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article imageNorway abolishes state-sponsored Church of Norway

By Sean Fraser     May 15, 2012 in Religion
In an unprecedented move, the Norwegian Parliament has voted to abolish the state-sponsored Church of Norway with a constitutional amendment.
The bipartisan measure to create a separation of church and state will officially be presented on Tuesday, reports Norway's TV2. The nation will not have an official religion, and the government will not participate in the appointment of church deans and bishops.
Svein Harberg, the spokesman for the Church, Education, and Research Committee stated that the decision "is historic both for the Norwegian Church and for the politicians in Parliament."
The Church of Norway began after the Lutheran Reformation in 1536, and was officially called the Lutheran State Church. The state meddled very little in church matters, only quelling unrest when it had to, chose high church officials, and financially supported the church. Opposition from secular groups arose in the 1970s when Norway's economy boomed and the church benefited.
Traditionally, every citizen of Norway became a member of the Church of Norway upon baptism. 79 percent of Norwegians are registered members, but only about 20 percent make religion a large part of their lives and only two percent attend church regularly, according to 2009 and 2010 data. A 2002 study done by Gustafsson and Pettersson revealed that 72 percent of Norwegians "do not believe in a personal God."
More about Norway, church of norway, Atheism, Secularism, separation of church and state
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