From Iceland — Church Goes On The Offensive

Church Goes On The Offensive

Published September 3, 2012

As the debate over a proposed constitution and the national church heats up, the church itself has initiated an information campaign that the bishop contends is meant to inform rather than influence.
By the current constitution, Article 62 states “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the State Church in Iceland and, as such, it shall be supported and protected by the State. This may be amended by law.” These two sentences are now the subject of much debate, as Icelanders prepare to vote for a new constitution on October 20.
Already, over 800 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the new constitution to have no article about a “national church”, which would more or less de-nationalise the Church of Iceland, instituting instead separation of church and state.
However, Vísir now reports that the church has launched a counter: the church plans to open an “information website” based on this very issue.
Bishop Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir told reporters that the website will be purely informative, not taking an official stand itself, so that voters can decide for themselves whether or not they want the new constitution to have an article on the church.
“We want a dialogue with the people,” she said, “We don’t intend to talk down to them; we want to talk with them.”

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