Karl Ritter, AP, Nov. 29
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Sweden’s highest court on Tuesday acquitted a Pentecostal pastor accused of hate speech for having denounced homosexuality as a “cancerous tumor” in a sermon.
Ake Green’s contentious sermon in 2003 was protected by freedom of speech and religion under the European Convention on Human Rights, the Supreme Court said in a 16-page ruling.
Green, 64, became the first clergyman convicted under Sweden’s hate crimes legislation, when a lower court found him guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals. An appeals court overturned the ruling earlier this year, but Sweden’s chief prosecutor appealed the acquittal to the Supreme Court.
In 2003, Green told his congregation that homosexuality was “a deep cancerous tumor on all of society” and warned that Sweden risked a natural disaster because of leniency toward gays. He also said gays were more likely than others to rape children and animals.
“If two men sleep with each other, or if two women do so, it is abnormal, just like pedophilia,” Green said in his testimony.