Olaf Latzel convicted of sedition
This is a rather crude Google translation and not quite new, but nevertheless sent a shockwave through evangelical circles in Germany.
Bremen (idea) - The Bremen District Court has sentenced the pastor of the Bremen St. Martini congregation, Olaf Latzel, to a fine of 90 daily rates of 90 euros each for sedition. It has been proven that he intentionally incited hatred against homosexuals, said judge Ellen Best in her verdict.
In a “marriage seminar” of his community, which was published on YouTube, Latzel had described homosexuality as a “degenerative form of society” and said: “These criminals are everywhere from Christopher Street Day.” He also said: “The whole Gender filth is an attack on God's order of creation. "
With these statements, he had made an emotional mood against homosexuals and violated their human dignity, said the judge.
Judge: "Homosexuality is inconceivable without people"
Latzel presented homosexuality as a threat that must be defended against. In doing so, he suggested that homosexuals should not be viewed as equal members of society. The fact that he called the participants on Christopher Street Day criminals can be understood as an invitation to "take action against them".
His statement that he differentiates between homosexuality, which he rejects, and homosexuals, whom he respects as human beings, is incomprehensible. "Homosexuality without people is inconceivable," said the judge. The sexual orientation is part of a person and defines his personality.
Regarding the amount of the sentence, the judge stated that she remained “at the very bottom” of what could be imposed if convicted of sedition. The conviction will not appear in Latzel's certificate of good conduct.
Defense attorney announces appeal
Latzel's defense attorney Sascha Böttner announced that he would appeal against the judgment. The judge's verdict is a “catastrophe” and could become a “gateway to restrict freedom of expression”. It doesn't just affect Christians. According to the standards applied by the court, non-Christian minority opinions could also be prosecuted in the future. During the trial, Böttner had stated that the pastor did not mean generally homosexual people with the term “criminal”, but rather militant aggressors who, among other things, smeared the St. Martini Church with blasphemous slogans.
Latzel also said that “at no point did Latzel describe people as' gender filth”, but merely expressed criticism of a political trend that propagated gender ideology.
In addition, Latzel assumed that the recording of his lecture should not be published. It was only put on the Internet by a parishioner six months later.
Bremen Church advises on the continuation of the disciplinary proceedings
The secretary of the Bremen Evangelical Church (BEK), Pastor Bernd Kuschnerus, said of the judgment: "I am deeply affected that a pastor of our church has been convicted of sedition." The statements on which the conviction is based are unacceptable and damaged the reputation of the whole church.
The church committee of the BEK will deal with the outcome of the process in its meeting on December 10th. The panel will then decide on the continuation of the disciplinary proceedings against Latzel. It was temporarily suspended to await the outcome of the trial.
Conference of Confessing Communities: Political Judgment
The chairman of the Conference of Confessing Communities in the Protestant Churches in Germany, Pastor Ulrich Rüß (Hamburg), stated in a statement that the court's decision was “a political judgment in a political process”. Since Latzel had apologized for his crude choice of words and the statements were not intended for the public, the judge's verdict had "less to do with sedition than with the will to make an example of Olaf Latzel".