Danish bishops want to submit to the general women's quota

01-11-2022

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Female priest in Denmark. Photo Folkekirken

The Danish Peoples' Church leadership intends to waive its exemption from the women's quota that the Equal Treatment Act prescribes. The Act forbids hiring a man over a woman based solely on gender. Religious communities are currently exempted from the rule.

The leading bishops of the Peoples' Church have sent a letter to the Ministry of Church Affairs requesting the abolishment of this exemption. They wrote so in a joint statement on Monday, as reported by Berlinske. At the moment, churches are still allowed to deselect, for example, female priests solely based on their gender.

Last week, the bishops of the Peoples' Church met to discuss the topic. They unanimously agreed that the provision should be revoked. Peter Skov-Jakobsen, bishop of the Diocese of Copenhagen, says in the press release that by removing the exemption, the "Peoples' church will send a clear signal that we do not hire priests according to gender, but according to qualifications, theological opinions and spiritual traditions", he states.

Other denominations will still be exempted

The Danish Minister of Church Affairs is willing to listen to the church's request. Minister Ane-Halsboe-Jørgensen responds that she is ready to remove the exemption provision if she is reinstated as church minister after the upcoming elections. That is reported by Avisen. "If you want to make a historic change like this, you must do so in close dialogue with the church itself. That is possible now", she says.

However, she also states that abolishing the exempted position will only apply to the Peoples' Church and not to other religious denominations. "It will not be possible to have freedom of religion as we know it if we start these demands down on all our religious communities. In the folk church, we have had female pastors for a long time, and that is good. But not all religious communities have had it, and that must be respected."

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