Pastor jailed for preaching against homosexuality....what are your thoughts?

Amy 2008/11/08 16:53:30
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Swedish Pastor Faces Jail for Preaching against Homosexuality

Lee Duigon » Bio
Posted on November 15, 2005

A Swedish pastor who preached a sermon on the Biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior is waiting to see if the Supreme Court of Sweden will send him to jail for six months for doing so.

Ake Green, the pastor of a small-town Pentecostal church, delivered his sermon in 2003 and has been in the prosecutor’s crosshairs ever since. Charged with violating a Swedish hate speech law that protects homosexuals from “intimidation” and “agitation,” he was sentenced to a month in jail last year by a district court. An appeals court overturned his conviction, but the prosecutor has appealed to the Supreme Court and has asked that the 68-year-old pastor’s jail term be increased to six months.

The Supreme Court heard arguments this month and is expected to rule sometime next year.

Hate Speech?
Pastor Green’s sermon, entitled “Is Homosexuality Genetic or an Evil Force that Plays Mind Games with People?”, carefully cites Bible passages demonstrating that sodomy, in the eyes of God, is a sin. He warns that Sweden, because of its embrace of homosexuality, may be in acute danger of God’s judgment. He teaches that persons guilty of this sin, by repenting and relying on God’s grace, can be freed from bondage to it and saved.

The pastor backs up everything he says with verses from the Bible. At no point does he advocate violence against homosexuals, condone hatred or rejection of them, or recommend any action but prayer and the preaching of the gospel (for the complete text, see http://www.faithandaction.org/10604Oscarsson.htm).

Nevertheless, homosexuals complained and the prosecutor went into action. This is because Sweden has a law that “prohibits the expression of ‘disrespect’ towards favored minority groups,” explained Jared Leland of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (www.becketfund.org), who has written a “friend of the court” brief that has been accepted into the record by the Swedish Supreme Court.

The Becket Fund, Washington, D.C., is an official nongovernmental organization (NGO) that consults with the United Nations.

“Pastor Green’s entire speech was based on Biblical interpretation,” Leland said. “It does not threaten anyone; it does not call people to action to place the public order in disarray.”

The Swedish law, he said, is similar to a notorious Pennsylvania law against “ethnic intimidation” under which 11 Christians were arrested and jailed in Philadelphia last summer when they tried to preach at a city-funded homosexual street fair. A city judge dismissed the case.

“Ultimately what’s at stake here is religious expression,” Leland said. “A religious expression was made that offended a prominent minority, and the offense was in the eye of the beholder.

“The issue is not homosexuality. It’s religious expression and conviction, and the right of preachers to preach about religious interpretation from the pulpit.”

Leland wrote an article in defense of the pastor. It was widely published in Sweden last year, and the response surprised him.

“It got a very hostile response from Swedish newspaper columnists,” he said. “They all say, ‘You don’t understand our culture. This man should go to jail for two years — not six months!’”

A Matter of International Law?
The Becket brief to the Swedish Supreme Court argues that Sweden’s hate speech law and the prosecution of Pastor Green violate international treaties and conventions on human rights signed by Sweden.

This is “of concern” to the Swedish government, said Claes Thorson, press counselor at the Swedish Embassy in Washington.

“This is the first time this law is being tested in court,” Thorson said. “I believe the pastor deliberately tried to test the law.”

The intent of the law, he said, is “to safeguard minorities … and I believe it does.”

Sweden is interested in the survival of Christianity in Sweden, he said, adding that he did not believe the prosecution of a preacher for preaching constituted a threat to the church.

Meanwhile, he said, “Hundreds of people have been calling us [at the embassy]” to protest the government’s action against the pastor. (Note to the reader: to add your voice to the protest, phone the Swedish Embassy at 202-467-2600.)

By trying to silence the pastor, Leland said, Sweden has violated Articles 18, 19, and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a treaty Sweden signed in 1971. According to the Becket Fund brief, this treaty guarantees “the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion” (Article 18), freedom of expression (Article 19), and the protection of religious opinion (Article 26).

“We are only making sure that Sweden stands up for principles she signed on to,” Leland said. “Sweden is a country that really does care about its international image. Sweden does want to maintain a respectable image.”

Elsewhere in Europe
Sweden isn’t the only European country where, in spite of international human rights treaties, opposing the homosexual agenda can be dangerous.

In England in 2002, an elderly man named Harry Hammond appeared in public carrying a sign that read, “Stop immorality. Stop homosexuality. Stop lesbianism.” Mr. Hammond was assaulted by hecklers, who knocked him down. When the police arrived, they arrested Hammond, not his attackers. Under the Public Order Act 1986 — which makes it a crime to display any sign or placard that might give offense within the sight or hearing of anyone likely to take offense — Hammond was fined 300 pounds, plus 395 pounds in court costs.[1]

In this case, comments Issues & Views, “the Human Rights Act proved as useless in the defense of traditional values as it is useful in advancing radical ones.”

In Ireland, as reported in the Irish Times, August 2, 2003, “Clergy and bishops who distribute the Vatican’s latest publication describing homosexual activity as ‘evil’ could face prosecution” under Ireland’s 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act. Ireland is a mostly Roman Catholic country, but the promulgation of church teaching on homosexuality strikes the Irish Council for Civil Liberties as a potential criminal offense.

This fall, the European Union threatened Poland with the loss of its EU voting rights unless Poland’s new president abandoned his opposition to “gay rights.”[2]

Many countries, Leland said — including those with seats in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, like Sudan, Cuba, and China — routinely ignore the human rights treaties that they’ve signed. Others, like England and Ireland, enforce them selectively.

Can It Happen Here?
Hate speech bills — usually aimed at making the homosexual agenda immune to public criticism — come up in the U.S. Congress every year.[3]

According to Leland, the U.S. government has signed on to most of the human rights treaties, including the ICCPR. What concerns us is that “domestic law does not trump international law,” as Leland put it. Have we subordinated our Constitution and Bill of Rights to international treaty? These treaties, as applied in Europe, have been used to support homosexual militancy and persecute its opponents — including, now, a preacher in his pulpit.

California last year enacted a hate speech law very similar to the one Sweden is using against Ake Green.[4] The Pennsylvania law used against the “Philadelphia 11” has not yet been repealed.

What with international treaties, state laws, and proposed federal laws, for how much longer will America be without a case like Ake Green’s?


[1] http://www.issues-views.com/index.php?article=24037

[2] http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/oct/05102607.html

[3] “Hate Crimes Bill ‘Rides’ Again,” http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=178

[4] “California Hate Speech Law Raises Questions,” http://www.cultureandfamily.org/articledisplay.asp?id=6458&de...

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Top Opinion

  • Mike 2008/11/08 22:44:56
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    Hang on to your hats. America is next. We will be jailed for being believers before it is over. These so called hate crimes are nothing but excuses to trample on the rights of Christians who are preaching God's Word. Vengence is His, He will repay!

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  • Georgie's Girl 2009/01/31 22:49:42
    My thoughts are.....
    Georgie's Girl
    that a preacher has a right to his opinion and interpretation of the bible. If the homosexuals don't like what he has to say, they can go to a different church that does! Not sure if Sweden has "freedom of speech" or not. Maybe this is the REAL problem.

    preacher opinion interpretation bible homosexuals church sweden freedom speech real
  • joanie baloney 2009/01/04 07:21:28
    My thoughts are.....
    joanie baloney
    Hate speech is simply the Thought Police.
    scenario 1- a guy is knocking of a 7-11 and shoots a teenage boy and kills him.
    scenario 2- a guy is knocking off 7-11 and sees a teenage boy in the store who has feminine features and calls him a "fag" and kills him.
    Should said assailant get less time for killing the teen he thought was straight? He will get a longer sentence because in his mind, he didn't like gays. It makes no sense. Does the mother grieve any less who's son is not gay? The killer will get extra time in prison because of what he was thinking.

    what ever happened to "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me" As long as the KKK has a right to have a parade and make public speeches spouting their hate for anyone who isn't arian, everyone has the same right.

    Can you imagine a Christian parade? OOOOH, this country would go nuts!!!!!!!!
    It is going to happen here. It's already happening here. We are surely losing our freedom of speech.
  • Kack 2008/12/30 21:25:16
    None of the above
    Preachers preach. It's what they do. It's their job. I don't happen to be a religious person, but people who do subscribe to a particular religion and who do take the Bible (or other holy book) at face value should be allowed to worship in peace. People who don't like the message are free to leave the church. This is just one more example of political correctness going too far. There are people who think it is wrong and people who do not. Agree to disagree and leave each other alone.
  • SgtCujo 2008/12/25 15:03:40 (edited)
  • Roxi 2008/12/19 08:44:17 (edited)
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    It won't be long before this kind of thing will be happening here in the US. First of all, I think that all hate crime laws are unnecessary and redundant--more PC BS. There are laws on the books to deal with crime because people don't commit crimes against others because they have love for them! Unfortunately, politics, not the circumstances of a case is what usually decides what is designated a hate crime and what is not. Hate crime laws, if allowed to stay on the books in this country will eventually be used to gut the first amendment so I'm not surprised at what happened to that preacher or Harry Hammond.

    It is very hard (and sometimes dangerous) to speak out against gays, pro-choice, and other liberal (socialist) agendas. You will be called intolerant, racist, homophobic and ignorant. I kinda know what I'm talking about--I am a black conservative in a family full of democrats and some of my best friends are democrats! Some people think that "black conservative" is a contradiction in terms but I'm proud to be "Black and Right"! It seems to me that for people who claim to believe in equality and tolerance liberals, gays, pro-choice, and that ilk are the most narrow-minded, hypocritical, intolerant people you'd ever want to meet. There goal is to trample on our sacred tradition..."""""''"

    It won't be long before this kind of thing will be happening here in the US. First of all, I think that all hate crime laws are unnecessary and redundant--more PC BS. There are laws on the books to deal with crime because people don't commit crimes against others because they have love for them! Unfortunately, politics, not the circumstances of a case is what usually decides what is designated a hate crime and what is not. Hate crime laws, if allowed to stay on the books in this country will eventually be used to gut the first amendment so I'm not surprised at what happened to that preacher or Harry Hammond.

    It is very hard (and sometimes dangerous) to speak out against gays, pro-choice, and other liberal (socialist) agendas. You will be called intolerant, racist, homophobic and ignorant. I kinda know what I'm talking about--I am a black conservative in a family full of democrats and some of my best friends are democrats! Some people think that "black conservative" is a contradiction in terms but I'm proud to be "Black and Right"! It seems to me that for people who claim to believe in equality and tolerance liberals, gays, pro-choice, and that ilk are the most narrow-minded, hypocritical, intolerant people you'd ever want to meet. There goal is to trample on our sacred traditions and religious institutions and to, little by little, take God totally out of the equation and create a secular society. They have taken the word "tolerant" and twisted it to mean "total acceptance" of anything and everything. We need to stay alert and ever vigilent and not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in. As my father used to say, "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything".

    We are living in a society where anything goes. If it feels good do it in the road!. Gays are shoving their lifestyle down our throats and down our children's throats by trying to make us believe that their lifestyle is normal--well, its not! Since they cannot reproduce, their only way of building a strong political base is to recruit. But, oh, don't say a word against them or else you are "intolerant", homophobic, old-fashioned and/or ignorant. If you believe in securing our borders, not giving illegal aliens drivers' licenses and other benefits to which they are not entitled, or the creating of "sanctuary cities" and don't go along with amnesty for people who are in this country illegally but believe they should be deported you are "racist". If you believe that life begins at conception you are a "Bible thumper". If you believe in our Second Amendment rights you're a "gun nut". And, last but certainly not least, if you're black and believe in personal responsibility and not blaming others for you're own failures, or if you don't have a victim mentality or listen to the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Rev. Louis Farrakhan, you are a traitor or you're "acting white"! Where will it end? Something tells me it won't end anytime soon and will only get worse unless the christians and conservatives (of all colors) of this country stand strong, and go out and vote in droves. I am proud to live in a state which just passed a defense of marriage amendment (Arizona) and it made me think that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for this country yet! God help us!
  • God-Cilla (Saviour to the M... 2008/12/18 03:30:57
    My thoughts are.....
    God-Cilla (Saviour to the Masses)
    This guy shouldn't go to jail for being a jerk. I'm a Christian and support ALL gay rights, including gay marriage. Maybe a fine wouold be sufficient for this asshole who perpetuates the sereotype that Christians are bigots.
  • gmanj77 2008/12/13 14:48:49
  • Free American~~Live FREE or... 2008/11/24 16:21:35
    My thoughts are.....
    Free American~~Live FREE or DIE~~
    I think it is very disgusting that a preacher will be jailed on his religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is what our country was founded on. We need to fight things like this from happening here. It is coming!! All Christians with sound beliefs will be prosecuted. If we are not willing to be liberals, they will prosecute us. Hold on America, it's almost here. We will revert back to the 1500's and be jailed for our beliefs!!!!
  • Ojos40 2008/11/20 00:31:18
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    Any preacher worth his salt will preach against this. My fear is that America will become more like Europe in this regard. It is also a flagrtant example of liberalism's hypocrisy. They preach tolerance but then try tp penalize speech with which they disagree.
  • Rileymo 2008/11/19 14:49:16
    No preacher shoud say anything against homosexuals...
    Love is hard enough to find in this world. Preachers should only speak of love and acceptance... Turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor, do unto others... When people use religion as a device to propagate hate they need to be dealt with swift and hard.
  • Ojos40 Rileymo 2008/11/22 00:29:54
    Just what is it we're supposed to accept? This answer sounds like typical liberal hypocrisy. They always preach tolerance and acceptance, but they sure go out of their way to harass and punish those that disagree with liberal conventional wisdom.
  • Rileymo Ojos40 2008/11/25 13:56:06
    Not liberal, CHRISTIAN. The God I know to be true is the one who let his son CHRIST die for our sins, and God is the only one to judge- it is not up to us. We are mere humans, not perfect, and until God himself tells me who is and isn't acceptable, I will treat all as valuable souls who deserve compassion, and if you can't do that then you must not have any God in your heart at all- to hate is evil and a sign of the devil.
  • Ojos40 Rileymo 2008/11/25 19:09:05
    Yes, Christ did die on the cross for our sins. However, we must accept that payment as the only way to get our sins paid for. In addition, the Bible is very clear in its opposition to homosexuality. I say anyone who tolerates homosexuality is from the devil and a godless, wretched reprobate! By the wa, Chrisitians are to judge certain matters.
  • Rileymo Ojos40 2008/11/25 20:02:59
    To say it is for a Christian to judge is a creation of man not God. It's not the way of God. It is between them and God, I can only live the way I hope God is proud, but to preach against love between people is wrong, and if that is anti-christian then so be it. I know Jesus and God, and I know they would rather have a world of peace and love then hate, violence and slander- judge not is how I was raised in a very religious household. Love thy neighbor, treat others as you wish to be treated- is that too much to ask? If it is, at least I know I'm going to heaven- not using God to further my own agenda and bigotry and fascism and hate. Actually, didn't Hitler take the same stance?
  • Ojos40 Rileymo 2008/11/25 23:59:42 (edited)
    It is asinine to say judgement is a creation of man. We judge all the time. When we decide who we're going to date or marry (not homo relationships--they are NOT valid), we make judgements. When we decide what kind of car we're going to buy, we make another judgement. Also, what do you think judges do when they make a decision in a lawsuit or pass sentence on a criminal? Well, duh, they JUDGE!! The verse you're talking about is admonishing us not to criticize someone for a particular sin when we're guilty of that same sin! By the way, it's a crying shame that the Swedish pastor doesn't relocate to the USA. Decent God-fearing folk would love to have him here! By the way, your "god" so-called must be some worthless, pantywaist deity that doesn't stand for a cotton-picking thing!
  • Rileymo Ojos40 2008/11/26 15:08:36
    Decent God Fearing doesn't make sense. No one should ever FEAR God. And I hope Jesus knows what you just called him- you can answer for your own issues when you come before him. I feel very sorry for you to have to live with the hate you have in your heart for your fellow man. You are a very sad individual- I bet you kick puppies too.
  • Ojos40 Rileymo 2008/11/26 20:36:20
    Proverbs 1:7 says the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is also a reverential respect. So, it makes perfect sense to say decent, God-fearing. Remember, God is love, but He is also a God of judgement when His patience runs out.
  • Rileymo Ojos40 2008/11/26 21:02:48
    God of judgement yes, but we are not God so who are we to judge?
  • Ojos40 Rileymo 2008/11/26 21:10:57
    Again, it is asinine to say that. As I've said before, that verse is talking about not condemning someone for a particular sin when you are guilty of the same one. While I condemn homosexuality, I do not advocate violence against homosexuals. Their lifestyle is wicked, and that is that.
  • Amy Ojos40 2008/11/26 23:17:27
    The Bible also tells us to judge them on their works! I agree with you!
  • Rileymo Ojos40 2008/11/28 13:32:25
    I am glad to hear you say that- we will agree to disagree on lifestyle and wickedness. We agree on the same fundamentals, and I can appreciate and respect your opinions on this.
  • God-Cil... Rileymo 2008/12/18 03:36:22
    God-Cilla (Saviour to the Masses)
    I very much agree with you, Rileymo.
    Ojos40, you're mean.
  • Rileymo God-Cil... 2008/12/18 12:38:51
    Thank you!
  • PimpBO Rileymo 2008/11/22 04:00:11
    Swift and hard? Where is the love in that? Maybe YOU should take a spoon of your own medicine
  • Rileymo PimpBO 2008/11/25 13:56:40
    Sounds like you are using the church to sing the praise of the devil.
  • Plantgypc 2008/11/19 12:48:02
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    The bible says homosexuality is wrong. If you don't like what your preacher is preaching change preachers. But then you are like Obama people only hearing what you want to hear and not listening to the truth.
  • Watchman 2008/11/18 16:19:39
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    It's comming here too! Truth cannot be spoken for someone will be offended. If the Truth does not offend you you are either in right standing or you ignoring it! Truth was designed to offend us for God is Truth.
  • Amy 2008/11/16 20:10:23
    My thoughts are.....
    that we Americans shouldn't look so far in the world to see the misery: It is right here! We are the ones building schools only for homosexuals, homosexual children get killed in public schools and we are the ones who just took the right from homosexuals to be married: http://theworldspeaks.info/ar...

    So, no excuse, others also do faults, but before judging them we should clean our own vests.
  • greedy gay amy 2008/11/13 16:23:08
    No preacher shoud say anything against homosexuals...
    greedy gay amy
    Sweden is a very progressive country. They don't put up with bigotry especially from community leaders. He has to follow the laws of the land. I guess he should have known better.

    In this country, the mormons better watch the politicing and the money that they give to anti-gay political causes or they may lose their tas exempt status. The same to churches who told their parishioners how to vote in this election. Personally, I'm for churches losing their tax-exempt status because religion has become so political, and they just won't stay out of it.
  • Fidelito greedy ... 2008/11/13 16:50:16
    You little lesbian, you! At your age, and haven't grown-up from your perversions yet! Lol!!!
  • PimpBO greedy ... 2008/11/22 04:10:42
    I'm all for universities loosing their tax exempt status too because their socialist liberal agenda has become their religion that they want to shove down everyone elses throat.
  • Fidelito 2008/11/13 14:10:59
    Preachers are just teaching the truth.....
    Preachers are just telling the truth, homosexuality is a sin and if they get thrown in jail for quoting the Bible. Preachers are just going to have to find themselves another line of work. Christians watch your ass! Lol!!!
  • greedy ... Fidelito 2008/11/13 17:35:04 (edited)
    greedy gay amy
    People are not supposed to judge; only god can judge! The bible can be interpreted in many ways, and the bible says nothing about loving gay/lesbian relationships and niether did Jesus. I'm a sinner and so are you. But, my sin is not being gay; I was born this way!!! LOL

  • Fidelito greedy ... 2008/11/13 17:46:29
    Hey! I don't have a problem with lesbians. I'm also a lesbian trapped in a man's body. And I eat more p#$$y than cervix cancer. Lol!!!
  • greedy ... Fidelito 2008/11/13 19:30:22
    greedy gay amy
    That's funny!!! LOL
  • PimpBO greedy ... 2008/11/22 04:24:50
    we are all born with sinful urges like to steel, lie, murder, etc. etc. but from the very begining of our lives, we controll those urges. That's what makes us different from animals. We can controll ourselves Just because I feel like I want to steel something from someone else, I know instinctivly that its wrong so I practice self controll. We do it all day, everyday. We don't even pee ourselves, we controll our blatters! And, the part that people often conveniently omit is that after Jesus told the adulter that her sins were forgiven, he then told her to "GO, AND SIN NO MORE!!! Don't try to justify your shame with bogus theology. Yes, we are all born sinners but we also are all born with self-controll.
  • concerned 2008/11/13 01:50:02
    My thoughts are.....
    He should move to the united states ....
  • A'lis 2008/11/13 00:45:03
    My thoughts are.....
    You cannot imprison anyone for speaking their mind. Besides, as a preacher, he just believes he is teaching what the bible says. Which is his job. I hate it when people preach about homophobia being Christian. One can be Christian and accepting at the same time. But as Voltaire said and I agree, " I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
  • Nernie 2008/11/12 01:46:32
    None of the above
  • Lini *In God We Trust* 2008/11/12 00:35:40

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