Parish Fees a Human Rights Violation Skip to content

Parish Fees a Human Rights Violation

A new law, an amendment regarding government budget deployment, is a human rights violation according to Sidmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, reports.

Hallgrímskirkja Church. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

Another similar organization, Vantrú, feels the same way and threatens legal action against the government should they not reimburse the parish fees of people who choose not to belong to religious groups.

Sidmennt claims that since the law decreases contributions to free legal aid from the Treasury, it will make it even more difficult for the general public to seek justice in court. Sidmennt also demands that those who do not belong to a religious group pay less tax than those who do.

Currently, the State subsidizes religious organizations for each registered member. A fee from those who are not members of such an organization go straight to the Treasury, since the law amendment, but used to go to the University of Iceland. Sidmennt sees this as a perpetuation of a human rights violation. Those who are not members should not have to pay indirect membership fees to the government. The congregations should take care of collecting their membership fees.

Vantrú also criticizes the parish fees and wants to abolish the present system. Until then, those who are not members of a religious group should have the equivalent of the parish fees reimbursed annually.

Also, Vantrú demands that so-called “outlook on life organizations” have the same rights as established religious organizations. Should the system not be changed, Vantrú threatens to take legal action against the State of Iceland.

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