Three out of four religious communities in Norway could lose state support with a change of government

Kari HenriksenPhoto: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB

If the current government loses the election, it may be time for a new policy over the membership limit for religious and philosophical communities to receive state support. Three out of four may lose support.

A total of 724 religious and philosophical communities outside the Church of Norway currently receive state support. The limit for receiving support, which is NOK 1,310 per member, was set at 50 members last year by the government.

According to the newspaper Dagen, the Labor Party (AP) and the Socialist Left Party (SV) have proposed a limit of 500 and want a new policy after the election.

“We want a limit of 500 members. This does not mean that smaller religious and philosophical communities cannot receive support. If they want support, they can apply together, for example, in an association,” the AP’s religious and philosophical policy spokesperson Kari Henriksen stated.

She says the goal of the increased minimum limit is to reduce bureaucracy.

Vulnerable communities

According to the newspaper, three out of four of the 724 denominations may lose support. The majority of the vulnerable are church communities. This especially applies to denominations in the districts, Pentecostal churches, migrant churches, and Orthodox churches.

Four out of five denominations with 500 members are located in the country’s ten largest cities. Only seven of those who want to keep the support are outside the cities.

Christian Democrat Party (KRF) leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad is worried.

“This is a willful policy because the Labor Party argues for the need for better control of the religious communities. They have an approach where they are fundamentally skeptical of religious communities,” he told the newspaper. Ropstad further says that for many, it will be ideologically demanding to unite.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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