Pastor Green's Jail Sentence - Lower Court

Pastor Green is a humble and non-pretentious man who pastors a small Pentecostal church in a town called Borgholm, located on the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea.  When we fellowshipped and prayed together in this town in the summer of 2004, God showed me what a fine servant of God that he is.  He most definitely does not want any attention drawn to himself. He is very surprised over the international attention that his legal case has attracted.  Even things like the tasteful website "Tribute to Ake Green" by Dorna's Lighthouse is for him a source of embarrassment rather than pride.

Pastor Green was convicted in Lower Court ("Tingsrätten") in Kalmar, Sweden on June 29, 2004 and sentenced to one month in jail. The charge against him was that the sermon he preached on July 20, 2003 was considered an expression of “disrespect of a group of people”. Well, that’s all it takes under the new Swedish law to put ministers in jail if they dare to condemn homosexuality.  You can read for yourself the English translation of Åke Green’s sermon.  For another discussion of the background to Green’s “crime” and his trial and jail sentence you can go here for information that CBN published in connection with a news story filmed in Borgholm, Sweden.

This is how the applicable part of the new Swedish law reads (Criminal Code Chapter 16; 8 para. – my underlining for emphasis and discussion): “Any person who, through expression or other communication that is disseminated, threatens or expresses disrespect for a group of people or other such group of persons with respect to race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation, shall be found guilty of incitement against a group of people and sentenced to prison in no more than two years or – if considered a minor offense – to fines.  If the crime is considered major the sentence is prison in at least six months and no more than four years. When considering whether the crime is major, special consideration shall be given to whether the communication had an especially threatening or disrespectful contents and had been disseminated to a great number of people in a way intended to create substantial attention.

When you read Pastor Green’s sermon you will notice that he preached both the condemnation by God over the sin of sodomy and also preached about the love, grace and forgiveness that God offers through Jesus Christ.  In no way could the argument be made that Pastor Green’s message was threateningHowever, depending on your point of view, it could certainly be found as en expression of disrespect by someone who lives in this particular sin. No question about that. And that goes for all sins mentioned in the Bible.  Whenever the word of God is proclaimed, some sinners will feel condemned and are brought to repentance, while other sinners feel offended and interpret it as a lack of respect for the way they live.  So, there you go.  The court found that Pastor Green had showed disrespect for the homosexual lifestyle.  And to show such lack of respect for the homosexual lifestyle is nowadays a crime under Swedish law.

If Pastor Green’s crime had been considered "major" then Pastor Green would have got between 6 months and 4 years in jail.  RFSL (Riksförbundet För Sexuellt Likaberättigade - tr. "National Association for equal rights for all sexual orientations") is the group that champions the homosexual agenda in Sweden.  They pushed for a much longer prison sentence - at least 8 months - than the 1 month sentence by the lower court in Kalmar, Sweden.  Whether his alleged crime is “minor” or “major” depended also on whether or not Pastor Green “intended to create substantial attention”.  If Pastor Green - as a dedicated servant of the Lord - heeded the admonition to “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere”, then it certainly ought to be found that he “intended to create substantial attention”.  He could then have been sentenced to between 6 months and 4 years in prison, much to the delight of RFSL.

It's important to notice that the new Swedish law does not make a distinction but lumps together the crimes of “threatening a group of people” and merely “showing disrespect for a group of people”. Both crimes are referred to “incitement against a group of people”. In this way, a person who only expresses disrespect against a group of people can also be labeled as someone who has expressed “incitement against a group of people” (Swedish: "Hets mot folkgrupp").  The charge conveys the wrong impression of a criminal who advocates violence.  Pretty slick by the gay lobby to have the new "hate law" worded that way, isn’t it?  It should also be noted that in Sweden the gay community, represented by RFSL, is to a large extend bankrolled by the Swedish government.

Let’s make it perfectly clear that there is absolutely nothing physically threatening in Pastor Green’s sermon whatsoever. If anything, his sermon included the message of grace, love and forgiveness that is always part of the gospel in that there’s hope for the sinner in Jesus Christ.

But other people have actually expressed messages of hateful incitement to physical violence recently.  The Swedish Muslim website “” recently posted some quite inciting language against homosexuals. Among other things it even stated that “kill those who act it out”. This was brought before the Swedish District Attorney ("Riksåklagaren"), who chose not to look into the matter any further. For more information (in Swedish) click here. One must wonder why the government did not file any charges against the “” with a physical threatening message but opted to press charges against a small-town pastor with love for people in his heart.  Something is certainly sorely out of whack!  One cannot but suspect that it’s the RFSL and their hate of evangelical Christians who are behind this charade.

Pastor Green just wants to preach God’s Truth and Mercy to today’s Swedish generation. Mercy is a wonderful medicine to the hurting soul and Pastor Green conveys it in abundance. But the problem is that without the Truth also being preached, there can be no conviction and therefore no Mercy applied.  Sadly enough many preachers in Sweden today no longer understand that.

Pastor Åke and Hjördis Green at a dinner party