Iceland’s National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, have backtracked their recent decision to take prayers off air following a meeting with the Bishop of Iceland.
As reported, RÚV planned to remove daily morning and evening prayers, plus programmes in which scripture is read out and replace it with a single once-per-week programme examining theology, the culture of religion and society.
Morning prayers and the nightly programme, Orð Kvöldsins (Evening Words) featuring scripture will remain on the radio’s roster.
“It is important that words of prayer are heard in the media age,” said Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, who welcomed the decision to keep morning prayers, though expressed dissatisfaction that evening prayers would not be making it back on the radio’s roster. “In my understanding it fits into the rhythm of the day, seasons, life, that there is prayer both at the start and at the end of the day.”
Iceland’s Atheism Association, Vantrú, have written an open letter to RÚV, published on their website, admonishing them for bending to the will of the church.
“Well friend, you danced for the bishop and the fundamentalist believers,” the letter reads. “This is totally understandable, they do get awfully aggressive when they believe their privileges are being threatened, we saw as much in the discourse around same-sex marriage a few years ago and again in the recent discussion around building a Mosque [in Iceland]. Nobody can be bothered [to put up with that kind of insistence].”
The letter goes on to suggest that RÚV consider allocating the Sunday night theology themed radio programme intended to replace the prayers to the Atheist Association, discussing theology, society and culture but with “another perspective”.