From Iceland — Zuists Run Into Legal Snag

Zuists Run Into Legal Snag

Published February 11, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Vagina Boys/Zuism á Íslandi

The new religion is having trouble getting itself registered, which has temporarily puts it “parish fee” refunds on hold.

“We’ve met with the auditor [of the tax office] and he believes a parish fee refund should be no problem as far as they’re concerned,” a statement from the Zuists to Kjarninn reads. “On the other hand, we’ve ended up in the situation where not everyone has been as cooperative, because we’re hit a snag in getting the organisation registered with the tax office.”

However, the organisation has promised to issue an announcement once official registration is complete, upon which time they will announce when they will refund parish fees to its members.

As reported, the Zuists ostensibly worship the ancient Sumerian gods. However, their stated mission has less to do with creating religion than it does to do with separating the state from it:

The organization’s primary objective is that the government repeal any law that grants religious organizations privilege, financial or otherwise, above other organizations. Furthermore Zuists demand that the government’s registry of its citizens’ religion will be abolished.

The organization redistributes the government’s annual financial support equally to all members of the congregation. The organization’s financial matters are handled by an accountant firm, and general administrative matters are handled by a lawyer. Neither the administrative board nor other members will have access to the organizations financial matters.

The religious organization of Zuism will cease to exist when its objectives have been met.

The aforementioned “annual financial support” is derived from parish fees (sóknargjöld), a portion of income tax revenue.

Normally, legally registered religious organisations in Iceland receive an annual payout from parish fees derived from their registered members. As the Zuists have promised to distribute their payout amongst all registered members, they provide detailed instructions on how to register as a Zuist in Iceland. In addition, the Zuists also show how to make your own legally-recognised religion in Iceland.

Separation of religion and the state has been a contentious issue in Iceland in recent years, especially as the country has a national church. A recent Gallup poll on the subject showed that 55% of Icelanders support separation of church and state, with only just under 24% opposed to it. The Zuists in Iceland now boast some 3,200 members.

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