Published December 1, 2015
A town councilperson for the Progressive Party doubts those who signed up to be a part of the Zuist faith actually worship ancient Sumerian gods, but rather are hoping to get paid.
In a column published by East Iceland news source Austurfrétt, Fljótsdalshérað councilperson for the Progressive Party Stefán Bogi Sveinsson expressed his doubts about the commitment to faith amongst those who have registered in the Zuists.
“I would go so far as to say that no one has registered in the organisation to practice Zuism itself,” he wrote. “Their reasons for registering are rather twofold: to get money in their pockets, or to protest against current legislation about religious organisations.”
As reported, the stated mission of the Zuists has less to do with creating religion than it does to do with separating the state from it:
The organization’s primary objective is that the government repeal any law that grants religious organizations privilege, financial or otherwise, above other organizations. Furthermore Zuists demand that the government’s registry of its citizens’ religion will be abolished.
The organization redistributes the government’s annual financial support equally to all members of the congregation. The organization’s financial matters are handled by an accountant firm, and general administrative matters are handled by a lawyer. Neither the administrative board nor other members will have access to the organizations financial matters.
The religious organization of Zuism will cease to exist when its objectives have been met.
The aforementioned “annual financial support” is derived from parish fees (sóknargjöld), a portion of income tax revenue.
Normally, legally registered religious organisations in Iceland receive an annual payout from parish fees derived from their registered members. As the Zuists have promised to distribute their payout amongst all registered members, they provide detailed instructions on how to register as a Zuist in Iceland. In addition, the Zuists also show how to make your own legally-recognised religion in Iceland.
Stefán Bogi questions not only the religious convictions of those who have registered, but also whether Zuism can even be considered a religion, contending instead that they are “in the best case an interest group that wants to change legislation”. As such, he believes the Zuists should de-register themselves as a religious organisation.
The Zuists, for their part, do not appear to be ready to take this step.