There’s a parliamentary election in Sweden on the 19th, and everybody’s hoping that the country’s little right-wing populist party won’t get over the 4% threshold needed to grab any seats. The “Swedish Democrat” party mainly offers a We Hate Foreigners ticket, with some Law & Order and Respect Your Elders thrown in to attract voters in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
The SD is generally despised among mainstream political parties and the media. So I was surprised but entertained when I found the ailing Swedish Church trying to smear the Swedish Humanist Association by means of a far-fetched guilt by association involving the SD.
The Reverend Elisabeth Gerle works for the church’s secretariat for theology and ecumenics, and also teaches ethics at the departments of theology in Lund and Uppsala. A press release on the church’s web site advertises her forthcoming book, whose title translates to “Dangerous Simplification. Religion and Politics From the Perspective of the Swedish Democrats and the Swedish Humanist Association”. Here’s her argument (and I translate):
“The Swedish Democrats have strong xenophobic traits that many politicians denounce. With regard to the Humanists, though, the authorities and politicians appear blind to the fact that an aggressive hostility to religion also targets recent immigrants. Is it possible that the Humanists are paving the way for the Swedish Democrats?”
This is of course such poor logic that it borders on the unethical. Gerle’s argument is that if I dislike woolen hats in general, then this means that I am specifically and discriminatingly hostile to green woolen hats.
The SD are hostile only to certain ethnic groups. The Humanists are hostile to all religions. The only ways the comparison between the two organisations might work would be if either a) the Humanists targeted only certain religions, or b) the SD were hostile to all ethnic groups including Swedes. Neither is true. Furthermore, the SD wants to kick people out of the country. The Humanists want them to stay and become secularised like everybody else here.
The Dept of Theology in Uppsala used to share a staircase with the Dept of Philosophy. Philosophy undergrads often (unethically) removed two letters from the theologians’ sign in the entrance, changing Teologiska to –ologiska. Ologiska means “illogical”…