A Swedish Perspective on California's Gay Marriage Debate

Katherine Britton | Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor | Friday, October 31, 2008

A Swedish Perspective on California's Gay Marriage Debate

October 31, 2008

One look at campaign finance records in California shows the importance of Proposition 8 to both sides of the gay-marriage debate. Total contributions for and against the measure have soared above $60 million, drawing support from Hollywood on one side and conservative Christian organizations on the other.

If passed, the measure would ban same-sex marriage in California, effectively overturning the court ruling that legalized it.

Pastor Ake Green, who flew from Sweden to California to support Proposition 8, has already glimpsed the potential consequences if the measure fails.

In 2002, Sweden’s acceptance of the gay lifestyle led to a new speech law protecting homosexuals from expressions of “disrespect” and “offense,” with a penalty of up to two years in prison.

“When I noticed how sodomy started to invade our country,” Green said, “I was deeply grieved and I prayed to God during a long period of time that some of the Christian leaders in Sweden would react and proclaim what the Bible had to say about this sin.  Finally, when nobody else spoke up about the teaching of the Bible on the subject, it was like the Lord spoke to me: ‘But why don't you yourself proclaim what the Lord has to say about this particular sin.’”

In July 2003, Green preached a sermon detailing the Bible’s stance against homosexuality – along with its message of grace and redemption. He was convicted of “disrespect” and sentenced to one month in prison.

Ironically, the law under which Green was convicted violated existing laws on freedom of religion and speech. He maintains that the law succeeded because Christians did not voice a strong opinion against it.

“This unwillingness to speak up made it possible for the homosexual forces and organizations to force their will on our people. Whether this situation is a parallel or a contrast to the present situation in California remains to be seen.”

But Proposition 8 is itself encouraging to Green, as churches have been the driving force behind the “Yes on 8” campaign.

“[I]t's very promising to see the present campaign for Proposition 8 which tells me that many people in California are actively engaged in important moral issues,” Green continued.

Green, like many Prop 8 supporters, also fears how grade school education will change if the ballot initiative fails. The homosexual agenda has increasingly crept into Sweden’s schools, he said.

Although “No on 8” ads suggest that teaching about gay marriage won’t be required in all public schools, the California Department of Education does mandate that schools with sex education must teach about marriage.

“We have seen time and time again how the homolobby works overtime (and over time) to gradually and systematically gain more influence to indoctrinate our vulnerable children, especially in our schools,” he said. “They want access to our vulnerable children in order to introduce gender confusion into their minds.”

Attorney Stephen Bloom, author of The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues, agreed that gay marriage confuses the younger generation’s moral perception, as such action would undermine a consistent values system.

“When the interpretation of law becomes disembodied from a culture's consistent underlying set of moral values, it becomes very confusing for children to understand what is right and what is wrong,” Bloom said. “Kids are going to be confused by that, just like kids growing up in a dysfunctional home where parents exercise authority arbitrarily will have trouble internalizing a consistent value system.

Green never had to serve his prison sentence, but the impact of Sweden’s pro-gay legislation still haunts him and his country. Swedish Christians’ neutrality in the early stages of the debate have convinced him that California’s debate must be handled differently.

“My advice is this: Stand up in the defense of our children!” Green said. “There is nobody else who defends their interests… Our little children on the other hand (both the present ones and those still not born) have nobody to defend what's in their interest if we remain silent.”