Monday, June 04, 2012
Norway - the Secular Model
by Gary Berg-Cross
Edd Doerr always says that Norway is the most secular and humanist of places. The Norwegian Humanist Association is the world's largest. And the quantity and quality has an effect.
In May parliamentary committee report presented on Tuesday contains a unanimous recommendation to move the church a step further away from the state & the Norwegian Parliament planned on amending the country's constitution to continue the long, drawn-out effort to separate the church from the state.
The amendment to abolish the Lutheran Church of Norway, which will then be renamed The People's Church passed (161 votes in favor and just three opposing votes.). Reports are that this will take effect around June 15.
This means that Noway will have no official religion, and the government will no longer participate in the appointment of church deans, bishops etc. From reports the church tax exemption will still remain in place. So churches will still receive the bulk of the $$. Counties, for example, will still be responsible for maintaining their local church buildings and pay for their priests. Humanist organizations will get a share, but a smaller one. Norway's King Harald and Queen Sonja are still required to belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, so there is still some steps to achieve complete separation and perhaps this step is more properly called a new relation of Church and State. Still a step.
Svein Harberg, the spokesman for the Church, Education, and Research Committee stated that the decision "is historic both for the Norwegian Church and for the politicians in Parliament."