Norway moves to remove official religion

April 11, 2008 at 7:04 PM
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OSLO, Norway, April 11 (UPI) -- Norway's major political parties have agreed to amend the country's constitution to remove the Evangelical Lutheran faith as the country's official religion.

The seven political parties serving in the Norwegian parliament reached a compromise that will replace the passage with a statement reading: "The basic values of our nation shall be our Christian and humanistic heritage," Aftenposten reported Friday.

The parties also agreed as part of the compromise to add a passage naming the Norwegian Lutheran Church a "folk church."

A passage in the constitution stating that the country's king must confess to the Evangelical Lutheran faith will not be changed.

The changes, which also include a provision giving the Norwegian Lutheran Church the ability to choose bishops and deans -- a process that previously required government approval -- require a two-thirds majority in parliament to pass. The parties said they expect the changes to be officially approved in 2012.

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