Friday, May 25, 2007

Free Speech Nightmare

I awoke this morning with a nightmare still fresh in my head. The grief of the confiscation of my Swedish Bible was still fresh.

The gist of the dream was this: my Bible was banned because it contained text that was not approved by the government, even in a language other than English. It had the New Testament in it.

The specific offensive text was that condemning homosexuality. It was deemed hate speech.

When we lived in Sweden in 2003 a mild mannered pastor named Åke Green was arrested by the police for violating the nation’s laws against saying that homosexuality was wrong in a sermon to his small church in Borgholm. Pastor Green did not preach hatred of homosexuals, but condemned the sin – something that Christians have done since the days of the early church. Disciples are called to love people, but to hate sin.

At the time it did not seem so surprising in the overwhelmingly secular nation of Sweden. What is surprising is that we are so close to this today in the United States. Legislation passed the US House of Representatives just a few weeks ago that could have had a similar effect in this country if signed by the President.

President Bush has signaled he will not sign the legislation, but it is certain to come up again, and with a legislature and presidency controlled by the democratic party, it could become law.

We’re not really so far from the scenario in my dream.

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