there; many of them don't like Gov. Baker, but they are, they, the party likes Baker more than Trump. Polling shows that, you know, Baker is 10, 15 points more popular than Trump. Polls that WBUR has sponsored. So yes, people like Trump, but they like Baker a lot more. And the part that likes Trump is not going to get anyone else elected in the state. While the part that likes Baker will help, will get more people elected.

Well, Ed Lyons is a Massachusetts Republican activists and a political writer. And he was a GOP convention delegate from Swampscott at the Worcester convention this weekend. He joined us via Skype today. Ed, thanks so much.

This article was originally published on April 30, 2018.

This segment aired on April 30, 2018.



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