Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Quote The Bible: Go to Jail

"Question: When is a prisoner of conscience not a prisoner of conscience?

Answer: When he has been jailed for saying something politically incorrect.

Ake Green discovered this in 2003. The pastor of a Pentecostal congregation in Sweden, he preached a sermon during which he referred to homosexuality as "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumour in the body of society." He also quoted some of the standard biblical injunctions against homosexuality.

He was denounced to the authorities and charged under a 2002 law which makes it a criminal offence to say rude things about any of the usual privileged groups - that is, women, non-whites, non-Christians, homosexuals and so forth. He stood trial in January this year, and was ... sentenced to imprisonment for one month.

So far as I can tell, his case went unreported in the British media. Certainly, neither Amnesty International nor any other of the human rights groups took up the case. Ironically, it reached the foreign media when it was taken up by the government of a former Soviet satellite. Vladimir Palko is the Slovak Minister of the Interior and Deputy Leader of the Slovak Christian Democrat Party (KDH).

On the 2nd August this year, he spoke up in favour of the right to freedom of speech. In the course of his speech, he referred to the Green case as "a political trial, a violation of the right to freedom of expression". He added: "When I read the report I understood that a crawling tyranny is looming". He later called in the Swedish Ambassador and gave her a lecture on the meaning of human rights.

She replied that "Swedish law states that public addresses cannot be used to instigate hatred towards certain group". She was supported by Kjell Yngvesson, the lawyer who handled the prosecution of Pastor Green: "One may have whatever religion one wishes, but this is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting Bible citations on this topic as he does makes this hate speech".

"Hate speech", of course, means any statement that gives offence to the Establishment - that is, to the network of politicians, bureaucrats, educators, together with their friends and clients in the media and big business, who gain wealth, power and status from an enlarged, activist state.

Officially, Europe is an area within which the traditional freedoms of thought and belief and speech and association are solidly protected. The various human rights groups generally feel obliged to look to other parts of the world for gross abuses of right. Otherwise, they tend to complain about petty discrimination against non-whites.

Here is as gross an abuse of the right to free expression as can be imagined. A man is sent to prison for stating what is the orthodox position of all Christian churches, and for quoting from The Bible. And this happens in what amounts to a media blackout."

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