Norwegian minister works on extending ‘preaching ban’ in schools


Northern Europe


Education Minister Tonje Brenna with kindergarten children. Photo Facebook, Tonje Brenna

The Norwegian Education Minister, Tonje Brenna, wants to extend the current preaching ban for public schools in Norway. She has sent a proposal to the Storting for that.

Preaching should be forbidden at all times at all schools, according to Brenna in a press release on Friday, as reported by Dagen. Currently, preaching a religion is not allowed in primary schools and during the subject of Religion and Ethics (KRLE). “The proposal means that the ban on preaching will apply to both primary and secondary education and to KRLE and other subjects”, the Minister writes.

Brenna argues that it is not the purpose of education “to influence students towards the Christian faith.” Therefore, she deems it necessary that the preaching ban becomes a separate section in the Education Act so that it is evident that preaching is forbidden for all public educational institutes that fall under the Act. Private schools do not have to abide by that.


In theory, homeschooling parents also have to obey the Education Act. However, Minister Brenna acknowledges that it is hard to implement this rule on homeschooling families, as the law does not limit activities outside of school time. “There will not be as clear a distinction between what is training and what is not when parents provide training to their own children”, the proposal reads.

Critics of the proposal say that the concept of preaching is not clearly defined. “We agree that the school should not be an arena for preaching, but we are unsure what the government wants to achieve with this change”, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, Education spokesperson of the Christian Democratic Party, says to Dagen. “We are calling for a clearer definition of what is considered preaching.”

The Christian Democratic Party also believes that the Educational Act should not hinder schools in passing on the Christian cultural heritage to students, through, for example, school services. The Church Council shares that concern, Dagen writes.


Last year, the Ministry assured that the Education Act would not apply to school services. It said so to Vart Land. “It is not intended to change the framework for school services”, the State Secretary said in January. The leader of the Church Council, Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum, now says that she hopes that the opinion of the Ministry has not changed on that in the meantime.

The Christian Council of Norway (NKR), on the other hand, supports the bill. The NKR secretary general says that students should be able to be confronted with preaching but not in services hosted by the school. However, the council also points out that it is necessary to clearly define what preaching is. “It can be difficult to draw the line between pure teaching and preaching.”



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