Saturday, March 26, 2016

UN Report On Religious Freedom In Denmark Released

On March 22, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief filed his Preliminary Findings (full text) on his visit to Denmark to review the status of religious freedom there.  The Evangelical Lutheran church is the established church of the country.  Some 160 other groups enjoy either "recognition" or "acknowledgement."  The lengthy report observes in part:
The existing system is obviously non-egalitarian. While virtually no one questions the spirit of freedom that prevails in Denmark, including in the area of religion or belief, the principle of equality certainly does not govern the treatment of diverse religious communities. This contrasts starkly with the everyday culture in Denmark which indeed is markedly egalitarian....
[T]he understanding of religion in Denmark very much focuses on the dimension of the person’s inner conviction. This seems to echo a Christian and more specifically Lutheran understanding of redemption through faith alone (“sola fide”). As a result, aspects of ritual or ceremonial religious practice are relegated into a mere external sphere, which allegedly has less relevance and is less worthy of recognition. From the perspective of non-Christian religions, this can become worrisome. Two issues have arisen in various talks over the last few days, namely, the ban on ritual slaughter without prior stunning of the animal, enacted in February 2014, and public demands to outlaw religiously motivated circumcision of male infants.
[Thanks to Niels Valdemar Vinding via Religionlaw for the lead.]