Published December 12, 2011
Fewer primary school and playschool children have been visiting churches for the holiday season, a Lutheran minister says, he believes in part because of a city ordinance banning proselytizing in city schools.
The law – long fought against by the national church, with even the bishop himself calling it “an attack on Christianity” – prohibits religious figures from visiting playschools and grade schools with the purpose to convince children to join a particular faith. Despite worries from numerous members of the clergy, Vísir reported that every grade school they spoke with said they intended to go on with Christmas celebrations this year as they have been done every year – children will go to church, sing psalms and hymns, and hold a nativity celebration.
Some schools, however, said they would elect to keep their children in school, and this has caused national cathedral minister Hjálmar Jónsson to worry, Vísir reports. He believes the lack of school-hours attendance is directly related to the city ordinance.
While the fewer school children attending concerns him, he does admit that there have been more children coming with their parents outside of school times – that parents who want their children to go to church bring their children after school hours.
In related news, a poll conducted by Stöð 2 and Fréttablaðið asked people if they supported or opposed limiting the access of church officials to visiting school children. 99% responded, and of those, 18% were very supportive, 13% were rather supportive, 16% were rather opposed, and 36% were very opposed. 18% had no opinion on the matter.