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Prosecutor appeals acquittal of Swedish pastor who called gays a "cancer"

Prosecutor appeals acquittal of Swedish pastor who called gays a "cancer"

Sweden's chief prosecutor appealed Wednesday a court decision to acquit a pastor who denounced gays as "a deep cancer" during a sermon in his church. Last month an appeals court threw out a hate-crimes conviction against the priest, Aake Green, saying his views on gays could be "seriously questioned" but that it was not illegal to offer a personal interpretation of the Bible and urge others to follow it. In his appeal to the supreme court, chief public prosecutor Fredrik Wersaell said Green, 63, should be tried for "agitation against an ethnic group." Green, a Pentecostal, was given a 30-day suspended prison sentence in June 2004. He was the first clergyman convicted under Sweden's tough hate-crimes legislation, which was ratified in 2003 to include attacks against gays. An appeals court overturned the ruling in February. In his sermon Green told a congregation on the small southeastern island of Oeland that gays are "a deep cancer tumor on all of society" and warned that Sweden risks a natural disaster because of its leniency toward gays. "Homosexuality is something sick," Green said, comparing it to pedophilia and bestiality. He said gays are likely to rape children and animals. Wersaell said the supreme court should review the case to determine "a balance between the ban against offensive statements and the interests of freedom of speech and religion." (AP)

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