In a funny albeit passive aggressive move, the board of the Icelandic atheism society, Vantrú, have voted to register all Icelanders as members, reports Vísir.
“You, dear reader, will be a member of Vantrú, unless you specifically deregister yourself from membership,” reads a statement from the atheism society on their website. “Those who have children after March 1 do not need worry that they will miss out on this lively community, as we will automatically register children in Vantrú at birth, regardless of whether their parents have registered as members or not and without their knowledge or consent. That is obviously the best way to go about it. And also the fairest.”
The statement highlights what happens to Icelanders at birth. By law children of mothers registered in the National Church are registered in it by default and – once they begin working – a portion of their taxes is appropriated to said church.
If a person wishes to register as a member of another faith so that their taxes are directed to that religious institution instead or remove themselves from any religious affiliation at all, they must do so by filling out an official government form. If a person under the age of 16 wishes to leave the National Church, they must get their parent or guardian to submit the paperwork for them.
As reported, more Icelanders are deregistering themselves from the National Church than joining it.
Vísir also reports that more parents are going out of their way to deregister their children from the National Church at birth. In the last ten years the number of newborns registered with Iceland’s National Church has dropped from 80% in 2005 to 59% last year.
On the Vantrú website it is further noted that in the unlikely event that someone does not wish to become a member of the atheism society they need only send an email announcing as much and include a scanned copy of a valid I.D.
Just to clarify, Vantrú cannot actually register all Icelanders as atheists in any official capacity.