UPPSALA, Sweden, October 7, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Swedish evangelical pastor Ulf Ekman spoke out Tuesday against the censorship of Christians, urging listeners to become active politically and to resist efforts by government and other groups who wish to suppress free speech and the criticism of homosexual practices.  Ekman was sued in August for so-called “hate speech against homosexuals,” after criticizing the homosexual lifestyle in a homily at the Uppsala Word of Life Church (UWLC), which he founded in 1983. Charges were dropped three days later.

“There is a deliberate political move in all of Europe toward restricting the freedom of religion, with Sweden serving as a sort of European Union pilot project,” Ekman said in an interview published in October’s “Charisma” magazine. “Unless we now claim the freedom to preach the gospel in all of its facets and consequences, we soon will not be allowed to preach it at all,” Ekman said.  Ake Green, the pastor of a Swedish Pentecostal church in Kalmar, Sweden, was sentenced to one month in prison by a Swedish court in July, for inciting hatred against homosexuals. Green was prosecuted in January for “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon he preached last summer citing Biblical references to homosexuality.  Few pastors have stood up to defend Green, saying his choice of words, that “abnormal sexual practices are like a cancerous growth on the body of society,” were unwise and too inflammatory. Speaking to a conference attended by 5,000 at the UWLC Tuesday, Ekman criticized his colleagues, saying that, “I, too, would have chosen other words [than pastor Green], but that is not the issue. The freedom of religion and of speech are interrelated. We must stand up for the right of all citizens to believe and speak without government censorship.”  Ekman encouraged the European Church to “lay aside its timidity, its policies of silence and compromise, and raise its voice now, or [the believers] will soon be facing very dangerous times indeed. The agenda of the political left in Europe—socialists and liberals—is by no means secretive. The church must get involved politically, too, forming a counter-lobby.”“We must preach the gospel unashamedly,” he added. “I firmly believe that revival can turn a country around, but revival does not come without our preaching a supernatural gospel.”  Read the Charisma article on-line, at: http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=9860   Read the related LifeSiteNews.com report: Swedish Pastor Sentenced to Month in Prison for Preaching Against Homosexuality http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jul/04070505.html   Tv