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Björn Ulvaeus
Swedish musician and former member of ABBA
(1945- )

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Bjorn Ulvaeus interview, published in Humanisten, Issue No. 4, December 2005. Interviewer: Christer Sturmark. Translated by Marika Granerus.

I have seen irrational, religious conservative values and hostility against science influencing society...

I miss those days when people believed in science and common sense as in the Fifties and Sixties. Now fundamentalism and contempt for science seems to be spreading. I believe that religion should be totally separated from the state. That's not the way it is today, not even in Sweden. For hundreds of years we have struggled to achieve a secular society, and now we seem to be going backwards.

I think it's important that you should be able to criticize and analyze religions, the same way that you can criticize opinions and values. Religious people must be able to cope with that!

Some values must be universal, like human rights and the equal worth of every human being. I believe that politicians in Sweden are too cautious of emphasizing this, probably out of fear of being regarded as discriminative towards non-democratic cultures.

[On the influence of New Age beliefs on Hollywood and American actors] ... I do believe that many artists are "trend-sensitive" and travel a path that they believe can benefit their career.

[Regarding the United States under the rule of Pres. George W. Bush] [The] US should have been our allies in the fight for secularization! The struggle against terrorism is weakened if it's regarded as a battle between Islamic and Christian fundamentalists.

Wall Street Journal interview (10 Sep 2013)
(Read full interview here)

During the decade ABBA was active, we toured for maybe four or five months in total. Instead of standing on stages and sitting on busses we could stay in the studio and write hits, and that’s why we are having this interview... Had we been chasing around on tours, we’d never been able to write the songs we did.

For leftists in Sweden in the seventies we became the Antichrist. [ABBA was accused of] “being commercial and shallow. (...) [However,] what ABBA did has a long lasting quality that left-wing musicians in the seventies most definitely lacked.

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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