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Swedish Church Embarrassed By Persecuted Christians

Swedish steeple: minaret-in-training? (a40757/Shutterstock)

The Church of Sweden is a sad joke:

After a French priest, Jacques Hamel, was murdered by ISIS sympathizers in Rouen, France, on July 26, 2016, an initiative started in Sweden where Swedish Christians took “selfies” with a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. The initiative, called “Mitt kors”(“My cross”), was started by three priests from the Church of Sweden. The Church of Sweden, however, criticized it. Gunnar Sjöberg, Head of Communications for the Church of Sweden, wrote on his Facebook page:

“I really do not know about that. This thing about Christians suddenly wearing a cross as a sign for or against something. It is actually nothing new, but the call seems seditious and un-Christian in the conflicts that already exist.”

So now, according to a senior official in the Church of Sweden, the call to wear a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians is “un-Christian”.

That the Church of Sweden distances itself from people who carry the cross caused Ann Heberlein, a doctor of theology and lecturer at Lund University, to write,

“The leadership of the Church of Sweden no longer wants to lead a Christian community; they want to lead a general ethical association for humanistic values of the most vulgar kind.”

The Church of Sweden’s attacks on the “My cross” initiative continued until one of the priests who had started it publicly left the Church of Sweden. In an article, Johanna Andersson, the priest who is resigning, writes:

“Church leadership has for several weeks been running a campaign against us who started the group ‘My cross.’ In this campaign, I have been discredited, called ‘questionable’, ‘unclean’, ‘agitator’, ‘un-Christian’ and attributed xenophobic hidden agendas.”

The question, therefore, is whether some Christian leaders in Sweden really care about Jesus and Christianity or whether they are using Jesus to convey a political agenda which includes a liberal immigration policy and multiculturalism.

Read the whole thing. Totally disgraceful. Heberlein says 13,000 Swedes resigned from the Church of Sweden in the month of June alone. That may be a drop in the bucket, given that the church boasts a membership of 6.6 million. But that huge number is deceptive. Only about 400,000 go to church at least once a month, according to this report, and only 15 percent believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

What will happen to the faithful remnant in Sweden? I know this blog has Swedish readers. What do you think?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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