Sweden Democrats Walk Out of Church during Anti-Racism Sermon
The far-right Sweden Democrats walked out of the church service that precedes the opening of Parliament on Tuesday. News agency TT reports that the bishop, Eva Brunne, was giving a sermon about racism and xenophobia.
She said, "The racism that says that we don't have the same worth, that you shouldn't have the same human rights as I, that you're not worthy of a life of freedom, all because we happen to be born in different parts of the world – that is not worthy of a democracy such as ours."
The Sweden Democrats Stockholm chairperson wrote on Twitter, "Shame, shame, shame! Shame on the Swedish church. Shame on Bishop Eva Brunne."
The party's leader Jimmie Åkesson, who had showed up the church in Stockholm's old town dressed in traditional Swedish folk costume, told TT that he perceived the sermon as a clear attack on his party.
Liberal MP Johan Pehrson told TT that the Sweden Democrats' departure was one of the rudest acts he had ever witnessed. He said that the group left when the bishop referred to a demonstration that took place in central Stockholm on Monday, when thousands of people protested the Sweden Democrats and racism.
The conservative Moderates group leader in Parliament, Anna Kinberg Batra, told TT, "If hearing about the equal worth of every human being provokes someone so much that they get up and leave, that shows clearly they're an extremist."
Center party leader, Maud Olofsson, told TT, "it is difficult to understand what someone could have against the bishop's message of equal human value." She added, "if they're going to leave every time they something they don't like, they're going to have a tough time in the Swedish Parliament."
Opposition leader, Mona Sahlin, called the act "childish and immature."