Lutheran Minister Believes Separation Of Church & State In Iceland Should Be Examined - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Lutheran Minister Believes Separation Of Church & State In Iceland Should Be Examined

Published October 17, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

A Lutheran minister for the church in Akureyri (seen above) believes that, in light of recent news that national church membership has hit an all-time low, the separation of church and state should be seriously examined.

Currently, only about 65% of Icelanders are registered in the national church, down from 90% only 20 years ago. Rev. Hildur Eir Bolladóttir told RÚV that she considers this a natural progression in a modern society.

“Maybe we’re living in times where people don’t really like a monolith like the national church,” she told reporters. “Maybe we’re living in times where the spiritually minded feel that faith and religion should rather rise up from the grassroots.”

As such, she believes the possibility of separating church and state should be more seriously examined.

“There’s just a definite lull in the national church,” she said. “The discussion and the criticisms have been such that it would be unnatural to not make any changes.”

As reported, more people have been leaving the church than joining for several years now.

Nonetheless, the national church is still enshrined in the Icelandic constitution as having the right to government support. The most recent funding allocations to the church total over 2.8 billion ISK, in addition to the parishioner fees that are automatically deducted from registered members. The Bishop herself earns over 1 million ISK per month, while parish priests usually earn about half a million, in addition to what they might charge for services such as weddings, baptisms and confirmations.


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