of Norse gods declared an indigenous religion of Denmark
November 8, 2003
Byline: Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press
it will let a group that worships Thor, Odin and other Norse gods
conduct legally recognized marriages.
it would be wrong if the indigenous religion of this country wasn't
recognized," Tove Fergo, the minister for ecclesiastic affairs
and a Lutheran priest, said this week.
law, the state Evangelical Lutheran Church has sole authority to
recognize other religious communities. The 240-member Forn Sidr,
which worships Odin, Thor, Freya and the other members of the Norse
pantheon, sought recognition in 1999, says Tissel Jacobsen, the
an ecclesiastic affairs panel recommended that Forn Sidr, whose
name means Old Custom in old Norse, be approved, but only if their
rituals were clearly detailed in its bylaws. "At a general
assembly, we added and described our four annual heathen rituals
- spring and fall equinoxes, and the summer and winter solstices,
and our marriage ceremony," Jacobsen says. "We then returned
our application and the panel approved it." Fergo said she
would give her final approval "in a few days."
people worship the ancient gods in Denmark, Jacobsen says.
the panel of theology, law and history scholars have advised the
government on which groups seeking to become religious communities
should be recognized. "It was not up to me to evaluate whether
they are telling the truth or the quality of their religion,"
Fergo says. "Based on the commission's evaluation and what
I have read, I consider it a good religion." Officially recognized
religious communities can marry people and exempt their members
from the 1 per cent income tax that is imposed on members of the
in Denmark are automatically made members of the state church, but
can choose to leave it. Members of other recognized religious communities,
such Catholics, Muslims and Jews, are also exempt from the tax.