eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • 2 November 2007 : The ombundsman criticises the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs

In a press release from November 2nd 2007, the Danish ombudsmand, Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen criticises the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs [Kirkeministeriet] and the Bishop of Viborg Stift for relieving a priest of his job. The priest had accepted money (inheritance) from people of his parish and even though the Bishop found no trace of foul play he decided to release him of his duties as parish priest as he no longer had the trust [of the Bishop and the parish]. The decision was later approved by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. No criminal charges were brought against the priest. The ombudsmand criticised the case, as the relieving of the priest of his duties as a priest stigmatised him, but deciding not to bring the case before a court left the priest with no opportunity of proving his innocence.

Original press release can be found on the website of the ombundsman (Danish only).

  • 5 November 2007 : Registration of newborns via the national church considered not discriminatory to non-members

On November 5th 2007 the Danish Supreme Court judged that the current rules about direct state subsidies to the Danish national church and the fact that all newborns must be registered at a local parish office (except in Southern Jutland) was not contrary to the European Human Rights Convention. A Catholic male had brought the case for the Supreme Court as he found it discriminatory that he paid to the Danish National Church through his income taxes even though he was not a member. He also found it discriminatory that he had to register his newborn daughter to the central personal register through an office of the Danish national church.

According to the Supreme Court the registration of newborns via the national church is a non-religious function of the church on behalf of the Danish state and hence not discriminatory to non-members. According to the Supreme Court the money paid by non-members through normal taxes to the national church are not discriminatory for two reasons : firstly the church provides services to the state (such as registration of newborns and funeral services) which is paid for through the state subsidies. Secondly, the payment of taxes (some of which are used to subsidies the national church) do not limit the freedom of religion of non-members as it is an indirect support (unlike church taxes).

D 15 novembre 2007   

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