The Norwegian government has dropped requirements for religious buildings housing migrants to remove crosses after a national backlash.
The requirement by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) had been directed at Churches hoping to house asylum seekers, to ensure the buildings were “religion neutral” before they received the foreigners into their care. This meant removing crosses, images of Jesus and other religious symbols, reports TheLocal.no.
Now the government has admitted they decided to enact the policy without even receiving a single complaint from migrants about obviously religious buildings being used to house them, and in light of popular resistance to the move they have cancelled the requirement. Despite the retreat, other rules still remain for would-be Christian hosts.
Overnight accommodation must still have a “religion neutral” room with no Christian symbols for migrants to pray in, and despite having displayed Christian charity towards migrants groups have been banned from also sharing the faith. Told “no preaching”, the official guidelines still state: “It is very important that there is no active service of any kind in refugee centres”.
Although this may be seen as a small victory for Christian groups who campaigned against the rule, the change of direction didn’t come before several churches rushed to sign up to the scheme and comply with the rules. A spokesman for the Norwegian Missionary Society said of the rule: “I don’t think that Muslims care if there is a cross, but it is fine. We will remove it. I’m proud that we can accept refugees. We want to help. We are Christians and we will warmly welcome them.”
But not all have been so readily accepting. Leading the campaign against the rule, the editor of Norwegian Christian newspaper Dagen wrote: “Asylum seekers and migrants have no reservations in passing the Norwegian border despite the cross in our flag being one of the first things they see. They surely wouldn’t be hurt by crosses in Christian centres either”.
Obliterating Christian traditions and symbols for the comfort and pleasure of migrants appears to be a rapidly growing craze sweeping liberal Christians across the continent, who are falling over each other to prove who can be the most hospitable. Breitbart London reported yesterday on one Italian school which cancelled their Christmas service because last year, Muslim pupils refused to take part.
The headmaster of the Istituto Garofani di Rozzano school was forced to step down this week after he was criticised by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi for the move.
A German church last month voluntarily did exactly what many in Norway have been resisting, by stripping out their pews, the altar, and the pulpit to make space for migrants. The parish priest was apparently “delighted” to turn his church over into accommodation, becoming the first consecrated and active church in Germany to give up religious services for predominantly Muslim asylum seekers.
In Sweden in October, the bishop of Stockholm decided to get involved and ordered a church to remove their crosses and mark the direction of Mecca for the convenience of visiting Muslims. Thankfully for the priest at the church, the world’s first lesbian bishop, had inadvertently picked one of the only churches located in her diocese that wasn’t under her command, as it was part of the independent Seamen’s mission.
Speaking to the press at the time, the priest in charge said they liked things just as they were.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: email@example.com