About a fifth of Saturday’s incoming members of parliament skipped the traditional mass at the cathedral next door (shown above) and instead attended a ceremony hosted by the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association.
Traditionally, MPs attend a service held at the church next to parliament, known as the Cathedral. However, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association began offering an alternative four years ago – a ceremony featuring guest speakers talking about issues surrounding ethics.
This is the fourth time that Sidmennt has offered an inspiring philosophical talk instead of the religious ritual which we consider inappropriate as the opening event for a secular government body in a democratic republic in the 21st century. Three Members of Parliament attended our first event. Today 13 MPs from 4 of the 5 Icelandic political parties showed up and had a light breakfast with us in a hotel across the street from Parliament while listening to a political psychologist give a 10 minute talk called “Towards Making Better Decisions” in which she discussed some of the things that affect people’s decision-making process.
The names of the MPs were not disclosed.
The sudden jump in attendance at the humanists’ ceremony could be explained in part by sex scandals within the national church that has shaken the institution’s credibility, causing hundreds of Icelanders to de-register from the church.