5.29.2005

Lutherans Make Room for Atheist Minister



Rev. Who Denied God Exists Back in Pulpit

from Associated Press

TAARBAEK, Denmark - A Danish Lutheran minister who publicly denied the existence of God said Sunday he was glad to be back in the pulpit, but refused to speak about the case that led to his brief suspension last year.

Rev. Thorkild Grosboell was showered with flowers, hugs and kisses after holding a service in a church in this village eight miles north of Copenhagen.

"It was great, great," Grosboell said after the service, but refused to speak to reporters about the case, which he described in his sermon as "nonsense."

The country's Evangelical Lutheran Church suspended him in June 2004 because he said in an interview that "there is no heavenly God." Earlier this month, he was reinstated after renewing his vows, but will remain under the supervision of a bishop.

Some 250 people filled the small, 140-year-old, red-brick church and then gathered on a nearby lawn for a drink to celebrate the popular minister's return.

In Denmark, where Lutheran ministers are employed by the state and only the government can fire them or take them to court, the church requested Grosboell be placed before a disciplinary labor court for doubting eternal life and the resurrection.

The government refused, saying he should be given another chance to explain himself to Jan Lindhardt, a regional bishop who has been one of his few defenders. Lindhardt has said that although he disagrees with Grosboell's views there should be room for him in Denmark's state church.

On May 20, Grosboell renewed his clerical vows before Lindhardt, but said his views about God remain unchanged.

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December 01, 2009 7:26 AM  

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