Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Swedish Heathen Group Recognized by Government

This was posted on an Asatru mailing list...
Swedish Heathen Group Recognized by Government

In January, the Swedish Heathen group Sveriges Asatrosamfundet became a registered faith-based organization with the Swedish government. At the moment this confers legal recognition, and is being celebrated as a huge milestone. An organization must reach the 3,000-member mark to receive government support or have weddings recognized. See http://www.asatrosa for the orginal announcement by the organization (in Swedish). English language translation of the announcement follows below. __________________________ "Sveriges Asatrosamfund has finally become a registered religious body. Of course, we have been a religious body all along. According to Swedish law, a religious body is a fellowship for religious activity, which includes organizing services. Ever since the foundation of SAs, we have been this type of religious fellowship, organizing ceremonies and blots (which qualifies under the legal definition of "services"). In other words, SAs has always been a proper religious body according to the law, but has not been registered as such in a legal sense. Now we are. This emphasizes and makes it clear that we are a serious spiritual alternative, not merely a non-profit organization. " "Unfortunately, this does not confer the right to perform marriages or other advantages to the association. The association is required to have at least 3,000 members in order to receive these rights, as well as government financial assistance for services, spiritual counseling, instruction, etc. We're not there today. But that day is coming. Rest assured." - Chairman, Henrik Hallgren

Lutheranism is deeply engrained in Sweden, so much so that the Church of Sweden -- the former state church -- boasted 78.3% of the Swedish population as members (circa 2004, per Wikipedia). Granted, that same article indicates that only 2% of those members attend regular Sunday services. So I would imagine that many Swedes are looking elsewhere for spiritual fulfillment. And why not in their ancestral faith? This announcement is a huge win for the Swedish people. Here's hoping that Sveriges Asatrosamfund continues to grow and that they gain the other rights in due time.

And if you, dear reader, happen to know who provided the translation of the announcement, please let me know. I would like to give credit where it's due.

No comments: