Archbishop concerned about SD politics
"Parts of the Sweden Democrats' (Sverigedemokraterna, SD) program does not rhyme well with a Christian outlook," commented the newly elected archbishop of the Swedish Church, Antje Jackelén, in Sweden’s public radio’s first Saturday interview of January.
She worries because of SD's strong performance in recent elections to the parish councils. “I have seen a number of discussions in the wake of the election to archbishop, some of which I have also been pulled into. And when I look at some of the emails and tweets I've received coming from Sweden Democrats’ quarters, it's quite clear that much of it is run by a very aggressive opinion against Islam. I do not think it's OK that you can go out in Sweden today and say ‘I hate Islam and I am proud of it,’” Jackelén said. The new archbishop, who will be formally received in June 2014, continues a trend to voice political concerns started by her two predecessors—most recently Anders Wejryd and earlier, KG Hammar. The archbishop stressed “... when the church makes political comments it is not motivated by party politics but based on a theological position.”
Jackelén’s point of view should be seen in light of Sweden’s open attitude about multiculturalism in recent years and from a historic Lutheran perspective after Reformation. According to the opinion of the Reformers already five hundred years ago, faith and conscience should be fundamentally free. (It should be noted that the Reformers’ level of tolerance undoubtedly had its limitations.)
A quote from Danish author and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard comes to mind, but more as a reminder of how religion in general has affected world history and politics:
“... and this is one of the most decisive definitions of all Christianity—that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.”
Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the father of existentialism was in many ways a deeply religious man but highly critical of the Danish Church at the time. We recommend replacing Christianity with simply religion and letting this passage sink in more than once. /Ed.