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Controversy among Swedish temperance reformers after Good Templars expelled anti-gay pentecostal minister Åke Green

After the Good Templar leadership on January 29, 2008, expelled the controversial pentecostalist pastor Åke Green for his anti-gay declarations, 1200 members have quit the Swedish Good Templar organization, the IOGT-NTO, and many others have called for Green's reinstatement.  The losses for the temperance organization have been especially heavy in Kalmar, the preacher's home district in southern Sweden (his church is on the Baltic Sea island of Öland), and in Jönköping, located in what has been called Sweden's bible belt.  For more, see here

For a biographical sketch of Green and excerpts from his anti-homosexual sermons, see here.  In 2004 Green was sentenced to a month in jail for "disrespect," a sentence later overturned.  There is a website defending him on the basis of freedom of religion here.  Another pro-Green website (I apologize that I have misplaced its URL) explains the abbreviations IOGT-NTO for the Swedish Good Templar temperance society:  The initials IOGT, formerly meant Independent [later International] Order of Good Templars, but they now signify International Organisation of Good Templars. "Ritual work was toned down in the shift from 'order' to 'organisation'."  NTO, meaning National Temperance Order, was created by the merger in 1922 of the NGTO (Nationalgodtemplarorden or "National Order of Good Templars") and TO (Templarorden or "Order of Templars").  In turn, the IOGT merged with the NTO in 1970.  According to Wikipedia, the organization claims 45,000 members in Sweden.  It is the surviving stronghold of the Good Templar temperance society which began in New York State in the early 1850s.

Posted by David Fahey on February 19, 2008 at 02:46 PM in Religion, Sweden, Temperance | Permalink