[Surfside] NYT -- Lutheran Minister Who Denied God Exists Back in Pulpit

Vulcan vulcan at photonforge.com
Mon May 30 17:38:23 BST 2005

Religious beliefs aren't normally a disqualifier for holding a job, but...


Rev. Who Denied God Exists Back in Pulpit
Published: May 29, 2005
Filed at 9:18 p.m. ET

TAARBAEK, Denmark (AP) -- 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 

''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.

''It's a great relief, a great joy to have you back,'' Lars Heilesen, 
head of the parish council, told Grosboell.

''Welcome back, Thorkild, we missed you,'' one churchgoer said, kissing 
Grosboell, who has been the village minister since 1991.

In Denmark, where Lutheran priests 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.

Some 83 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million residents are members of the 
Lutheran church.

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