Rev. Hjörtur Magni Jóhannsson, Lutheran priest at the Reykjavík Free Church (Fríkirkjan), has criticized his state-supported counterparts, saying that some of them talk like “amoral outvasion Vikings” with regards to separation of church and state.
The Free Church, like the national church, is an Evangelical Lutheran church. However, as the name implies, it is not supported by the state but rather by parishioners. The Free Church and the national church have at times disagreed on a number of issues in the past, in particular with regards to homosexuals being able to marry – something the Free Church supported even while most in the national church remained against it.
Rev. Hjörtur, in a mass he gave yesterday, harshly criticized the national church, saying in part that a state-run religious organization deprives people of a spiritual tradition, and that the national church has lost credibility.
In an article the reverend wrote for the newspaper Fréttablaðið last week, he said the national church was experiencing “an existential crisis and self-denial”.
“Almost everyone registered in the national church were done so without their consent,” he wrote in part. “Christianity thrives best without the intervention of a state church.”