Pastor Accused of Hate Speech Acquitted

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.

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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.

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“If two men sleep with each other, or if two women do so, it is abnormal, just like pedophilia,” Green said in his testimony.

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