<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />AFA Center for Law & Policy Friday, February 17, 2006 The disturbing truth about Sweden's moral decay should serve to sober us from our own complacent drunken stupor.I recently had occasion to discuss religion and politics (dangerous ground, I know) with a Swedish mother of two visiting America. Sonya (not her real name) is a manager at a large investment house in Sweden. Her politics may be described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. In a word, fashionable. We chatted about the Swedish economy, city life versus country life, and agreed that high taxes were hard on families. So much for the preliminaries.Then we dove into the issue of homosexual rights. Having found common ground on fiscal matters, Sonya was not prepared for how divergent our views were on "gay" rights. But our takes on Pastor Ake Green's sermon on homosexuality could not have been farther apart had she been from another planet.When it became obvious to her that I would not repeat her "same-sex-marriage-is-a-human-right" mantra, she was visibly taken aback."Is this a religious thing for you?" she asked, hoping to pigeon hole me into a convenient corner. I said, "You seem to assume that religion is something we can take out and put away at will, like a broom in a closet. It doesn't work that way." I then explained that just as my religion affects everything in life, from homosexual marriage to what I do for fun during the week, so her religion (or lack thereof) affects everything for her, too.When I probed Sonya's human rights argument and asked her where those rights came from, she just stared at me, unable to respond. She was speechless, apparently never having considered the question.She recovered her voice when I asked her to define the rights. She said (somewhat judgmentally), "Everyone has the right not to be judged." But when she conceded that she judges pedophiles, she stumbled again, and grew indignant. Our conversation ended abruptly only moments later, and I am sad to say our previous good relations were never the same again. I don't mean to single Sonya out. I suspect her views are representative of most Swedes, and indeed of many Americans as well. But there is a lesson to be learned: for all of us who hold strong opinions on these issues, it behooves us to think through the presuppositions we hold before charging into heated discussions about them. Sadly, many of us who defend traditional marriage have not critically considered what we have presupposed. The truth about SwedenBefore we parted, Sonya gave me a Swedish newspaper. It was half in Swedish and half in English., and I eagerly read it. If you are like me, you have always heard what a laid back, peaceful, utopia Sweden is, with low crime and little stress. It is the poster child of the left, held up as a model of what a live-and-let-live, anything-goes society ought to be. Such is the Swedish media massage.So I was genuinely surprised to read the truth about Sweden. One article in particular was aimed at readers just like me, who had bought the chamber of commerce line about life in Sweden. The author was Swedish, and his title said much about his reasons for writing: "Quiet No More." He had turned myth-buster.Here are some of the startling facts he shared:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
There is more crime in Sweden than in New York City, though they are comparable in population. Drug abuse is rampant, with the number of deaths from overdoses having doubled in the past 10 years. Sweden has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world. Burglaries are so numerous that many citizens have stopped reporting them, because the police are overloaded and cannot undertake to investigate them all anyway. Attacks on money transports (like highway robbery) are so frequent that the transporters are threatening to quit, thereby effectively closing ATM's all over the country. Violent outdoor muggings are becoming routine, having increased 15% last year alone. In Stockholm, the police recently admitted having lied when they claimed to have neutralized some 130 of the city's most prominent gangsters; in reality, their sting operation was a bust. Swedish courts are plagued with perjurious police officers who routinely lie to support fellow cops in trouble.
I found this data remarkable. While I do not want to place undue reliance on a single newspaper article, it is entirely consistent with a Christian worldview that a nation so firmly committed to the ways of the world would eventually find itself wallowing in crime. Augustine of Hippo put it this way: "He who sees the truth and flees has weakened the acuteness of his mind through the habit of carnal shadows." That is, to the extent we turn from truth, away from God, we weaken our ability to discern and become accustomed to carnality, or wickedness.Of course, it is as true for us in America as for those in Sweden. We have embraced our sin, celebrated our "diversity," and indulged our depravity. And now, having sown, we must reap. Will we awaken from our stupor? Can we turn from the shadows and once again gaze upon the glory of Truth? America is only a step behind Sweden and the whole of post-Christian Europe. Absent an abrupt change in our spiritual direction, we are in for dark days ahead. Those who have light, however dim, must lead the way.Mr. Crampton serves as Chief Counsel of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP), a public interest-type law firm. The CLP's web site is www.afa.net/clp. Mr. Crampton's daily radio show, "We Hold These Truths," can be heard on almost 200 radio stations nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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