Reykjavík city council has finally passed a measure which would forbid clergy from coming to schools to preach.
The proposal has been in the works for a long time now, and was inspired by complaints from parents that their children were coming home with religious literature offered to them during school hours. This prompted the Human Rights Committee to draft a proposal that would forbid church officials from conducting missionary work in schools.
This set off a strong reaction from church officials, with the bishop himself calling the proposal “prejudice and opposition to faith, especially Christianity,” and numerous conservatives speculating that soon Christmas would be banned from playschools.
The final draft of the proposal, passed yesterday, bans members of any religious organisation – not just the state church – from coming to playschools or primary schools and preaching to children, nor will it be permitted at after-school activities. This includes handing out literature, playing recordings, or showing films.
However, members of religious groups will still be allowed to come and talk to children as a part of religious studies classes. Also, the regulation allows for songs, dances, plays and handcrafts that, while religious in nature, are considered a traditional part of Icelandic culture. Christmas celebrations are therefore not banned in schools.