Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén has criticised a proposed language requirement to obtain Swedish citizenship, saying the proposal affects women and will increase segregation.
The language proposal, which is part of the current agreement between the ruling Social Democrats and their allies supporting the minority government, is still out for consultation. Despite the proposal’s popularity in the Swedish parliament, the highly liberal church of Sweden is against it.
“I myself am an immigrant and know how important it is to learn the language. At the same time, it cannot be ignored that there are different conditions,” the Archbishop told broadcaster SVT.
According to Archbishop Jackelén and the Church of Sweden, the language requirement could primarily affect low-skilled people and women, putting them at a disadvantage and increasing segregation.
Swedish Priest Accused of Smuggling Migrant Out of Detention in Suitcase https://t.co/pR7wafVABV
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The church’s stance has been met with criticism by members of the Republic, particularly online, with some asking why the church is weighing in on what is largely a political matter.
“When it comes to migration issues, we have made a lot of referrals. Through the work of our congregations, we have a competence that we think we must use in the service of society,” Archbishop Jackelén said.
The Church of Sweden is well-known for being highly progressive and welcoming of mass migration. Stockholm Archbishop Eva Brunne offered Muslim prayer spaces within Swedish churches during the height of the 2015 migrant crisis.
Last year, a Church of Sweden priest was accused of helping a migrant escape a deportation facility by hiding the migrant in a suitcase and smuggling him out. The priest had claimed the large suitcase she had with her was for baptism ceremonies.
Clergy belonging to the Church of Sweden have even openly criticised Swedish police carrying out deportations and have allowed migrants to stay on church property in order to avoid being sent back to their home countries.