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Liberté religieuse et situation juridique des communautés religieuses

In comparison with many other European countries, freedom of religion was introduced relatively late into Sweden. In 1726 a special decree was made prohibiting religious gatherings other than those of the established Church, with the intention of containing the growing pietistic movement. These regulations were replaced in 1873 by a special law concerning in particular ‘alien’ religious believers, which offered the possibility to leave the established Church and become a member of another Christian denomination recognized by the state. Not until 1951 did Sweden get a law guaranteeing freedom of religion, giving the citizens of the country the right to freely practice a religion of their own choice, or to abstain from being a member of any religious body (SFS 1951:680). In the Swedish constitution, it is formulated as “freedom to practice religion, alone or together with other people” (SFS 1974:152).
Today, the Swedish state is officially neutral in relation to all faith communities. From 1 January 2000, all faith communities should in principle be treated equally, although the Church of Sweden is still regulated separately and has particular responsibilities. The Act on Faith Communities defines a faith community as “a community for religious activity that includes the arrangement of religious service” (SFS 1998:1593). This definition mean that non-religious life view associations like the Swedish Humanist Association (Humanisterna) are not included within the state regulated group of faith communities. According to the act, no one is obliged to belong to a faith community, and children from the age of 12 must give their own consent to enter or leave a faith community. The communities requesting the legal status of “Faith community” can apply for this to the government, and thereby enter the official register of faith communities.

April 2014

D 15 mai 2014    APer Pettersson

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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