Pastor Green before the Swedish Supreme Court

After Pastor Green's acquittal by the Appellate Court, the Prosecutor-General ("Riksåklagaren") on March 9, 2005 appealed the Appellate Court decision to the Swedish Supreme Court ("Högsta Domstolen; HD) in Stockholm, Sweden.  And on May 8, 2005, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case.  The trial was set for November 9, 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden.  The public interest - both nationally and internationally - was very great indeed. 

The hearing was a full day event and the audio link was broadcast live on Sweden's state-owned monopoly (Swedish Radio/TV).  No TV broadcast was allowed.  The format for these proceedings in Sweden was more or less a repetition of the trials of Pastor Green in the Lower Court in Kalmar and the Appellate Court in Jönköping. (Note: If you understand Swedish and want a link to the audio recording of the trial click here. The link is provided by the Ethiopian Jerusalem Evangelical Church JEC in Stockholm.)

Before the court played the recorded sermon, the Prosecution (Stefan Johansson) and the Defense (Percy Bratt) made some initial statements.  Mr. Johansson first gave a brief summary of the alleged criminal acts.  Mr. Bratt then introduced several amicus briefs that various American legal groups had submitted to the court in support of Åke Green.  These briefs were from Advocates Europe (branch of Advocates International), The Becket Fund and The Alliance Defense Fund (an umbrella group for the Family Research Council, Christian Legal Fellowship, Focus on the Family and The Jubilee Campaign).  There were no amicus briefs from Christian leaders in Sweden.  Then the recording of Pastor Green’s sermon was played.  However, this time the voice of Pastor Green on the tape was distorted and came across as a raspy dark voice.  When the defense objected to this they stopped the tape, tried to fix it and claimed that it could not be fixed and that it didn't matter since all the five judges had already heard and understood what was on the tape.  So the distorted sermon was played to the end.
The overall thrust of the charges by the prosecutor ("Riksåklagaren") - presented by Mr. Steffan Johansson - was presented as a balance between the law that guarantees freedom of speech and religion (that has a long tradition in Sweden) and the new law that prohibits anyone from expressing disrespect ("missaktning") or to offend ("kränka") homosexual and bisexual "people groups".

Questioning of Pastor Green
It was a moving and revealing moment when Pastor Green answered a question posed by the Prosecution (Mr. Johansson) "What was the background to this sermon?" ("Vad var backgrunden till den här predikan?").

Pastor Green replied:
"Well, the background was that already in 2002 I experienced a very deep travail in my spirit.  A deep stirring in my soul when realized - and I allude to it in my sermon - that a lot of the things I noticed and observed around me was about the homosexual lifestyle.  It was everywhere.  It was on TV, it was all around me and the media always seemed to allude to the homosexual lifestyle.  Then I felt a deep sorrow in my heart.  And the more it engulfed our society, the more I thought that the leaders of our churches, the leaders of our denominations, the bishops etc. they ought to come forward and proclaim that this is not normal.  This lifestyle is abnormal.  But it did not happen at any time in 2002.  And around the beginning of 2003 I started preparing myself for the sermon I subsequently held on July 20, 2003.  And then, in connection with that, I sensed something very important.  And here I want to refer to a bible verse that i found in Ezekiel 3:17-19:

' Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word of my mouth and give them a warning from me.  When I say unto the wicked: Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, not speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his inequity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. '

What I want to say with this is that I myself have a responsibility as a servant of the Word and then I couldn't only lay it on the shoulders of the leaders of denominations and of the archbishop, but I also have a responsibility according to this scripture to clear my own conscience and to let people know that the way they live is wrong.  And then I declare that if they turn around and follow Christ they will not come under judgment.  And then I let the people decide if they want to keep their lifestyle of homosexuality or turn around.  So, that was the background to the sermon.  It was in early 2003 that I started preparations for the sermon."

End of Green's reply.

With respect to Pastor Green’s statement about the lack of leaders speaking up against the wave of sodomy a couple of examples are in order:

1.  The fact that the Archbishop K.G. Hammar never had (and never will) object to the onslaught of sodomy in Sweden is no surprise to many people.  He and the apostate church he leads (The Swedish Church; swedish "Svenska Kyrkan") is today, sadly enough, reduced to a tool in the hand of the enemy of our souls.  Last month his church voted - with a comfortable majority - to begin an act of blessing homosexual unions in their church.  But first their theology had to be changed for this to happen.  The old testament had already been thrown out the window.  Relegated to what the archbishop refers to as the biblical junk pile (swedish: "skräpkammaren").  But the new testament presented more of a problem.  But it was solved by tweaking the religion a little.  From now on, when his church members read about what Paul and the new testament mean when it condemns homosexuality, it is to be understood that Paul meant it to be limited to promiscuous homosexuality.  The faithful and beautiful homosexuality when a same-gender couple cares for one another in lifelong fidelity is very much something to be desired.  It does of course still introduce a problem for people born with bisexual orientations who want to live in similar lifelong and mutually caring relationship with one partner of each gender.  However, discussions have already started to bless trios and (in case of two bisexual partners) quartets of people as long as they are faithful to each other within the group. The question of whether infidelity of one of the four would break up the union of the other three remains unresolved.

2.  The fact that the leader of Pastor Green's own denomination (Pastor Sten-Gunnar Hedin) has been fairly quiet in this area is more of a surprise.  The Pentecostal movement in Sweden used to be an influential force for Christian morals and ethics.  Not so any more.  Just as an example: sexual activities before marriage among the youth of the church is today almost universally accepted.  The pastor who dares to preach against it would loose not only many youth but also (and more important for revenues sake) their parents.  It's a sad testimony to the movement that as soon as Pastor Green had given his sermon he was immediately "stabbed in the back" by this leader of his own movement. The Pentecostal movement in Sweden used to consist of churches that were fairly independent of a central organization.  Not so any more.  Since a few years back - and with offering drying up - many of the Pentecostal churches (Swedish: "Pingstkyrkor") have now become organized and regulated to avail themselves of the same state-collected "church tax" ("kyrkoskatt") from which the Swedish Church is financed.  But the apostate Swedish Church is in the best position of all.  When they were separated from the Swedish government a few years back they got to keep a great treasure of financial assets that the state church had accumulated over centuries.  They are now able to draw on this wealth for many years to come.  In that way the future of an apostate church in Sweden is guaranteed for a very long time.]

Closing Remarks in the HD Court (Swedish: Slutplädering)
This part of the trial took up most of the time with both the prosecution and defense making statements well in excess of one hour.  The prosecution wanted to make an important distinction between freedom of religion and freedom of speech (or expression) since it's somehow more problematic to place boundaries on freedom of religion than on freedom of speech.  The prosecution therefore argued that Pastor Green's message - since it was his desire to spread it beyond the walls of his church congregation of 50 members - actually had more to do with freedom of speech than freedom of religion.  Therefore the necessary infringement on (curtailment of) such freedoms would apply to the Green case.  Such a line of reasoning fails to recognize that it's very much an integral part of this particular religion (Christianity) to spread the message of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) well beyond the walls of any church building.  The prosecutor then argued that Pastor Green had strongly implied in his sermon that homosexuals were more likely to become pedophiles.  Mr. Johansson made reference to a certain study that showed the opposite to be the case.  This is the same argument that the prosecution made at the trial before the Appellate Court.  It's of course a ludicrous statement.  There is ample scientific evidence that such is not the case.  And it's also well documented how the homosexual lobby (especially in the US) engages in the production of fraudulent research and reports. It's well established in many studies that a homosexual person is about ten (10) times more likely to commit a pedophile act than is a heterosexual person. For a further discussion of these topics click here and click here and see for yourself how the gay lobby in Sweden (RFSL) sings the praises of the pedophilic society in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.

The defense argued that when it comes to reports on who is more inclined to be pedophilic (homosexuals or heterosexuals or bisexuals) there are conflicting reports out there.  Percy Bratt also described at length the parts of the sermon that deals with the grace and forgiveness from sin that's available in Christ.  He then addressed Pastor Green's use of the analogy of sexual abnormalities to "a cancerous tumor in society".  He showed, by example, that this particular analogy is not an uncommon one in today's media and it never carries any connotation of instigation to violence.  It merely implies that something is undesirable and that it has a tendency to spread (as is the case with homosexuality in Sweden today).  In summary, the bottom line in Pastor Green's sermon is that Jesus loves all sinners and is ready to forgive and redeem.  And we as believers must never show disrespect for any person but treat them with the love of Christ even though we can never accept sin itself as something normal and desirable.

There were 5 Supreme Court Justices listening to the case (out of 16 total Justices on the Supreme Court).  Johan Munck chaired the proceedings and Göran Regner was the "referent" who is supposed to be the one most familiar with a given case.  The other three sitting Justices ("Justitieråd") were Severin Blomstrand, Kerstin Calissendorff and Anna Skarhed.  Justice Leif Thorsson was not called to sit even though Bo Svensson (Chief Justice) recognizes his special expertise in this area after buying homosexual sex from a 20-year old high school student.

Some people supporting Pastor Green had expressed the hope that the Swedish law guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom of speech would trump the new (internationally unique) Swedish law that criminalizes expressions that can be perceived as disrespect or offense by the homosexual and bisexual communities.  But the new law (criminalizing "disrespect" and "offence") had already passed the criterion of being fully compatible with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and religion.

This is how: In Sweden - as opposed to the US - the legislative branch (Parliament; Swedish: "Riksdag") works in parallel with the judicial branch.  Each new law must pass the an institution called "Lagrådet" that tests the proposed law for compliance with the Swedish Constitution.  Thus, the "Lagrådet" has already approved the new law (protecting the homosexual and bisexuals groups from being offended) as being an acceptable infringement on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  Half of the makeup of the powerful "Lagrådet" are Supreme Court Justices (called "Justitieråd").  Presently one of the Justices serving on the "Lagrådet" is Leif Thorsson who was recently caught in the act of soliciting homosexual services from a 20-year young man in Stockholm on a website administered by the all-powerful gay lobby in Sweden (RFSL) and supported by taxpayer money.  Even though such prostitution is actually still a crime in Sweden, Mr. Thorsson - with strong support by the Chief Justice (Bo Svensson) and the other Supreme Court Justices -  got away with only a slap on the hand (a minor token fine).  For more information about this recent scandal click here.

With such strong homosexual support on the Supreme Court, combined with the fact the the new law has already been determined by the Lagrådet to trump the freedom of speech/religion, it no longer seemed a question of if but for how long Pastor Green would have to serve time in prison for his beliefs.  But there were also those who believed that the fact that the Supreme Court has been criticized by some due to the scandal surrounding Leif Thorsson and Bo Svensson - combined with the fact that the Appellate Court actually acquitted Green - might provide a politically motivated impetus in the direction of an acquittal. 

Rally for Åke Green
After the trial on November 9, 2005, there was a rally in Stockholm in support of Pastor Green.  It was arranged by Riksförbundet Kristen Tro och Livsstil (RKTL) with support from other Christian groups like Jerusalem Evangelical Church which is a church of Ethiopian immigrants in Stockholm.  Click on the link titled “Marchen till stöd för Pastor Åke Green…” to view video clips from the March.  Some 500-700 believers of the Bible marched from the Court Building to Sergels Torg where the rally was held.  This shows that there is still a remnant of a true church in Sweden.  Even though the homo lobby and it's sympathizers can easily muster many time this number of people, that's not the way to look at it.  Since this is a battle between good and evil we have the Savior by our side.  We have read the last chapter of the Bible so we are always full of Hope.  Through prayer God can always turn things around in the most wonderful way.  He specializes in turning that which the enemy meant for evil into something good.

The Verdict
The much anticipated verdict was announced on  November 29, 2005:
Not guilty on all counts !  Needless to say, it was of great relief to Green's supporters and of disappointment to his enemies.  In an interview with the paper Svenska Dagbladet (the Swedish Daily) the chairperson, Justice Johan Munck explained the verdict as follows:
"If we had only considered an interpretation of the Swedish law, then Pastor Green would have been convicted.  The background to the law are very clear and there is no dispute over that.  But when we considered the European Court, charged with interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights, then we could do nothing but acquit.  We are convinced that a guilty verdict would not have been held up in the European Court."
It could not have been stated with any more self-incrimination than that.  To pass a law, and have it approved by the "Lagrådet" (with Supreme Court participation) only to determine when tested that the law is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The written adjudication of the case is discussed in detail in the main text of this website and is not repeated here.  The law is still in effect to this very day!