From Iceland — Priests Support Change In Law On Holidays

Priests Support Change In Law On Holidays

Published April 11, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Marc Vincenz

The Society of Priests in Iceland believe it is time for the law to reflect “modern society” where Christian holidays are concerned.

A bill submitted to parliament last March would change Iceland’s current laws about working and operating a business on Easter and Christmas. As it is now, it is illegal to hold “bingo, lotteries, dance concerts and other gatherings” on major Christian holidays, Sundays, and over New Years’. As existing collective bargaining agreements already ensure higher wages for workers who work on these days, those who submitted the bill – representing the Pirate Party and Bright Future – believe it is out of keeping with the times to otherwise “restrict freedom of movement” on these days.

RÚV reports that the Society of Priests in Iceland agrees.

In commentary the Society submitted for the bill, they expressed the opinion that the existing legislation does not have a place in a modern society, as those living in Iceland today represent numerous different religions, and tourism to Iceland has been increasing dramatically.

Indeed, tourism in Iceland does not abate during Christian holidays. The Grapevine has had to issue advisories on bus service and opening hours over these holidays.

The measure also seems to have considerable support from the Icelandic public. Every Good Friday, for example, a public bingo game has been held in front of parliament in open defiance to the law. No arrests have ever been made at these Easter bingo games.

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