Iceland’s PM considering leaving embattled state church

Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland’s Prime Minister, says she has considered leaving the state church. This comment comes in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal hitting Iceland’s state church.

The PM made her comments to journalists after a cabinet meeting yesterday – but she refused to say whether or not her thoughts on leaving the church are influenced by the current scandal rocking the institution.

Sexual abuse within the church has been a hot topic lately – especially after the daughter of a former bishop went public about abuse she suffered at the hands of her own father. The flames were fanned further when Pastor of Reykholt, Geir Waage told Morgunbladid that priests’ confidentiality is paramount – even when that means keeping quiet about sexual abuse against children.

The Prime Minister and the Finanace Minister Steingrimur J. Sigfusson are both agreed that actions to further separate state and church are appropriate.

Iceland has a state church, unlike many countries. This means that almost everybody is a member, despite the fact that few choose to attend services. Christenings and confirmations are extremely popular, however.

Yesterday alone, some 100 people visited the National Registry in Reykjavik to resign from the church.


Large photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs

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