NewsTue Nov 29, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
Swedish Pastor Ake Green Acquitted of Hate Speech against Homosexuals
By Terry Vanderheyden
STOCKHOLM, November 29, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Sweden’s Supreme Court has acquitted Pastor Ake Green of a charge of inciting hatred against homosexuals.
The 5-0 ruling, handed down today, maintained that Green’s sermon was protected by freedom of speech and religion. Green had been convicted and sentenced by a lower court in 2004 for his so-called hate speech. While the media have falsely claimed that Green referred to homosexuals as a “cancerous tumor” on society, Green told the courts he was referring to homosexual acts, not persons. In fact, the only similar reference in his 2003 sermon was this line: “Sexual abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society.” (Read the full sermon here: http://www.akegreen.com/sermon_transcript.htm) An appeals court later overturned the conviction.
Green told Swedish public radio after the ruling, “This means we can continue to speak the way we have, and therefore it feels very good that they have ruled in a way that there should not be any infringement in our way of preaching,” according to an AP report. “I don’t take back what I said,” Green said at his Supreme Court hearing November 9.Â“I still think we should be able to voice our convictions without ending up in jail and if that happens I will be showing how ridiculous things have got.”
Chair of the court, Justice Johan Munck, commenting on the case, said that the judges had taken into consideration earlier judgements passed down by the Court of the European Union in Strassbourg, France.Â“If Ake Green had been convicted for incitement due to his sermon, then in all probability Sweden would have been rebuked in the European Court,” Munck said.
In an interview with Swedish Radio/Television, Munck added, “Considering the circumstances at hand, the Supreme Court finds that it’s likely that the European Court – if it were to adjudicate the case – would find it to be a violation of the European Conventions if Ake Green were convicted due to the statements in his sermon.”
Green, pastor of a Swedish Pentecostal church in Kalmar, Sweden, was given a 30-day suspended sentence in July, 2004, by a Swedish court for inciting hatred against homosexuals. He was prosecuted in January 2004 for “hate speech against homosexuals” for his sermon. In February 2005, an appeals court overturned the conviction, saying it is not unlawful to preach ones beliefs from the pulpit. See http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/feb/05021105.html
Sweden’s chief prosecutor disagreed with the appeal court’s conclusion, claiming the sermon did in fact amount to hate speech, and ordered a review of the case.
Green was initially convicted under Sweden’s new hate crimes law, enacted in 2003, which makes illegal any expressions of “disrespect” or “incitement”“towards a group of people,” including groups with “sexual inclinations.” Those who contravene the hate crimes law can be subject to up to two years in prison. If a statement against any particular group is “especially threatening or disrespectful” or “disseminated to a large number of persons,” the crime is considered “major” and the perpetrator can be subject to up to four years in prison.
“Thank God there is some semblance of normalcy here,” commented Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition Canada and vice-president of the International Right to Life Federation. Hughes said he was very happy with the decision, emphasizing that “Democracy; the rights of churches to speak up . . . all of these things have been aided by this decision.”
Hughes said he is very concerned with the way things are going – particularly in Canada, where “It started with the Canadian government telling pastors that they could not invoke the name of Jesus Christ” at a memorial service for passengers of Swiss Air Flight 111 that went down over Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Hughes related similar events, where Christian pastors, for example, were instructed not to pray at a memorial service for victims of the September 11 terrorist attack in New York City, attended by 80,000 at Parliament Hill. Hughes described such actions by Canadian officials as “nonsense.”
On the other hand, the Swedish ruling is a sign of hope, he said. “It’s a very positive ruling and we thank God for it.”
Focus on the Family Director of International Government Affairs Yuri Mantilla, an international human-rights attorney, also welcomed the news that Ake Green was acquitted by that nation’s highest court:
“Today we have seen Sweden’s Supreme Court uphold true human rights, the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Pastors across that country can now exercise their human rights, without fear of going to prison for transgressing the hate-crimes law used to prosecute Pastor Green. The ruling is consistent with natural law and norms recognized by the international community, which a lower court had violated with the conviction of Pastor Green.”
“It is important to understand exactly what was at stake with this case: the defense of fundamental human rights and a precedent that sets a standard regarding the right to religious freedom and the right to freedom of expression. The effort to send Pastor Green to jail is an example of the dangerous implications of pro-homosexual legislation. Today’s ruling is a victory for those who believe in true human rights and in the key importance of religious freedom around the world.”
See related coverage:
Swedish Pastor Defends Sermon on Homosexuality before Supreme Court
Homosexual Hate Crime Trial of Swedish Pastor Used as an Opportunity for Evangelization
Swedish Pastor Sentenced to Month in Prison for Preaching Against Homosexuality
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Pope’s exhortation is a ‘breach’ with Catholic Tradition: leading German philosopher
April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Catholic philosopher and close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Thursday that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a “breach” with Catholic tradition and directly contradicts the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio.
"If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order."
Professor Robert Spaemann told the Catholic News Agency’s German branch that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”
“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, Spaemann said.
The professor’s remarks were translated by Dr. Maike Hickson in an article at OnePeterFive.
In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II upheld the Church’s longstanding approach to the question of admitting to the Sacraments remarried divorcees, by writing:
…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia seemingly contradicts the above passage by asserting that in certain cases, integrating back into the Church the divorced and remarried and others in “irregular” situations “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then mentions both Confession and the Eucharist.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan criticized Amoris Laetitia for its lack of clarity on the subject. “Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church,” wrote Schneider.
Spaemann also condemned the exhortation’s seeming embrace of “situation ethics” as opposed to universal norms and its call to not judge people’s actions that directly contradict the Church’s sexual ethics.
“When it comes to sexual relations which are in objective contradiction to the Christian order of life, I would like to know from the pope after which time period and under which conditions such an objectively sinful behavior becomes a conduct which is pleasing to God,” said Spaemann.
By turning “chaos into principle” with “one stroke of a pen,” Pope Francis is leading the Church “into the direction of schism,” Spaemann said—and he warned that such a schism would not be “at the periphery, but in the middle of the Church.”
Spaemann also warned that Amoris Laetitia may be used to bully faithful priests. He wrote:
Each individual cardinal, as well as each bishop and each priest is now called to preserve in his field of authority the Catholic Sacramental Order and to confess it publicly. If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order.
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Federally funded community health center may have illegally performed abortions: Report
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A federally qualified health center (FQHC) apparently performed abortions, although nearly all federal funds are forbidden from being used for that purpose, sources tell LifeSiteNews. Now, pro-life congressmen are demanding further investigations into the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to promote abortion-on-demand.
The issue came to light when a federal inspector general's report found that six Americorps volunteers had been acting as "abortion doulas," giving emotional support to women who chose to have abortions.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) allowed the volunteers – who received tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars – to support abortions that took place inside a New York abortion facility run by the Institute for Family Health (IFH).
Americorps “volunteers” illegally supporting abortion at taxpayer expense is an ongoing problem. But there's more to the story.
The IFH proudly advertises itself as a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Federal dollars are restricted from underwriting most abortion at FQHCs, in line with the Hyde Amendment. This does not hold true for the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.
To ease qualms raised by pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and others, on March 24, 2010, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13535. It states that “the Hyde [Amendment] language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers...I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law.”
Pro-life groups warned at the time that an executive order was insufficient to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion, and the law itself had to be amended – or defeated.
Pro-life experts today say Congress must investigate whether the law is being violated and, if so, if the offense is isolated to IFH.
"For years the Obama administration has claimed that the Affordable Care Act and federally-funded health centers do not subsidize abortion, and the president finally signed additional provisions, passed last year by Congress, to ensure that community health centers do not use federal funds to support abortion,” said Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. “Now we learn that CNCS is violating the law by helping women obtain abortions.”
“This blatant violation of federal law by CNCS and AmeriCorps demands that Congress investigate government-funded community health centers,” Grossu said. “It's time for this administration to stop foisting its radical abortion agenda on the American people and using their tax dollars to do so.”
Pro-life advocates have long said that there is no need to fund Planned Parenthood, because federal women's health dollars could be reappropriated to FQHCs, which do not perform abortion.
There are 9,170 federally qualified health centers compared to about 700 Planned Parenthood facilities, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. FQHCs see 21.1 million patients a year, while Planned Parenthood saw 2.8 million people, the institute reported.
The latest example of federal dollars being channeled to support abortion, the law notwithstanding, has undermined some confidence in the FQHCs.
Rep. Diane Black, a pro-life Republican from Tennessee, said, “NACHC didn’t just break the rules; they broke trust with the American people. My constituents expect that federal funding given to our community health centers will be used to protect and enhance people’s lives, not to be a willing partner in their destruction.”
At least two Congressional leaders – the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the chair of the House Health Subcommittee – have promised they will take action immediately.
“Federal law demands that taxpayer dollars are never to be spent on abortion activities. Not one penny. Period. But a disturbing report from an independent watchdog reveals that was not the case with brazen pursuits by the National Association of Community Health Centers,” said Congressmen Fred Upton and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. “The law was violated and this shameful failure of trust will not be tolerated.”
Abortion lobbyists demand Ted Cruz renounce pro-life leader Troy Newman
WICHITA, Kansas, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The nation's largest abortion providers, an abortion lobbying group, and an ultra-liberal political organization are demanding that Senator Ted Cruz cut ties with Operation Rescue President Troy Newman – something that only proves how effective he has been, Newman's organization says.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and People for the American Way are asking Cruz to fire Newman as national co-chair of the “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition, claiming that Newman supports violence.
“Troy Newman’s history of violent rhetoric and harassment toward women’s health providers is truly beyond the pale,” the three say in a letter to Sen. Cruz, linking to quotations from his 2000 book, Their Blood Cries Out.
“What Planned Parenthood and their cohorts call 'violent rhetoric' is really a discussion of Old Testament Bible verses taken out of context,” said Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and co-author of the book Their Blood Cries Out. The work establishes the sinful guilt of abortion before highlighting the mercy available in the New Testament for those who accept Jesus Christ, Sullenger said.
The letter also cites a report from the National Abortion Federation stating that abortionists have experienced an increase in “hate speech and internet harassment” since the release of CMP's undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, “which Newman was a driving force behind.”
“What they call 'harassment' is peaceful activism that is completely protected by the First Amendment,” Sullenger responded.
Newman has consistently denounced criminal action and violence of any kind during his decades in the pro-life movement, Operation Rescue said of the allegations – many of which were circulated to prevent Newman from entering Australia last year.
“Newman’s position on abortion-related violence is clear. He denounces violence against abortion providers as well as the violence perpetrated by the abortion cartel against innocent babies in the womb and their mothers,” Sullenger said.
“Attacking the messenger is the only way they have to try to discredit the hefty volume of evidence against them. This most recent attack is all about manipulating the public’s perception against those who exposed Planned Parenthood in order to deflect attention from their own crimes.”
But the three groups poured vitriolic scorn on Newman. Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, called Newman's role “completely unacceptable...No politician should be allowed to pander to violent anti-choice extremists without being called out.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, "Troy Newman is an anti-choice extremist and misogynist ideologue.”
A Planned Parenthood executive said the choice proved Sen. Cruz and his vice presidential choice, Carly Fiorina, are unfit for office.
“It is not surprising to see Ted Cruz embrace this type of violent extremism -- after all this is the same man who has told malicious lies about Planned Parenthood, would criminalize abortion, and tried to shut down the government” to defund Planned Parenthood, said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This is what the Cruz-Fiorina ticket stands for."
Sullenger dismissed their rhetoric as “a feeble attempt to hurt the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, who they know will seek to enforce the laws against them.”
Cruz has repeatedly stated that, if he is elected president, he will defund Planned Parenthood – before prosecuting them.
Their letter has led to a number of articles in the mainstream media, including Politico, the Huffington Post, and Glamour. The last publication, a feminist magazine aimed at young women, slammed Ted Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina for vice president, telling its readers to “hold on to your uterus.”
“Not one of these publications bothered to reach out to Newman or Operation Rescue’s staff for their response,” Sullenger said.
This morning and afternoon, both sides of the abortion debate have used the Twitter hashtag #FireTroy to get their message across.
Sen. Cruz has not responded to the call, but the letter implies that purging Newman from the campaign would not satisfy the pro-abortion coalition. “There are a number of coalition members whose records raise serious concerns,” they say.