From Iceland — Pastor Faces Backlash For Article Defending Homophobia

Pastor Faces Backlash For Article Defending Homophobia

Published September 22, 2011

The pastor of a church who wrote an article saying that homophobes are discriminated against for their beliefs appears to have written his article after being denied city funding for his church, and public reaction to the piece has been strong.
As Grapevine reported, Friðrik Schram, a priest for the Icelandic Church of Christ (Íslensku Kristskirkjunnar), wrote an article for Fréttablaðið in which he contends that those who oppose gay sex and gay marriage face discrimination for their beliefs.
“Now it has come to pass that those who are not happy with homosexuals living together [referring to Iceland’s “one marriage law for all” legislation which legalised gay marriage] are considered prejudiced and are discriminated against,” he wrote in part. “Straight people who show their opposition to people of the same sex having sex with each other are discriminated against. Where is the tolerance, or does it only go one way?”
Guðmundur Helgason, the director of Samtökin 78, Iceland’s oldest gay rights organisation, wrote an article of his own in response, wherein he tries to explain why people who oppose homophobia are not practising discrimination.
People are not showing an opposition to the speaker, Guðmundur writes, but rather “people are simply against hate speech, even when it is presented under the guise of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’.”
It has come to light that Friðrík’s article was probably motivated in part by the city of Reykjavík denying public funds for the church, on the grounds that their stand on homosexuality is in direct opposition to the city’s platform of equality and human rights.
Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson, an MP for the Social Democrats, agrees with the city’s decision, writing on his blog, “Given the situation, I do not want such an institution to receive funds from my pocket, that the city of Reykjavík uses my share to build up an organisation like this.”

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