• Sweden edition
 

Swedish lesbian pastor denied job for being 'one of those'

Published: 18 Jan 2011 17:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Jan 2011 17:06 GMT+01:00

The 39-year-old pastor was applying for a temporary position with the diocese in Strängnäs to fill an extended vacancy, which had for the time being been filled by retired pastor in his seventies.

While at first responding with enthusiasm upon receiving an application from the woman in June, the vicar subsequently told a fellow diocese employee that he knew the applicant was "one of those."

When the employee asked if the vicar was referring to the applicant pastor's sexual orientation, he added that he had promised the diocese leadership that none of "them" would be allowed to join the diocese.

He went on to express concerns about having a lesbian pastor and her girlfriend living on parish grounds and about having her instruct confirmation classes.

In early August, the pastor emailed another staff member at the diocese to inquire about the status of her application, but received a response that the person was on vacation.

In the message, she questioned why the parish would choose to have a retired pastor over a younger unemployed pastor.

Shortly thereafter, the vicar emailed the 39-year-old to say that her services were no longer required by the diocese and that the elderly pastor would continue in the position.

Two weeks after receiving the vicar's rejection, the lesbian pastor received a response from the staff member she had originally emailed which referred to the parish's preference for older pastors as a latent form of discrimination.

At the time, the applicant pastor assumed the email referred to age discrimination.

In September, however, she learned about the vicar's previous statements about her sexual orientation and realised that she had been passed over for the job because she was a lesbian.

"This is an important case because it involves exactly the kind of thing that we don't think should be allowed to happen," Vida Paridad, a lawyer with the Örebro Rättighetscenter, an anti-discrimination organisation which helped the pastor with her case, told The Local.

"Namely, that someone be denied a job, not because they lack the right skills or competence, but because of their sexual orientation," she explained.

According to Paridad, her organisation generally attempts to get the parties involved in discrimination cases to sit down to discuss the matter in order to reach a common understanding.

After the vicar refused repeated attempts for a meeting to discuss the matter, the rights group in turned filed a complaint on her behalf with Sweden's Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO) on behalf of the pastor.

While proving workplace discrimination is always hard, Paridad was confident about the lesbian pastor’s case.

"It's seldom that you have an independent witness who can testify that discrimination has taken place. But, in this case we have someone who has come forward and that makes this a very strong case," she said.

When reached for comment by the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, the vicar, who now works as a pastor in another parish, refused to comment.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

18:01 January 18, 2011 by pantheratigris
Maybe the vicar interpreted "one of those" as the applicant being a child abuser or sth. haha Since it's about church we are talking about you never know what's around the corner lol
18:54 January 18, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Since this article apparently refers to the Church of Sweden (as if no other church exists), who really gives a damn? It's a sh*tty church that lost it's way long ago.
20:07 January 18, 2011 by voiceofreason
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:50 January 18, 2011 by Roy E
This is nonsense.

How would a cop that violates the law be any different?
21:13 January 18, 2011 by calebian22
The Church of Sweden is a secular institution and not actually a house of God, so this discrimination case has merit. This would be news if this story was occurring in a free church.
22:11 January 18, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@calebian22 You are absolutely correct. The Cof S is indeed a secular institution. Unfortunately it is paid for (in a large part) by the tax payers of Sweden.
22:19 January 18, 2011 by Roy E
@calebian22

So in other words, it's an utter fraud.
01:32 January 19, 2011 by Larry Thrash
The Swedish diversity gods should check into the diversity of Muslim Mosque in Sweden. I wonder how many lesbians they have as imams?
08:59 January 19, 2011 by Puge Henis
Church of Sweden - clown school.

Always makes me laugh though!

The church of Sweden should be taken in the same as the church of Scientology - morons galore!
09:41 January 19, 2011 by laura ka baal
@Larry Thrash.

Unfortunately the dont have, but you are right since its written in New Bible that gays and lesbians are allowed Ohh! so sorry what i meant was the New Home Made "Tampered Bible".
13:51 January 19, 2011 by beefinswede
Apart from a few diehard poisonous bigots like the ones above, most people realise that gay people do in fact have equal rights including employment rights. Good luck to the female pastor with her case, it sounds like she has a good chance of winning.
16:35 January 19, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@beefinswede You're totally missing the point but then again you want to miss it. The point is NOT that a lesbian pastor is being denied employment but rather that the C of S is a state sponsored, apostate, fraudulent joke that no longer believes in the New Testament. A document I doubt you have ever read.
18:55 January 19, 2011 by glamshek
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:08 January 19, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@glamshek It's time for the nice nurse to take you back to your room so you can have some more medicine.
23:06 January 20, 2011 by Aigulle Delaz
C of S is as many have said a 'secular' institution which was separated from the state in 2000 after been used as the prostitute of the state since the times of King Gustav I Vasa and over the years has resembled nothing more than an enforcer of the State. Still, I'm surprise anything resembling Christianity exists in this church.
Today's headlines
National
Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud
The man used a chainsaw to destroy most of the Lidköping home. Photo: Shutterstock

Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud

A man in central Sweden has gone on a rampage with a chainsaw after a family housing dispute took an unexpected turn. READ  

National
Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer
The beggar was detained for almost 24 hours after the accusation. Photo: TT

Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer

A man in southern Sweden has landed in hot water after he stole a tablet computer, gave it to a beggar, then reported her to the police. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden ready to use force to surface sub
The Swedish Armed Forces have sent out 200 troops. Photo: TT

Sweden ready to use force to surface sub

UPDATED: Sweden's military has announced that if it finds a suspect foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago, it is prepared to force it to the surface "with weapons if necessary". READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'
Former navy officer Bosse Linden in Vaxholm. Photo: Maddy Savage

Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'

Stockholm's archipelago is the focus of the biggest military operation in Sweden since the Cold War. The Local is in the region's capital, Vaxholm, to see what residents make of the drama. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Sweden who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

European Union
Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group

The EU group that bound several Eurosceptic parties including the Sweden Democrats has been saved by an MEP from a far-right Polish group, just a week after it appeared to have crumbled, according to a UK press report. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm
Sweden's Armed Forces are out in force after reports of a foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: TT

Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm

The world has had its periscope on Sweden since the Swedish military launched an extensive hunt for what is rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Here is the timeline of events so far. READ  

Business & Money
Profit leap for Swedbank
A branch of Swedbank in Malmö. Photo. TT

Profit leap for Swedbank

Swedbank has seen its profits rise higher than expected. READ  

New coalition
Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition
Stefan Löfven has changed his strategy on sick pay. Photo: TT

Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition

Small businesses won't face rising sick pay costs, following a policy reversal from Sweden's new coalition government. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'

The search for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago continues with "full strength" on Tuesday morning, according to Sweden's armed forces. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,005
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN