Justice Minister: "No Question" The Church Could Survive Without Government Support - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Justice Minister: “No Question” The Church Could Survive Without Government Support

Published November 4, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Main photo by
hufiz/Google Maps

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sig­ur­björns­dóttir, in an article published in Morgunblaðið, says that she believes Iceland’s National Lutheran Church would be just fine managing itself and taking care of its own funding, and that an independent church would be more in harmony with religious and personal freedom, Kjarninn reports.

As reported, a parliamentary proposal with multipartisan support is calling for a bill that would completely separate church and state to be submitted no later than 2021, with complete separation of church and state slated for no later than 2034.

Áslaug Arna, being the minister who oversees ecclesiastical affairs, supports the measure and expanded upon her reasoning in her article.

“[The church] would be more like an independent religious organisation that bears responsibility for its own management and funding,” she writes in part. “These changes are a great improvement, and inevitably heads in the same direction as full separation.”

Áslaug Arna believes that an independent church would be a better fit for a country that values religious and individual freedom, rather than the special position within the government that the church enjoys today.

“To my mind, there is no question that the church could take care of all of its functions, amongst them spiritual guidance and diverse social care, without the government,” she continues.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 55% of Icelanders support separation of church and state. Unsurprising, considering a whole third of the country is not even registered in the church—in fact, more people have been leaving than joining the church for several years now.

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