Heated Debate Over Church And State Expected - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Heated Debate Over Church And State Expected

Published April 28, 2011

Of those who have been appointed to the constitutional committee, opinion over whether church and state should be separated appears to be divided, with strong positions taken on all sides.
Eyjan reports that out of eight committee members, four want to see separation of church and state, two want no changes made to the existing law on church and state, and two would like to see other solutions found on the matter.
Dögg Harðardóttir and Þorvaldur Gylfason believe there is no need to separate the church from the government. Þorvaldur believes the debate itself would draw attention away from more important matters, while Dögg says she “wants to stand guard for the Christian faith in Iceland”.
Arnfríður Guðmundsdóttir believes some changes need to be made to the existing law on church and state, while Lutheran minister Örn Bárður Jónsson – who previously said that those living in Iceland who are not Christian must “deal with the fact that they are in the minority” – says he believes that while the government should support the Lutheran church, it should also show support for other faiths.
Committee chairperson Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir, as well as Illugi Jökulsson, Katrín Oddsdóttir and Freyja Haraldsdóttir, all believe that the constitution must be changed to create separation between church and state.
According to the last poll on the matter, about 74% of Icelanders want to see separation of church and state as well.

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