Specifically, the complaints filed against the current installment of Sveriges Television’s (SVT) Julkalendar (‘Christmas Calendar’) take issue with scenes in which children in the show are depicted playing ‘Anden i glaset’, a Swedish version of the ouija board.
“As a practicing Christian, I think ‘anden i glaset’ is one of the most stupid games children could play,” said priest Zbigniew Golebiewski at Saint Anna congregation in Nyköping in central Sweden told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
“There could be very real consequences for people’s spiritual and psychological welfare.”
Golebiewski has advised members of his congregation to not allow their children to watch Julkalender, which runs from December 1st through Christmas Eve and is has evolved into a cultural staple of Swedish children’s holiday entertainment since its launch back in 1960.
This year’s show, entitled “Mysteriet på Greveholm – Grevens återkomst” (‘The Mystery of Greveholm Castle – The Earl’s Return’), features ghosts and children trying to solve the aforementioned mystery.
Sweden’s Broadcasting Standards Agency (Granskningsnämnden) has so far received seven letters of complaint from members of the public.
SVT confirmed that they had also received several complaints directly from viewers.
“We have freedom of religion in Sweden and people are free to believe in what they want. We try to give space to many different voices,” the show’s script writer Dan Zethraeus told the paper.
Zethraeus did not take the priest’s criticism to heart:
“This particular Julkalendern doesn’t promote his religion, that is true.”