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The Church of Sweden replaces one form of totalitarianism with another

Nazi bishop Ludwig Müller speaks in front of the cathedral in Berlin, September 1934.

The Church of Sweden replaces one form of totalitarianism with another

Posted by: Lars Hedegaard 16 October, 2013

The Swedish archbishop elect Antje Jackelén’s stance on Islam has caused unease in parts of the press and among some members of the country’s Lutheran clergy.

As her motto the coming top leader of the Church of Sweden has chosen ”God is greater” – in Arabic ”Allahu akbar” – and when asked to choose between Jesus and Muhammed, she gave no clear answer. This is not the first time influential segments within the Church of Sweden have flirted with totalitarian ideas.

As critics have pointed out, the fact that the archbishop would even consider Muhammed’s vindictive and totalitarian god to be on par with the Christian God of unconditional love, seems to open the door for a new religion that has little in common with traditional Christianity but a lot in common with totalitarianism.

This is not the first time influential segments of the Church of Sweden have flirted with totalitarianism. In his 1995 historical dissertation entitled Kyrkan, nazismen och demokratin (The Church, Nazism and democracy) <//>, Lars Gunnarsson has looked into ecclesiastical opinions in Sweden between 1919 and 1945 and shown that there was a great deal of sympathy for Nazi Germany and National Socialist ideology.

During the 1930s, the influential Svensk Kyrkotidning– organ of the Allmänna Svenska Prästförening (the Swedish clerical association) – had a positive attitude to the Nazi regime in Germany as well as to the ”Deutsche Christen” (the ”German Christians”), which represented Nazism in the German Evangelical Church.

Together with another ecclesiastical journal, Göteborgs Stifts-Tidning (GST)Svensk Kyrkotidning supported Adolf Hitler’s power grab after January 1933. The GST described the Nazi Fuehrer principle as a progressive political idea and parliamentarianism as doomed. Hugo Odeberg, professor of theology at Lund University, was one of the leaders of Riksföreningen Sverige-Tyskland (the Swedish-German Friendship Association). According to Lars Gunnarsson, ”His belief in Nazi policy was unshakeable.” Odeberg even applauded the Nazi persecution of oppositional churchmen in Germany.

By and large, the Church of Sweden also accepted Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. As Lars Gunnarsson notes (p. 96): ”The anti-Semitic actions in Germany in April 1933 and the introduction of the so-called Nuremberg Laws in 1935 passed – despite certain protests – without discussion in Sweden’s ecclesiastical press. This may be seen as an acceptance of the German policy on Jews.”

Göteborgs Stifts-Tidning remained anti-Semitic even after the murderous pogrom against the Jews on ”Crystal Night” in November 1938.

Read the rest here.

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