Grey Thoughts
1.12.05
 
Christianity, Homosexuality and Consistency
Yesterday, I reported that Swedish Pastor Ake Green was acquitted on charges of Hate Speech by the Swedish Supreme Court.

Krizz, over at his Swedish Law Blog was kind enough to post further information on the case. Curiously, it seems that in the acquittal judgement, the judges stated that Ake was guilty under Swedish Law, but as Ake would have appealed the the European Court of Human Rights, which would have found him innocent, they decided to acquit him.

However, in his post, Krizz made the following comment which needs to be highlighted
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.


Now, if you agree with Krizz then you will probably accept his statement without a thought. However, there is a major logical issue with this statement. It is inconsistent with itself.

You see, it is Krizz's view that it is deplorable to make public 'sick views' and that freedom of religion should not be used to condemn certain behaviours as contrary to religious laws. The problem with Krizz's view is that he is condemning a 'certain behaviour' as 'deplorable'. Where does he get this idea that any behaviour is deplorable? The morality of an action is a strictly metaphysical question, i.e. religious.

So what we really have here is Krizz condemning another persons behaviour because it disagrees with his religious beliefs, the very thing he is condemning. This means that his statement is inconsistent within itself and essentially must be considered a irrational or nonsense position.

The big difference between Ake Green and Krizz is that Ake Green isn't trying to restrict someones freedom to espouse a different point of view. Krizz is.
Comments:
Well said!
 
You say:
” The big difference between Ake Green and Krizz is that Ake Green isn't trying to restrict someones freedom to espouse a different point of view. Krizz is. The big difference between Ake Green and Krizz is that Ake Green isn't trying to restrict someones freedom to espouse a different point of view. Krizz is.”

I agree.

However, Justice Holmes stated that the freedom of speech could not be relied upon by someone falsely crying "fire" in a crowded theater, and I believe that there have to be certain limits to the freedom of speech. The problem in this case is that Åke Green overstepped those limits, a view I seem to share with the Supreme Court of Sweden, but gets of the hook because he said the things he said as a minister and in a sermon. He used his faith and position to protect him in expressing his views.

Finally let me state that I thoroughly believe that Åke Green is sincere in his view that homosexuality is a sin and that gays must be saved. In an earlier blog post I also noted that he closed his sermon with words that you would not normally find in connection with cases of hate crimes:
” The sermon does not seem to fit very well with the kind of language one would expect to see in a speech contrary to the hate crime legislation. Neither does his closing statement in his sermon:” We must never think that some people, because of their sinful lives, would end up outside of grace. Paul says about himself that he was the foremost of all sinners, but he encountered an abundance of grace and mercy….. It is by showing all people grace and mercy that we can win them for Christ. We never win anyone by giving them the cold shoulder.”

Had he used less explicit language, kept to citing the Bible without making totally unsubstantiated remarks about Aids etc., I would in no way find this a problem.
 
I'm curious as to why you equate agree with the court that what he said was the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a theater. At no point does he call for violent actions taken against homosexuals. Whether you agree with his views on AIDS or not, his statements were not inflammatory. What if a homosexual stated that Christians were the source of evil on the earth? Should they get dragged into court over just that statement? I don't think so, even if I disagree with the statement. Unless someone is advocating or calling for violence, freedom of speech is worthless once you start picking and choosing what you think a person should be allowed to say.
 
At no point does he call for violent actions taken against homosexuals.

This is maybe the most crucial point, and obviously one that many people disagree about. In the Swedish debate, which I to some degree have followed, the homosexuality are a cancerous tumor on the body of society ´[my paraphrase] is typically understood as if not a direct call for violence, then at least an indirect call. Åke Green did not pray God for help, he preached that we humans must fix this fault of our society unless the nation should be vomited out of its land by God. He said this in connection with a reference to Paul, stating that homosexuals deserve death.

Whether you agree with his views on AIDS or not, his statements were not inflammatory.

This is also a relevant point of the current debate. Swedish courts have sentenced references to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, since that's a proven falsificate, and similarly Green's statements on AIDS were not only false but with a similar tendency directed towards one of the other minority groups that are protected by the anti-persecution law which was the basis for the prosecution.

Unless someone is advocating or calling for violence, freedom of speech is worthless once you start picking and choosing what you think a person should be allowed to say.

This is very true.

However, the law much be equal for all.
 
the homosexuality are a cancerous tumor on the body of society ´[my paraphrase] is typically understood as if not a direct call for violence, then at least an indirect call.

If someone says that racism is a cancer on society does that mean that person is calling for the death of racists? And just because someone says that people have to do something and not wait on God is not necessarily a call to violence. In this context, it means working to help people stop sinning in their homosexuality and work to stop condoning it in the law. Finally, the Paul quote means deserving of death in God's judgement, not man's. It is very simple to construe almost any statement of disagreement as a call to violence if you want to silence critics. That is why the standard should be a direct call for violence.

Swedish courts have sentenced references to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, since that's a proven falsificate...

Again, you follow a dangerous path when you state that speech is only allowed if it is true. That implies that someone gets to decide what is true which is usually the state. This means, if they don't like what someone is saying, they just claim that the statements are false and therefore can prosecute the person/group.

However, the law much be equal for all.

Yes, I bet you can find Swedish homosexuals who have made statements as bad as Green and yet have not been prosecuted.
 
What do you do against a cancer?

You either cut it away, or you poison it.

Pastors are not yet a minority group that like blacks or Jews needs protection from persecution.
 
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