January 29, 2005


Swede's Sermon on Gays: Bigotry or Free Speech? (Keith B. Richburg and Alan Cooperman, January 29, 2005, Washington Post)

One Sunday in the summer of 2003, the Rev. Ake Green, a Pentecostal pastor, stepped into the pulpit of his small church in the southern Swedish village of Borgholm. There, the 63-year-old clergyman delivered a sermon denouncing homosexuality as "a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society" and condemning Sweden's plan to allow gays to form legally recognized partnerships.

"Our country is facing a disaster of great proportions," he told the 75 parishioners at the service. "Sexually twisted people will rape animals," Green declared, and homosexuals "open the door to forbidden areas," such as pedophilia.

With these words, which the local newspaper published at his request, Green ran afoul of Sweden's strict laws against hate speech. He was indicted, convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He remains free pending appeal.

U.S. law regulates what can be said about individuals, but it generally protects speech directed against groups, however harsh, allowing Ku Klux Klan leaders and neo-Nazis, for example, to state their ideologies publicly. But in Europe, laws banning such speech and similarly controversial symbols are common.

Such speech?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2005 8:37 AM

OJ: good catch; this is not reporting

Posted by: Palmcroft at January 29, 2005 4:16 PM

Although not explicitly stated in these laws, it is generally accepted that speech or displays attacking America, Israel or citizens thereof, or Christians or Jews are by definition not hate displays, because - you know - they kind of deserve it.

Posted by: Daran at January 29, 2005 4:38 PM

when folks on the radical right talk its considered hate speech. when progressives, realists, etc. talk its considered an expression of righteous anger.

Posted by: Dave W. at January 29, 2005 8:57 PM

"Progressices," "Realists?" What the H**l is he talking about?

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 30, 2005 9:41 AM

"Progressices," "Realists?" What the H**l is he talking about?

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 30, 2005 9:42 AM