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Gains for gay marriage foes in church elections

Gains for gay marriage foes in church elections

Published: 21 Sep 2009 08:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Sep 2009 08:58 GMT+02:00

Opponents of same-sex marriage made significant gains in Sweden’s church elections on Sunday, on a voter turnout of barely 12 percent.

Both far-right Sweden Democrats as well as Frimodig kyrka, a party within the church which advocates against gender-neutral church marriages, nearly doubled their representation in the national General Synod.

The election's losers included the Centre Party, the Moderates, and the Liberals in the Church of Sweden (Folkpartister i Svenska Kyrkan - FISK).

“I’m sitting here with my heart in my throat. We had a great campaign, but it still wasn’t enough,” said Karin Perers, chair of the Centre Party’s General Synod group, to the TT news agency.

She didn’t want to believe there was any connection between the church election and next year’s parliamentary elections, but admitted that the thought had crossed her mind.

And Dag Tuvelius, editor of the Kyrkans Tidning newspaper, was quick point out the significance of the church election results

“They can also be an indication of how things will look for the parliamentary elections,” he told TT.

The number of Frimodig kyrka representatives will increase from seven to 13, while the Sweden Democrats increased their representation from four to seven.

Jan-Anders Ekelund, head of Frimodig kyrka, hailed the election results, claiming his party’s success was due to clarity on a number of issues, including the right to church weddings and party politics.

“We want marriage between a man and a woman to be preserved and we don’t believe in the political party polarization of the church,” he said.

In addition, the pro-gay marriage Greens in the Church of Sweden (Miljöpartister i Svenska kyrkan) also boosted their number of places in the General Synod from four to eight representatives.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats’ number of representatives remained unchanged at 71, and the Left Party also held onto its three places.

But the Centre Party’s number of representatives dropped from 41 to 35, while the Moderates lost four places, bringing their tally down to 41. In addition, FISK lost two places, dropping from 15 representatives down to 13.

Of the 5.6 million voters eligible to participate in church elections, about 11.8 percent made it out to the polls, roughly the same percentage as in the last church elections held in 2005.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:03 September 21, 2009 by Captcha
"When the church takes a stance on the issue of same-sex marriages, it is worthwhile to ask whether or not this is harmful or beneficial," said Archbishop Anders Wejryd in a statement.

"The church wants to support faithful relationship, and for us, from a biblical-theological perspective, the commandment of love supersedes other commandments and proscriptions in the Bible."

I take it that God was just joking about the commandments then.
14:25 September 21, 2009 by vladd777
Wrong. But we have free will to choose what we wish to believe and do..
21:56 September 21, 2009 by reason
I feel a little bad about not voting now. Pretty sure the low voter turnout was the main reason for the result. Not too worried though, there should be strong enough support for gender neutral marriage that it'll get through anyway.
22:53 September 21, 2009 by Captcha
@vladd777

That's cute Rationalizing sweetie. My point is that if the congregation believes it is okay the change god's laws to comply with man's laws, why even go to church.
02:11 September 22, 2009 by DavidtheNorseman
Given the massive majority of the SD, CP and M how is this any kind of major shift? I mean if the Frimodig had taken a hundred seats or something, but at the current rate of change I'm betting on the Second Coming (at which time we will all get to answer to God based on His Understanding...which some of us tend to think He already laid out quite clearly, recall the Book, the one with the Revelations) far before large change in the C of S........
05:50 September 22, 2009 by copp3rred
@Captcha: I'm going to assume you're obliquely quoting from the King James bible, which is not used by the Church of Sweden, but is happily embraced by Christian fundamentalists, the people who are just a few steps from strapping on suicide vests and trying to kill Obama. There are more than a hundred actual commandments in the Old Testament, people just cherry pick the ones they like. The simple truth is that if you spend all your time on the Old Testament you're not a Christian, and the Jews sure don't want you either.

Actually the Bible states quite clearly, in the New Testament (the part you're supposed to lend far greater weight to, if you actually are a good Christian), that you are to be obedient to the state as well as to your god. Maybe if you spent less time imposing your beliefs on people they'd listen to you.

These people need to leave the church, and good riddance to them. People like that just tarnish the image of the church and the people.
15:36 September 22, 2009 by seekingtruth
Early Christians based their understanding of Christ on the Old Testament prophecies and Jesus himself, as there was no complete New Testament until at least some 50-100 years later. So as a faithful Christian there's an equally serious need to consider the Old Testament as well, to know what Jesus was all about.

Anyhow, God's law is fulfilled through Christ so I don't see any wrong in Captcha's saying. Why Copp3rred would put him/herself as judge between good and bad Christians I do not know. If you are one who put all your stock in the New Testament however, there are clearly commands in there with the Holy Spirit clearly saying: do not engage in homosexual relations, it's sinful.
16:45 September 29, 2009 by spy
I suspect a lot has removed from both testaments over the years - one of the first examples of early censorship.

Also, perhaps they should not be taken too literally, as some stories contradict others or have since been proven to be false eg. creation vs evolution.
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