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Lisätty: 2006-06-29

Internet Deconstructing State Church in Finland

Freethinkers of the city of Tampere, who advocate separation of state and church in Finland, created a web site in 2003 to assist people in resigning from the church. The web site soon became a big success in Finland. 39% of all resignations in 2004 went through the web site and 69% of all resignations in 2005.

Monthly church resignations through the web site in 2004 and 2005

Easy resignation through the web site has increased the rate of resignations in Finland. Resigning through the web site only requires filling a short personal information form, after which a local city council will receive an email about the resignation. In cities where the city council does not accept email resignations, Freethinkers will pay the postal fee.

The rate of resignations from the Evangelic Lutheran state church of Finland has increased rapidly in recent years. 27009 people resigned from the church in 2004. 33043 people resigned in 2005, which is 22% more than in 2004. There are approximately 5.26 million people in Finland, which gives a proportion of people resigning from the church of 0.6% in 2005. The most common reasons cited for resigning from the church have been saving church income tax (1.3% on average), lack of religious beliefs and belief in another religion. A person can avoid church income tax by resigning before a new year begins. Increased resignation rates in November and December (shown in the figure) supports the theory that the most common reason for resigning is avoiding the income tax.