Swedish pastor disowns US hate site

The Local (Sweden)/January 7, 2005
By James Savage

The suffering of "filthy, faggot Swedes" in the South East Asia disaster was punishment from God for Sweden's tolerant attitude toward homosexuality. This is how a website owned by an influential Christian extremist movement in Kansas has reported Swedes' suffering in the tsunami disaster.

Now a pastor in the Pentacostalist Church in Sweden who is hailed as a hero on the site has condemned it as appalling.

Åke Green, a pastor in Borgholm on Öland, is currently appealing a ruling by a court in Kalmar, which sentenced him to one month in prison under Swedish hate crimes legislation. Green had been prosecuted for using a number of anti-gay Bible passages in a sermon.

The court's ruling has made some evangelical Christians view Green as a martyr - and Sweden as a pariah land. The website godhatessweden.com, owned by the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, intersperses praise for Åke Green with comments on the tsunami such as "we pray for all 20,000 Swedes in the tsunami's wake to be declared dead."

The Westboro Baptist Church set up its anti-Sweden site following Green's conviction last June. The church is well known for its focus on sex, and also owns the site godhatesfags.com. The site calls Sweden "perverted, irreversibly cursed of God and damned."

Speaking to The Local, Green has told of his distress that the website is using his name in this way:

"I think it is appalling that people say things like that," he said, "it is extremely unpleasant."

Green said that he has contacted newspapers in the United States to distance himself from the comments on the website. He added that he is surprised that authorities in the United States have not intervened. "This harms Christianity," he said.

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