Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. M. S. Careless, The Union of the Canadas. The Growth of Canadian Institutions 1841- 1857 ( Toronto, 1967), pp. 185-203.

J. S. Moir, Church and State in Canada West: Three Studies in the Relation of Denominationalism and Nationalism, 1841-1867 ( Toronto, 1959), pp. 27-81.

-----, The Church in the British Era. From the British Conquest to Confederation (Toronto, 1972), pp. 180-183, 189-193.

A. Wilson, The Clergy Reserves of Upper Canada: A Canadian Mortmain ( Toronto, 1968), pp. 197-222.


99
Swedish Religious Law of 1860 (Extracts) October 26, 1860

Sweden, overwhelmingly Lutheran, maintained a vigorous state church, but the evangelical awakenings produced several pietistic and evangelical sects, of which the most important was the Mission Covenant. In the nineteenth century the numbers of Baptists and Methodists also increased. These bodies, supported by political liberalism, sought abandonment of the eighteenth-century Conventicle Act ( 1726) and of the legal requirement of banishment for those leaving the state church. Under Oscar I ( 1844-1859), with the liberal reformer, Louis de Geer, as minister of justice, the Conventicle Act was repealed in 1858. However, separate assemblies still could exist only under stern restrictions. The Repeal Decree stated:

Unless special permission is granted, such a gathering may not occur at the time when the regular religious service of the parish takes place. Nor may the clergy of the parish, members of the [parochial] church council, or magistrates of the place be denied admission to a meeting for worship distinct from private family devotions. Should any illegality or disorder occur, the last-mentioned authority may disperse the meeting, if necessary. If someone who is not a minister or authorized for public preaching in conformity with church law appears at such a gathering as a religious teacher with preachings which could be considered as tending to church schism or contempt for the regular religious service or as otherwise undermining the sanctity of religion, it is the responsibility of the church council to forbid him to appear again in like capacity in the parish.

The Decree also stated that violations of these limits would be punished by fines of from fifty to three hundred rixdollars or imprisonment. ( Per Erik Lindorm , Vårt Kristna Arv, p. 304.)

This carefully measured religious freedom was clarified two years later by the Religious Law of 1860. This legislation described specific measures dissenters were to take in order to achieve legal recognition of separate religious standing. The bounds of liberty remained narrow;

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