The minority seats at Reykjavík City Hall voted against a measure that
would divert funds from the Church Building Fund towards some smaller
churches who have fallen on financial troubles. The measure in question would give 25 million ISK in taxes to seven different churches.
Both the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens abstained from voting on the measure. The Social Democrats contended that the money would be used towards new projects, as opposed to finishing the projects these churches have received funding to complete. The Leftist-Greens questioned the wisdom of diverting money to churches during the financially difficult times that Iceland is experiencing.
The Conservatives and Progressives – who comprise the majority – countered that the measure was in full agreement with the letter of the law with regards to the Church Building Fund.
Separation of church and state is a growing issue in Iceland, especially now, during the financial crisis. Iceland’s state church – the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland – receives financial support from every tax payer in the country unless they specify that they do not want that portion of their taxes to go to the church.
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