1. 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.

    The change will officially come into effect on June 15, Noreng said.

    “The Evangelical Lutheran religion will no longer be the state’s official religion,” parliament wrote in a statement, pointing out that the church would receive public financing “on par with other religious and belief-based societies.”

    It stressed though that “the Norwegian Church will continue to have a special basis in the constitution and the state will be built upon ‘our Christian and humanistic heritage’.”

    Yay, way to go Norway! It is time to remove these archaic religious processes that hamper democracy from all governments. I sincerely hope other countries, with religion built into their constitutions will follow suit.

    The current requirement for at least half of all government ministers to be members of the Church will also be scrapped, and even the minister of church affairs will no longer need to belong to the church.

    The royal family will have to remain affiliated with the Lutheran Church however. While that is unfortunate, Norwegian monarchy is mainly symbolic and whatever fairy tales they choose to immerse themselves in is no skin of my nose. Although it would be a great symbolic gesture if the monarchy did move away from an official religion. It would be a tremendous symbolic gesture. But then again, to me the concept of a Monarchy is uniquely abhorrent, so I would still find fault with it.

    The royal family will however still be required to belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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