From Iceland — Schoolkids' Peace Display "Anti-Christian", Says Religious Scholar

Schoolkids’ Peace Display “Anti-Christian”, Says Religious Scholar

Published December 21, 2015

Photo by
Björgvin Ívar Guðbrandsson

One school’s decision to form a giant human peace symbol and sing the Icelandic translation of John Lennon’s “Imagine” has brought sharp criticism from a theologian, who accused the school of “sending a clear and negative message about the church, Christianity and really all religions”.

As reported, the school announced they would not be taking its students on a visit to the local church, as practiced by many schools around the country. This decision was made, the principal said, because not all of the students in the school are Lutherans. Instead, the schoolkids decided to celebrate the holiday season another way: by forming a giant human peace symbol.


Pressan reports that theologian Bjarni Randver has taken issue with this decision, and harshly criticised the school in a column in Morgunblaðið for making a decision he considers negative towards religion.

Bjarni takes exception with the singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine” – or, in this case, the Icelandic translation thereof. While pointing out that part of the original song contains the lyrics “Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky … And no religion too,” Bjarni added that the translation “makes this a little milder but the same anti-religous message is still there.”

By organising primary school children into participating in this exercise, he says, Langholtsskóli “sends a clear and negative message about the church, Christianity and really all religions”.

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