As mentioned in an earlier post, the Supreme Court of Sweden has found the Swedish pentecostal minister Åke Green not guilty in spite of his sermon containing inflammatory and sick views on gays. Among other things he said:” 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. Not even animals can avoid the fiery passion of man's sexual lust.”
The Court’s reasoned as follows.
- Green is guilty under Swedish law unless the rules of freedom of speech or of religion in the Swedish constitution and/or in the European Convention on Human Rights prevent this.
- The court found that the Swedish constitution did not prevent the Court from finding Green guilty.
- The European Court of Human Rights has interpreted the rules of freedom of speech and of religion in the European Convention on Human Rights in such a way that a guilty verdict by the Supreme Court of Sweden would probably be overturned by the European Court. Consequently, the Court found Åke Green not guilty.
In my view the important conclusion to draw from the verdict by the Supreme Court of Sweden is that it has made it clear that the statements by Åke Green were fully within the criminalized area of the Swedish hate crime legislation and that, without of the cloak of religion, he would have been found guilty.
It is deplorable that a person like Green is allowed to make public his sick views. In my opinion it is a flagrant misuse of the freedom of religion. This freedom should only be interpreted to permit the exercise of any and all religion (including Islam) and not the condemnation of certain behaviour as contrary to the religious laws of some favourite god.
However, I feel that the verdict, although sending the wrong signals in a society as the Swedish where crimes against gays are on the rise (a 100 % increase in one year), will be of very little general importance. No one of sound mind will interpret the verdict of the Supreme Court of Sweden as a green light for similar attacks on gays. In addition, people like Åke Green are not taken seriously here.