Iceland’s National Broadcasting Service, RÚV has announced it will remove prayers from this winter’s scheduling roster.
As of the end of August, morning and evening prayers, plus programmes in which scripture is read out will be replaced by a single programme. The show will examine theology, the culture of religion and society and will be aired on Sunday nights.
“This decision has been made in line with general changes to the Rás 1 fall schedule so that the station adds more context to our culture and community than it has been doing,” said RÚV programme editor Þröstur Helgason. “And [by doing this] we’re taking away these breaks to help the flow and make the schedule tighter.”
Iceland’s Atheism Association, Vantrú, have welcomed the decision.
“Prayer has no place in the public sector,” Sindri Guðjónsson, chairman of Vantrú, told Vísir yesterday. “We welcome the decision and think this is a great move. The state is supposed to be secular and it’s not the government’s job to have their radio station looking after the religious needs of people through prayer. People can worship freely on their own, but shouldn’t do so at the cost of the general public, the tax payers or people who have other beliefs.”
Previously aired prayers will still be available on RÚV’s website though the move has been criticised as the demographic who most commonly listen to prayers on the radio – senior citizens – are less likely to take advantage of the service.
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