Ain’t enough freedom in this town for the both of us

A Swedish court sentenced a Pentecostal pastor to one month in prison after finding him guilty of offending homosexuals in a sermon.
[…] Soren Andersson, president of a Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, said religious freedom is never a reason to offend people.

(Emphasis mine)

And so the grand tradition of liberation continues: as soon as your own prized freedoms are recognized, proceed to stomp on everybody else’s. (Hat tip: erudito).

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8 Comments

  1. I did read what was presented. I do appreciate the overall concept of people gaining leverage and then limiting others. But I am curious, if instead of gay, the word black had been used, would it read more like incitement to hatred to you? Re-read it and imagine the word black in there and see how it sounds.

    1. I find it abhorrent and contrary to the spirit of christianity either way. But I’m in favor of stringent standards for determining what constitutes incitement. I don’t think people should be held culpable for inciting violence unless they are explicitly advocating violence in a context that makes it likely to be heeded and acted upon. Even then, I’m not sure they should be prosecuted until after an actual crime has been committed as a result. I’m not a big fan of punishing people for actions which might have lead to harm.

      1. devils advocate spirit

        unless they are explicitly advocating violence in a context that makes it likely to be heeded and acted upon.

        One could argue that to tell a potentially devoted congregation that these people are quite directly and literally performing the work of Satan does carry an implicit incitement to violence. No matter what christian values _should_ be, one has to be realistic when speaking publically. And realistically if you convince people a group is doing the work of satan, they experience violence and unnecessary additional hostility and added discrimination.

        Also per this site’s own reference, Johan Candelin, a Finnish Lutheran pastor. “If the bill passes, it will place Sweden on level with China, with the state defining which theology is permissible.” That to me, is MUCH more of a stretch than the presumption that this sermon was a hate speech.

    2. I sort of had the same reaction. I believe in freedom of speech, and think this law is insanity, but I can see why they chose to go after him, as his comments were rather venomous.

      I’m in the same boat as avdi, in that speech that is determined to have incited a crime should have a direct causal link to be proven in court.

  2. Typical Sweden, from what I know…

    Sweden’s kinda a weird country…
    Socialized medicine–which is way cool there.. and a really good educational system… but then again, they have the weirdest restrictions on alcohol–it is a state owned monopoly that keeps track of how much you buy and will only sell you so much… (needless to say the Swedes go on massive drinking binges in Denmark and piss the Danes off to no end…)

    Reading the article.. such things obviously wouldn’t happen here… but I have no idea what the hate speech laws in Sweden are like.. They might be a lot stricter… and in that case.. the Pastor should have known what penalties he might have to pay…

    Would I like such a law here.. no.. I think you should be allowed to spew such venom up to a point.. just like I should be allowed to wear my Negativeland “Christianity is Stupid. Give up.” T-shirt even though it almost certainly offends a number of people….

    On a different, although somewhat related point…
    I know in Germany, because of its past, you have freedom of speech except if you are talking at all about anything related to Nazism–i.e. all Neo-Nazi propaganda and paraphanelia is illegal there…

    This also goes against our notions of freedom… but I’m not sure that I would argue against it..

    1. Re: Typical Sweden, from what I know…

      They might be a lot stricter… and in that case.. the Pastor should have known what penalties he might have to pay…

      Reading the article, it appears this was a test case for a recently-enacted law.

    2. Re: Typical Sweden, from what I know…

      Socialized medicine–which is way cool there.. and a really good educational system…

      I’ve also read (it was a long-ass academic article, I don’t recall where) they their economy is hopelessly shot and they have the highest absetneeism rate in the world due to progressive taxes and a welfare system which effectively removes any incentive to work. Know anything about this?

      1. Re: Typical Sweden, from what I know…

        I wouldn’t say that their economy is hopelessly shot… From my experience.. especially when I lived in Europe, the Scandinavians were considered quite rich…

        and looking at the CIA factbook.. they appear, at least as of 2003, to have a 4.6% unemployment rate and a GNP per capita (purchasing power parity) of $26,800.. which puts them pretty close to the UK and Germany (around $27,600-700 in purchasing power parity)…
        In addition, in 2002 and 2003 they still had siginificant budget surplusses…

        As for the absenteeism rate.. that is probably quite high… most of the big welfare states in Europe suffer from such problems… (Germany was quite bad).. and Germany’s welfare system was quite insane by my standards…
        Yet.. despite all these things.. they still have a pretty decent economy that is one of the best in the world in terms of standards of living.. and if we would try to measure countries’ economies by the rate of poverty that they had.. then I’m sure that Sweden would kick our asses…

        Would I want to live there.. prolly not… but when I lived in Germany, there were definitely things that I thought were a hell of a lot better than here… and if I had my way.. I would try to pick something about half way in between here and there…

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