Outrage about ethical position of Christian school in Norway


Northern Europe


Photo Kristne Friskolers Forbund

A Christian primary school in Norway has been under scrutiny after its principal expressed his views on homosexuality and abortion. The government and several other organisations react strongly against the school. Some demand supervision from the state.

The Innherred Christian school in the Norwegian village of Mosvik came under media scrutiny for its conservative views on homosexuality, transgender people and abortion. “According to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin, and we teach the students that”, says acting headmaster Bjørn Valde to the regional newspaper Trønder-Avisa. “But we don’t teach hatred.” The 73-year-old principal has worked at the school since 2015. At the moment, 15 pupils attend the school.

Valde thinks that society is moving towards becoming “normless”. He says so in an interview with the Norwegian daily Dagbladet. In the interview, the headmaster is critical of themes such as abortion, euthanasia and LGBT policies. He states that Norwegian society has abandoned the Bible. “When we got a constitution in Norwegian society, the foundation was the evangelical Lutheran religion. When you abandon it, you abandon the foundation on which democracy was built.”

At Valde’s school, therefore, pupils learn that a family consists of a father, mother and child – not couples with two parents of the same sex. According to the headmaster, the school is not special. However, “we have Christianity as the basis of our curriculum, which the public school does not have”, says Valde. The headmaster is critical of public schools and believes they speak about something they know nothing about. “You must honour father and mother and not break the marriage, but they are redefining marriage. According to the Bible, marriage is between father and mother.”


Tonje Brenna, the Norwegian Minister of Education, is critical of the statements of headmaster Valde. “The values he advocates belong to the past”, she writes in an email to the daily Dagbladet. The Minister further states that she has a “clear expectation” of private schools. Approved private schools are obliged to follow the curriculum that applies to the school and which has been approved by the Directorate of Education, she writes.

The statements of Valde also caused a strong reaction from the Norwegian association for Gender and Sexuality Diversity (FRI). Leader Inge Alexander Gjestvang says that the “hair-raising statements” are “very problematic”. He refers to section 9 A-2 of the Education Act, which states that “all pupils have the right to a safe and good school environment that promotes health, well-being and learning”.

The school in Mosvik. Photo Innherred Kristne Skole

The statements also caused reactions from the Human-Ethical Association, one of the largest associations in the world, with over 100,000 members. They fear that the pupils are only half informed about homosexuality. This reports the Norwegian Christian daily Vårt Land. On Wednesday, they reported their concern to the Norwegian Directorate of Education. They asked the State Administrator to consider supervision of the free school in Trøndelag.

Education Minister Brenna stated that the Directorate of Education had been made aware of the case. This reports the Norwegian Christian daily Dagen. “Norwegian schools must promote tolerance and equality between the sexes, which must form the basis of all education provided at the school. No individual school can choose to disregard this.”


Trønder-Avisa, the regional newspaper, spoke with Idar Kjølsvik about the school. Kjølsvik is a theologian and professor at Nord University. He believes the school can be called "ultraconservative". "Ordinary" conservative Christians are not like that, he says.

Kjølsvik believes the school is based on the idea of keeping students away from the worldly. “Jesus said something that I think ultra-conservative Christians have misunderstood, about staying away from the worldly – the encounter with this world. This means that separate cultures and schools are created where you ensure that young people grow up together with like-minded people”, Kjølsvik tells the newspaper.

The school is a member of the Association of Christian Free Schools (KFF) and has been approved for an alternative curriculum together with five other schools. In a reaction, Jorunn Hallaråker Heggelund, secretary general of KFF, contradicts Kjølsvik statements. This reports Dagenhttps://www.dagen.no/nyheter/kristen-skole-far-kritikk-for-a-hevde-at-homofili-er-synd/. “A free school is not a congregation. All children and young people should feel safe and well at our schools, where they get to meet people they agree with and disagree with. I know our school leaders are keen to make arrangements for that.”

According to Heggelund, schools can teach that homosexuality is a sin. “Several of our schools have a values document, where their views on cohabitation issues come to the fore. They are allowed to have this.” She adds that with these possibilities come great responsibilities. “Both when it comes to building a tolerant culture where different opinions are expressed, and not least that gay students feel included in all arenas in the school. I feel that our schools do that.”



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