Reverend Louis Sheldon founded an organisation now classed as an extremist hate group (YouTube/PIJN)
Reverend Louis Sheldon, the anti-gay founder of a lobbying group known for opposing LGBT+ rights, has died at the age of 85.
Sheldon died on Friday (May 29) in Southern California of a longstanding condition, his son-in-law James Lafferty said.
Sheldon started the Traditional Values Coalition in 1980 to spread a “moral code and behaviour based upon the Old and New Testaments”. The group had a significant impact in homophobic circles of the 80s and 90s, and in 2010 it was recognised by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as an extremist hate group.
Sheldon was close to several political leaders, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He visited the White House nearly 70 times and personally met eight times with president George W. Bush.
He believed his mission was to warn Americans of the rising “gay threat”, insisting that child molestation was the real “homosexual agenda”. He saw any move towards LGBT+ acceptance as an attempt to “homosexualise” America and “indoctrinate” children.
“Americans should understand that their attitudes about homosexuality have been deliberately and deceitfully changed by a masterful propaganda/marketing campaign that rivals that of Adolf Hitler,” he once claimed.
“In fact, many of the strategies used by homosexuals to bring about cultural change in America are taken from Hitler’s writings and propaganda welfare manuals.”
Sheldon repeatedly referred to homosexuality as a “deathstyle” and suggested forcibly rounding up AIDS victims into “cities of refuge” like leper colonies to protect the general population.
In the 1990s the minister campaigned vigorously against a hate crime bill to protect victims of homophobia. After the bill was signed into law, he told a reporter it would be used to “protect sex with animals and the rape of children as forms of political expression.”
Sheldon’s daughter Andrea Lafferty was often seen campaigning alongside him. She is now president of the Traditional Values Coalition and claims to represent over 43,000 Christian churches across the United States.