Atheist Reportedly Runs for Church Office

From Religious News Service

A Swedish Baptist newspaper says the “absurdity” of the state church system in that country was demonstrated recently when a declared atheist was allowed to run for a church office by state authorities.

According to a report in the European Baptist Press Service, the man had left the state (Lutheran) Church of Sweden but applied recently to be readmitted--not because he had become a Christian but because he wanted to run for a position on the church board.

The vicar of the congregation rejected the man’s application to run in the election on the basis of his avowed atheism, but he appealed to state juridical authorities, who granted him the right to run for church office.

The report said the authorities ruled that the church has no right to exclude the man from church membership or activities because he had been baptized as a child.