A new parliamentary bill aims to reduce government involvement in the national church as well as change the terms for membership in the congregation, RÚV reports.
“According to current law, the President of Iceland appoints the Bishop of Iceland and the suffragan bishops, which makes them government officials.” Should the revised bill be passed, the bishops would no longer be appointed by the president, and therefore, would “no longer be government officials, but employees of the national church.” The president would also cease to be involved in appointing church complaints and appeal boards which, among other things, review and deal with disciplinary offenses within the church. The primary goal of these changes, reads the bill, is to “reduce the government’s interference in the affairs of the national church, especially those that pertain to its internal affairs.”
Another significant change introduced by the bill is that membership in the national church would only be dependent on a person’s being baptized in the name of the holy trinity, rather than needing to both be baptized and registered as a member in Iceland’s national register.
The bill is currently available for review on the government’s feedback portal and will be open to public comment until October 14.