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Sweden supports churches with anti-gay views: report

The Local/dl · 1 Aug 2011, 12:36

Published: 01 Aug 2011 12:36 GMT+02:00

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Since 2000, when the Church of Sweden officially separated from the Swedish state, religious groups in Sweden, including the church, have been allowed to seek money from the state to support their operations.

One of the requirements for receiving support is contributing to “maintaining and strengthening the basic values upon which society rests”.

Despite the requirement, a survey by the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper revealed that ten of nearly 20 faith communities polled that receive state funding responded that homosexuality isn't compatible with their teachings.

The survey found that eight religious communities banned openly gay members from holding high-ranking positions, while two responded that they don't accept members who are in same-sex relationships.

“The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I'd interpret that as a basic Swedish value we've come to an agreement about,” Ulrika Westerlund, head of The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), told the newspaper.

According to the Evangelical Lutheran Mission – Friends of the Bible (ELM Bibeltrogna vänner), living in a “homosexual relationship is wrong and can therefore result in someone not being a member”.

And the Seventh Day Adventist Church responded to SvD that “those who live in a homosexual relationship can't be members of our parish/church”.

Westerlund said it's no secret that a number of primarily evangelical Christian churches in Sweden that “don't accept” the rights of homosexuals and transgender individuals.

But she believes that such groups still qualify for financial support from the state sends the wrong message.

“I think the requirement that religious orders uphold societal values is good and I think the state ought to take it with the utmost seriousness,” she said.

Jehovah's Witnesses are the only religious community which has been denied funding for not meeting the requirement that it uphold social values because the group actively encourages members not to vote, SvD reports.

Story continues below…

According to Stefan Attefall, Sweden's Christian Democrat Minister for Social Affairs who has responsibility for religious communities, there is a difference between discouraging people from voting and a church's views about homosexuality.

“You have to differentiate between wanting to participate in society versus having the same views that the state has,” he told SvD.

“If we had a system where we only gave money to those that have the same views as us, we'd be building a totalitarian society.”

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:10 August 1, 2011 by flintis
I'm not a homophobe, but if you are religious fanatic, allowing homosexuality in the church is blasphemous.

Although that never stopped those dirty peodophilic Catholic priests from "bumming" around.
14:24 August 1, 2011 by Addendum
Doesn't Sweden fund a religious community which calls for homosexuals to be killed? Isn't there a move for this to be one of the "basic values upon which society rests"?
14:59 August 1, 2011 by prince T
I dont expect a sincere church to promote homosexuality. Nothing personal. People should be allowed to practice their faith. However hatred, violence and condemnation to homosexuals is homophobic by my own dictionary. There are some white people that will never aceppt blacks as swedes no matter what. Guess what they are sponsored by the government and they have political voice.
16:30 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
In which country did you think you were, in Utopia?
17:42 August 1, 2011 by Henrykx
If another religious organisation came into the country proclaiming its members must sacrifice an innocent child or do mandatory cannibalism, it would be banned pretty quickly. Why? Because part of what they practice is against the law of this country.

Discrimination of gender and sexuality are also illegal in Sweden so how can we have one thing and not the other?
20:25 August 1, 2011 by Dave N
Islam says that homosexuals should be killed. That's a bit stronger than not accepting gay members. Why no article on that? Every mosque in Sweden... every mosque in Europe... every mosque in the world teaches this - it is an explicit instruction given by Mohammad.

Ah, the joys we can look forward to in our wonderful multicultural future!
20:31 August 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Don't be funny. The laws in this country were made to ignore them. Everything moves now around political correctness and nothing else. We are not in a democracy, we are in a dictatorship as Putin stated back in April 27.

Yes, let us wait the wonderful colours of the multiculturalism rainbow. We shall see what we shall see.
00:33 August 2, 2011 by engagebrain
Why is the taxpayer funding any religious group ?
00:36 August 2, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
State has *no right* to dictate to a church its ecclesiology.
06:26 August 2, 2011 by update-2011
Whether we like it not Homosexuality is WRONG. why? Due to Coulumb's law :)

06:41 August 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

You meant the cucumber's Law. To have it or not to have it. That is not the question. It makes the difference.
09:09 August 2, 2011 by Da Goat
I am peeved that only 10 from almost 20 organizations have not lost their balls!

that is pretty sick that half the religious mobs have been emasculated by the homophiliacs !

I have nothing against Gay or unsure of sex people I sit next to one in church every week.

my gripe has always been if you are that way just live peacefully and don't make a fuss and ponce around like a spastic snake!

leave the churches alone they will not change either they cannot be forced to be that way inclined!

that Christian churches are not Gay is not news and never will be, leave them be in peace the same as they do for you!

the SDA church loves all people and they do accept homo people as long as they don't ponce around and give the church a bad name! (behave themselves)

Homosexuality is not a sin it is just disgusting to God and others (heterosexuals). Sunday keeping is a sin! being that way inclined is just dirty!
09:18 August 2, 2011 by engagebrain
00:36 August 2, 2011 by Dr. Dillner wrote

State has *no right* to dictate to a church its ecclesiology.

OK, but why should a church expect money fromt he taxpayers
10:05 August 2, 2011 by flintis
@ engagebrain.

The church may expect money from the taxpayer, but the taxpayer has a choice, whether or not to contribute
12:05 August 2, 2011 by prince T
Have we forgotten that the church members of the swedish church in particular and others churches are the highest tax payers in the country. If the church cannot benefit from the tax, it means there is. Problem.
13:16 August 2, 2011 by engagebrain
There should be a complete separation between the church and the state, because there can be no rational basis for differentiating betweent the assorted churches and funding some but not others.

Churches should raise their own money.
15:19 August 2, 2011 by Addendum
The SvD article was "Bidrag ges trots diskriminering", Funding given despite discrimination. Not every faith community uses a church, so why did The Local choose "church" instead of "trossamfund" faith community in its title? What are the 22 (number in original article) faith communities polled that receive state funding? Which ones have a problem with homosexuality? Is this information available somewhere?
18:01 August 2, 2011 by Jes
I hate discrimination ; I hate rules ; I hate laws .

Why should I be told to drive my new Volvo at a mixmum speed of only 120 kmp Were the manufacturers wrong to put 280 kmph on my wonderful Volvos dashboard ?
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