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Ministry name change proposal criticised

The Socialist People’s Party is suggesting a change in the name of the Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs.

News in English
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The Socialist People’s Party Group Chairwoman Pernille Vigsø Bagge has said she would like to see the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs change its name to the Ministry of Attitudes to Life, but the proposal has not immediately won much support among politicians.

In Danish, the ministry is known as the Ministry for Church Affairs and under the current church-state relationship it oversees the national Lutheran church.

“The ministry takes care of national church affairs. Eighty per cent of Danes are members of the national church. There is no reason for the ministry to change names,” says Liberal Ecclesiastical Spokesman Flemming Damgaard Larsen.

More than 100 new religious communities have been recognised in Denmark since 2007. Their affairs are handled by the Ministry for Social and Integration Affairs. Damgaard Larsen says that these latter communities do not cover the 20 per cent of Danes who are not members of the national church, as many Danes are atheists.

Minister for Equality and Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen (SocLib) says that any change in the name for his ministry is the prerogative of the prime minister.

“If the ministry is to be called something else, it is up to the prime minister,” Sareen says.

The Conservative Party chairman says it is natural for Denmark to have a Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs (Church Ministry).

“We have a national church in Denmark. That is written into the constitution. An overwhelming majority of Danes are members of the national church. Our culture rests on a Christian humanist foundation. So it is natural that we have a Church Ministry that oversees the organisation and framework of the national church,” says Lars Barfoed.

Danish People’s Party Leader Pia Kjærsgaard tells TV2News that if a change is made she will immediately have the name reverted again – if and when she regains influence.

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Edited by Julian Isherwood

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