From Iceland — Church Loses, Zuism Gains Followers

Church Loses, Zuism Gains Followers

Published January 9, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Ouicoude/Wikimedia Commons

Thousands left the National Church – and thousands more became Zuists – during the last quarter of 2015, new data from the National Registry reveals.

According to the newly-released figures, some 2,400 Icelanders de-registered from the National Church between October 1 and December 31 of last year. During this same period of time, 3,200 Icelanders registered themselves in Zuism in Iceland (Zuism á Íslandi), a religious organisation created last year that honours the ancient Sumerian pantheon as the supreme deities.

Of those who joined Zuism, about half were previously registered in the National Church, while the other approximate half were not registered in any religious organisation.

National Church registration has been steadily declining and, according to the most recent Gallup poll on the matter, about 71% of Icelanders favour separation of church and state.

A particular point of contention has been a portion of income tax revenue called “parish fees” (sóknargjöld), which helps fund the church. In fact, the attraction to Zuism for many – if not most – Icelanders has been their promise to give members their share of the government support Zuism in Iceland receives. This has prompted criticism from some politicians, with the contention that Zuism in Iceland is not so much a religious organisation as it is a political action group.

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