- Population: 8.9 million
- Religions: Lutheran 87%, Other 13%
- Income Per Capita: $25,455.94 year/ $70.71day
- Government Type: Constitutional monarchy
Chief of State: King CARL XVI GUSTAF (since September 1973)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Goran PERSSON (since March 1996)
- Estimated number of lawyers in Sweden is 15,000
- Estimated number of believers involved in the legal profession is 200-300
- The local Christian group is Kristna Juristnätverket (Christian Lawyers Network) and has approximately 60 members. The group was organized in January 2003 in Stockholm and in April 2003 in the city of Gothenburg. The groups currently have no formal structure, but Per Karlsson is taking responsibility for the Stockholm branch, and Carl Hugo Parment and Rickard Colliander are leading the Gothenburg branch.
Major Activities of Christian Lawyers:
- Lunch and dinner meetings.
- E-mail correspondence.
- Lobbying and religious liberty activities.
- Providing assistance to churches.
- Delegates from Sweden are looking forward to the Global Convocation in anticipation of international networking, being inspired by the fact that they are not standing alone, and getting ideas regarding how a stronger Christian lawyers network can be developed.
- Religious Freedom: In June 2004 Pastor Åke Green (a Pentecostal minister) was found guilty of agitation against an ethnic group (homosexuals) by Kalmar District Court in rural Sweden. The court sentenced him to one month imprisonment. The court held that he had showed contempt against the homosexual community and that it was not possible for individuals to “hide behind Bible quotes” in order to express a view that was contrary to Swedish law. The court held that the pastor had “attacked” homosexuals by expounding specific Biblical verses. The state-provided defense counsel has appealed to a higher court and the pastor’s case is likely to become a test case. The public prosecutor has also appealed and requested a six month imprisonment. Please pray for Pastor Green and for his legal team as they seek to challenge a simple attack on religious freedom in Sweden. This case is important as it will set a precedent in Swedish law and if it is not reversed could also influence religious freedom in other European jurisdictions.
- Christian Values: The same-sex marriage issue has been under debate for more than a year. The legal consequences of a partnership and marriage are almost the same. Strong secular lobbying forces want to include same-sex partnerships in the marriage definition.
- A stronger national network, where Christian lawyers give priority to building stronger relationships and to working on common tasks as the group is in the beginning stages of something very important.
ªSweden In Actionª
Two years ago there was a handful of Christian lawyers linked together in Sweden. Under Per Karlsson’s leadership, this small group has grown to over 60 lawyers. As the above Prayer Items indicate, Sweden’s Advocates are on the frontlines defending traditional family values and religious freedom in the Swedish Parliament and in the courts. Recently Per made a presentation on some of these issues at the United Nations in New York City and has been very busy with the important Åke Green case and the same-sex marriage issue.