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Duly Noted

Thursday, May 24, 2012, 1:50 pm

Norway Scraps State Church, Goes Secular

By Lindsay Beyerstein

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A great grate in the Vigeland Park, Oslo, Norway.   @rild, Creative Commons.

Norway will drop its official state-sponsored church on June 15:

OSLO – Norway, which is one of few developed countries to still have a state religion, passed a final hurdle Thursday to separate the Protestant Lutheran Church from the state, parliament said.

The move, which requires changes to Norway’s constitution, was approved by parliament a second time Thursday, in what was a formality after lawmakers voted through with overwhelming support on Monday, with 161 votes in favour and just three opposing votes.

When parliamentarians were asked to confirm that result on Thursday, “no one was opposed,” parliament spokesman Torodd Noreng told AFP, pointing out that this meant the initial vote was confirmed and parliament would begin making the necessary changes to the constitution. [National Post]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway supported its own demotion. How often do you see a church voluntarily rescinding its special status?

On June 15, I will bake kringle to celebrate Norway's secular birthday.

Gratulerer, Norway!

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (, a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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