Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer sends this translation from a Norwegian paper about the controversy over a proposed interfaith center at a site that is important to the history of Christianity in Norway. He includes this introduction:
The article concerns the lengths various official Church representatives in Norway are willing to go to in order to please the Religion of Peace and its practitioners. With “friends” like these, who needs enemies?
The idea has been debated in the media for the last couple of days, and I can say with my hand on my heart that the majority of Norwegians are opposed to it. If the plans were to go ahead it would be akin to an act of treason, and needless to say, it would be very offensive to Norwegians.
Vebjørn Selbekk is of course the former editor of the newspaper Magazinet, who published the Motoons in 2005 and was forced to make a public apology by the Norwegian political establishment.
Below The Observer’s translation from Utrop, a newspaper for the immigrant community in Norway:
Nidaros Bishop supports Stiklestad proposal
Gunnar Stålsett recently proposed the establishment of an interfaith centre at Stiklestad. The proposal was categorically opposed by editor of Dagen, Vebjørn Selbekk, but now the bishop of Nidaros Tor Singsaas has entered the stage and has expressed strong support for the proposal.
by Are Vogt Moum
Former bishop of Oslo Gunnar Stålsett suggested last week that an interfaith centre be established as a part of the process of religious dialog and reconciliation. Stålsett wants to build the centre at Stiklestad in Verdal municipality in Northern Trøndelag.
Vebjørn Selbekk, the editor of the conservative Christian newspaper Dagen, has attacked the location of Stiklestad, and questioned the need for dialog between the religions.
Doesn’t believe in interfaith dialog
“Stiklestad has a very strong symbolic place in Norwegian history, and it is closely linked with Christianity. Gunnar Stålsett seems to be more concerned about other religions than focusing on Christianity and the special position it has in Norway. Let the interfaith dialog take place in the mosques in Oslo, and leave Stiklestad alone,” says Selbekk, who according to Dagen is not a big fan of dialog between religions.
“Religions are different, and so they should be,” Selbekk says to Trønder-Avisa.
Bishop of Nidaros, Tor Singsaas is positive towards the proposed centre.
“I’m deeply opposed to the idea that Christians and Muslims shouldn’t be engaging in dialog. It is essential in order to respect each other. One of the criteria for such dialog about faith and values is that we need to be secure in our own values. I need to convey this, to make clear the religion of my church so that others know where I and my Church stand. And I expect the same from others. This is essential for a good dialog about common values in a society where we’re living side by side in peace and mutual respect,” says Singsaas, according to Dagen.
The battle of Stiklestad in 1030 was the decisive incident that paved the way for Christianity in Norway. King Olav Haraldson died in this battle and the following year he was canonized.