The Pirate Party has submitted a proposal that many Icelanders see as a long time coming.
The proposal calls upon the government to begin preparations for moving the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland out from under the auspices of the state. These preparations would include areas such as church property, priest salaries and church employees.
“Over the past few decades, Icelandic society has taken on many changes, e.g. concerning religion and the religious awareness of people,” the proposal argues in part. “According to relevant opinion polls, increasing numbers of Icelanders support separation of church and state. The demand for complete separation will become increasingly louder, just like the requirement to be promoting equality of all religions and life philosophies.”
A poll taken on the subject last December showed that 71% of Icelanders support the complete separation of church and state, and those numbers have been on the rise.
The National Church, while operating mostly independently, does receive a portion of income tax revenue in the form of “parish fees” (sóknargjöld). The national church also operates under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior, which helps determine how much of the national budget goes the church’s way.