From Iceland — Bishop: "Unnatural" For President To Not Be In National Church

Bishop: “Unnatural” For President To Not Be In National Church

Published January 7, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir believes it would be unnatural for the next president to not be in the national church.

In an interview with Kjarninn on the up-coming presidential elections, the bishop weighed in on what qualities she believes the next President of Iceland should have – in particular, his or her religious affiliation.

“It is unnatural for the president to be outside the national church while he have this arrangement,” she said, referring to Article 62 of the Constitution, which states that the national church shall be supported and protected by the State. “If it’s the will of the people to change that article, then I will respect it, though I would rather it remain unchanged.”

When asked what effect a president who is not in the national church would have, the Bishop was speculative.

“I don’t know whether it would exactly have an effect on the church, but possibly [it would have an effect] on many traditions that have been created around the relationship,” she said, citing as one example the traditional mass that takes place at the Reykjavík Cathedral at the opening day of parliament. “I would think that a president who isn’t in the national church would have little interest in such a ceremony.”

It is unknown how many of the current people who have announced their decision to run for president, or those who are considering it, are not in the national church. However, the most recent poll on the subject showed that most Icelanders favour separation of church and state.

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