Monday, May 21, 2012
Norway: The State Church to be Abolished
Edit:the State Church of Norway is going not so much with a bang, but with an interfaith whimper.
Oslo (kathnews/RV). In Norway the centuries long tradition of the Evangelical Lutheran State Church has come to an end. On Monday the parliament voted on a constitutional amendment which is the establishment for a new church law. It was expected to pass by a wide margin. Already the parliamentary committee for the church, education and science were unanimous. The new will see among other things, that appointees of the state in the future will name Norwegian church Bishops and provosts. The state is no longer "confession bound"; the status of the Lutheran recognition as the "official religion" will be abolished. Even church tax in its present form will be abolished. Ministers are no longer required to be church members.
Church Members Welcome the Development
Trude Evanshaug, speaker for the Church Council explained that this goal has been worked towards for a long time. "We desired this change, because we live in a diverse society, and many residence of this country are not church members. The new law is a sing for the equality of all faith communities," she said to Norwegian public television. For people themselves there won't be any significant changes forthcoming, and even the feast days (holidays) won't change. Jens-Petter Johnsen, the director of the Church Council states that it enables a future legal status in the church, to develop independently. "That is the best as well for the state as also foor the church and the population", said Johnson.
The state can engage with more conviction for human rights now, and the church will receive more space for its own initiatives. In a common announcement by the parliamentary committee and the Church it is what one has known all along as "State Church", that will become a more open and democratic people's church. Svein Harberg, President of the Council, spoke of a "historic" step. "The Norwegian church will then be a faith community just like any other", he said. The new law underscores the fundamental values of Norwegian peace in the Christian and humanistic heritage. The religious activity of the church is now no longer the subject of the state, actually it has this purpose to support the church as a faith community.
Link to original...kath.news...