The Norwegian Humanist Association strives for:
- a society without a state religion or religious stipulations for public institutions,
- a society free from any law or ordinance discriminating citizens outside the State Church,
- a public school and kindergarten system free from denominational control, without obligatory participation in religious ceremonies,
- offering adequate civil ceremonies for the rites-of-passage,
- promoting and fighting for human rights,
- spreading information about humanism.
Changing the Norwegian Constitution
The Norwegian Constitution of 1814 states in § 2:
"All inhabitants of the realm enjoy the free exercise of religion. The religion of the state remains Evangelical-Lutheran. Inhabitants of that confession are committed to raising their children in the same."
The Norwegian Humanist Association want an amendment to this § 2. The aim is to
*separate Church and State, and
*introduce liberty for all religions and life stances on equal terms.
The Norwegian Humanist Association:
- is a forum for discussions about ethical and philosophical subjects,
- acts as officiates at ceremonies celebrating the rites-of-passage in a non-religious way:
- celebration of birth,
- coming of age,
- acts as lobbyists in national and local politics against religious and philosophical discrimination,
- acts as critics against superstition and bigotry,
- arranges meetings for our members.
For hundreds of years the Lutheran State Churches have had a monopoly on confirmation ceremonies for 14-year-olds. As a result of religious liberty, modernism, and secularisation, non-believers felt a need for a different kind of celebration that is just as emotionally satisfying for the participants but which is based on new knowledge of the world, new ideas of a good life and freed from religious dogmas.
In 1951 the first civil confirmation in Norway took place in Oslo starting with 34 civil confirmations in that year. In 1956 the Norwegian Humanist Association took over this responsibility. Now around 16 % of the young people in Norway do a civil confirmation instead of a religious confirmation. In the year 2002 there were in total 8700 youngsters. Around Oslo the percentage of young people doing a civil confirmation is above 20 %.
To take part in the civil ceremony, participants attend a course where they discuss life stances and world religions, ethics and human sexuality, human rights and civic duties. In short, the question that is addressed during the course is: "how shall we behave towards one another?". At the end of the course the participants receive a diploma at a ceremony where there is music, poetry and speeches.