Hate speech legislation in Sweden
The first hate speech conviction
The first conviction under the Swedish law:
During 2003-JUL-20, Pastor Åke Green delivered a
sermon at his Pentecostal church in Borgholm, Sweden. It was titled: "Is
Homosexuality Genetic or an Evil Force that Plays Mind Games with People?"
He cited the main "clobber" passages in the Bible
that have often been used to attack homosexual behavior. He said that:
|Homosexuality is "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society."|
|God says that gays and lesbians deserve execution.|
|God may vomit people out of Sweden because they are tolerant of sexual
|That for a homosexual to be in a committed, monogamous relationship is
equally detestable in the eyes of God" to being promiscuous.|
|A homosexual cannot be a Christian.|
|Gays and lesbians can be "delivered from...diabolical power." They can
be converted to heterosexuality through repentance
|There is no genetic component to homosexuality;
people choose to become gay or lesbian.|
|No homosexual can attain Heaven.|
|Gays and lesbians are "gripped by evil spiritual forces."
|He described gays and lesbians as "perverts, whose sexual drive the Devil has used as
his strongest weapon against God." 1|
Excerpts from Pastor Green's 12 page sermon:
"The Bible clearly teaches about these abnormalities. Sexual
abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society. The Lord
knows that sexually twisted people will rape the animals. ....Because of
these sins, the land will vomit out its inhabitants. The political response
to this in our country is then what Paul talks about: 'We know God's
righteous decree that those who live that way deserve death. Still it is in
that very way they live, and worse yet, they think it is good when others do
it.' [Paraphrase of Romans 1:32.] "
"Our country is facing a disaster. Who is to say that we cannot have an
earthquake where hundreds of thousands of people could die in an instant?
Who is to say that we cannot have any monsoon rains that drown thousands of
people in our country? Who is to say that other catastrophes cannot reach
Scandinavia? ....God can turn it around, so that the inhabitants of our land
may experience precisely these [events]. We may be vomited out of the
land because our nation has left God. This is devastating."
"To think that approximately 300 of our popularly elected officials have
led us down a road to catastrophe. As they have adopted these laws of
[domestic] partnership and let people live as they wish. And today they
cannot fathom the consequences of the decisions they have made. Only time
will tell about this. We have gotten to learn words like 'incest, pedophila,
and child molestation.' Words that make us shudder, that belong to the
"All homosexuals are not pedophiles or perverts. They nevertheless open
the door to forbidden areas and allow sin to take hold of the life of the
mind. And the one who is a pedophile today does not start out as such. They
simply begin by changing their gender relationships. That is how it began.
To be 'faithful' in a homosexual relationship is in no way a better
relationship than where you frequently change partners. It is equally
detestable in the eyes of God. From God's perspective it is to be rejected,
and from God's perspective it is as much sin if you frequently change
partners as it is to live in a [committed] homosexual relationship. It makes
no difference before God's Word......"
"Those who live that way are not a child of God and cannot be one. We
must say it so people hear it. Do not fool yourselves, dear people. It is
deceit of the highest level if you think you can fool yourselves. For the
Devil says: 'You can be a Christian, and you can be good as a Christian,
and you can live like this anyway.' 'You can be faithful in your
partnership,' says the enemy of souls. However, the Word of God says
something else. Delusions that lead to punishment..."
He was charged with inciting hatred
against a group of people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
At the conclusion of the trial, Green was found guilty and sentenced to one
month in prison.
|Public prosecutor Kjell
Yngvesson is reported as saying: |
"One may have whatever religion one wishes,
but [the sermon] is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting
Bible [verses] on this topic as he does makes this hate speech."
Christianity Today magazine reported:|
"In his defense, the pastor said he
merely wanted to make clear the biblical view on homosexuality, not to express
|Green's lawyer said that the law and conviction violated the
pastor's religious freedom. |
|Sören Andersson, president of Swedish Federation for Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights (RFSL), said that religious
freedom never justifies attacking people. He said: "Therefore, I cannot
regard the sentence as an act of interference with freedom of religion."
A search on the Google.com search engine in 2004 using the string "Ake Green" found 605
hits. Some relate to "Ake Ake," exotic shrubs which happens to come in
a green variety. But most of the hits are to articles on this event published on conservative Christian web sites.
Pastor Green successfully appealed his conviction
to an appeals court. 2,3
However, the prosecutor then appealed that
decision to the Supreme Court.
Jared Leland of the Becket Fund for
Religious Liberty (www.becketfund.org), wrote an amica curia ("friend of the
court") brief in support of Green. He said:
"Pastor Green's entire speech was
based on Biblical interpretation. It does not threaten anyone; it does not call
people to action to place the public order in disarray." 3
Åke Green, "Is Homosexuality Genetic or an Evil Force
that Plays Mind Games with People?" European-American Evangelistic
Crusades, at: http://www.eaec.org/ This is a
PDF file. We have quoted fewer than 500 words of his sermon
here to conform to copyright restrictions.
"Swedish pastor disowns US hate site," The Local, Sweden,
Lee Duigon, "Swedish Pastor Faces Jail for Preaching against
Homosexuality," The Chalcedon Fondation, 2005-NOV-15, at:
Pete Winn, "Swedish Court Acquits Pastor Ake Green," Citizen
Link, Focus on the Family, 2005-NOV-29, at:
Copyright © 2004 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2004-AUG-12
Latest update: 2009-AUG-11
Author: B.A. Robinson