New Law On Religion Introduced

23.1.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A new bill submitted by the Minister of the Interior would make a number of changes to existing laws on religion, among them that its passage would make all religions and philosophical organisations equal before the law, and give greater freedom to those who choose not to register with any religion at all.

RÚV reports on some of the changes proposed in the bill. Among them, philosophical organisations such as the secular humanist group Siðmennt would be able to receive the "tithe tax" which normally goes to whichever religious group a person is registered in.

Such groups would also have the right to perform weddings and bestow names on children. The buildings which house them would also fall under the real estate tax category normally afforded only to religious organisations.

On an individual level, for someone outside any religious organisation, they would be able to choose to which organisation their tithe tax would be paid, instead of it just going straight into the national treasury, as it does now. In addition, while the current law states that a child born to a mother registered in the national church will be automatically registered in the church as well, the new law would eliminate automatic registration altogether. Instead, the parents would need to make a joint decision as to what, if any, religious or philosophical group to register their child in. In the event that the parents are no longer together, the decision would fall to the parent with full custody.

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