Pastor charged with inciting hatred for saying queer people are ‘gender filth’ who ‘destroy civilisation and attack the divine order’
A German pastor has been charged with inciting hatred for referring to homosexuals as “criminals” and “a form of degeneration of society”.
Olaf Latzel was pastor of Sankt Martini in the northern city of Bremen. The Bremen public prosecutor has brought charges of sedition against him for comments he made at a seminar in October 2019 on the subject of marriage.
“[Homosexuality] makes people insecure, destroys civilisation and culture,” he allegedly said, while warning of the existence of a so-called “homolobby.”
Footage of the seminar, which has now been removed from YouTube, reportedly showed Latzel describing homosexuals as criminals.
“Everywhere these criminals run around [on] Christopher Street Day,” he said.
Latzel later apologised for these words and claimed he had nothing against homosexuals. He insisted that he had not been referring to gay people but rather “militant aggressors” who have attacked and defamed the church. However, he also emphasised that homosexuality is “clearly defined as sin” in the Bible.
Pastor staged ‘attack on human dignity’ with homophobic comments.
According to Buten un Binnen, prosecutors allege that Latzel also referred to queer people as “gender filth” and “an attack on the divine order of creation”.
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“This is how the accused generally describes homosexuals as criminals and homosexuality, as a form of degeneration in society,” Bremen prosecutors said in a statement which described his words as “an attack on human dignity”.
The leadership of the Bremen Evangelical Church (BEK) distanced themselves from Latzel’s comments and initiated ecclesiastical disciplinary proceedings against the pastor in May.
Latzel has been placed on a leave of absence and will remain suspended for the duration of the disciplinary proceedings.
“The allegation and the lawsuit are serious,” said BEK secretary Bernd Kuschnerus, noting Latzel’s role of trust in the community.
“You have to abide by the law. The fact that a pastor’s statements have given rise to charges of sedition is deeply upsetting.”