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The Church of Sweden has by and large been seperated from the government over the last half century. I think Palme was the last minister of church and education, the tax authority took over the census register in the 80ies, in the 90ies the church elections was decoupled from the government elections. Finally, in the 00ies the church has had the last formal ties removed as well as been put on own economic footing with the government subsidies being open for all registered religions (naturally there are conditions that to this day keeps the Kopimists from gaining state funding while the Church of Sweden as well as smaller christian, moslem and jewish denominations receive them). Also, school ceremonies has moved out of the church tough there are still some fighting going on there.

So by your criteria Sweden largely fill them all right now.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 02:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the indications I've picked up are that the final step of formally separating the church was a bad idea.

When the priests get paid for being inoffensive rather than for getting bums in the pews, they tend to have less incentive to rile up the easily excitable and create social fault lines to use in mobilization.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 03:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Counterexample: Israel
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 03:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But those are not comparable. In the Swedish case we're talking about a largely or totally defanged church: One which had been gradually but systematically stripped of its privileges and authority.

I'd suggest that forcing such a church into a Darwinian struggle for survival on the free market is likely to see it achieve a net gain in influence. Partly because the easiest marketing strategy for a newly privatized church is to polarize society along some formerly dormant fault line. And partly because having to secure cash flow from the customers will trim away employees who are, from a cash flow perspective, dead wood. This creates an incentive structure which encourages a smaller but more ideologically coherent - and more extremist - organizational structure.

The Israeli case is different, because religion was never properly defanged in the first place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 04:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, polarizing positions on issues is likely to cause disaffection among passive parishioners. I understand there is a large plurality of "cultural christians" who remain affiliated with the Church in Sweden and pay their church tax, but could be motivated to de-register if offended.

So then the church would have to raise the tax rate for the faithful in order to break even.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 6th, 2012 at 04:53:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is what a schism brand segmentation does for you. A major part of the advantage of a state church is that it prevents hardliners and milquetoasts from going their separate ways, thus incentivizing the milquetoasts to speak up against hardliners who offend their main customer demographic.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 6th, 2012 at 05:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We do have the experience of the established church of England and the since a long time disestablished churches of Ireland and Wales.

The church of wales flourished more after disestablishment then before.

But as far as I understand both churches are as centrist as the CoE.

by IM on Thu Sep 6th, 2012 at 06:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything particular in mind?

The church's main claim to relevance outside or inside of the state is performing the rituals of life - baptism, confirmations, weddings and funerals. And if anything the God bit has been more and more toned down over the years from my limited observations.

On the national level, the (now internal) church policies has afaik been going in the right direction and one woman was a hot candidate for archbishop last time around, though a man won again.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 03:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything particular in mind?

Nothing big enough that I remember the details. Mostly Danish preacher men who used the Swedish example as a case for the separation of church and state, because it allowed the church to position itself more clearly in issues of relevance to the parishioners (read: Preach politics from the pulpit).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 04:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's seen as "tradition", "a job" etc.

Here's a famous quote from a Swedish 1962 revue, considered somewhat scandalous at the time: "He's a good representative for the Church of Sweden - he has no strong opinion about anything."

by Number 6 on Fri Sep 7th, 2012 at 11:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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