Atheist ad campaign success: thousands ditch Danish church

Atheist ad campaign success: thousands ditch Danish church

First came an bus ad campaign launched  by Denmark’s Atheist Society – Ateistisk Selskab– with the slogans ‘Why believe in a god’ and ‘Why does faith cost money – think for yourself’.

But a third slogan, “Did Jesus and Mohammad actually talk to a god?” was rejected by the bus company Movia.

This was followed by a nationwide campaign that urged people to stop giving money to churches.

The result, according to this report, was startling. Almost 3,000 baptised Danes cancelled their church membership.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark is among several churches in Europe subsidised by a Church tax. Although the tax is voluntary in Denmark, at a rate of around one per cent, church members are automatically signed up and have to opt out rather than opt in.

Almost eight in 10 Danish people are members of the Church of Denmark, known as “the People’s Church”. The Church is both Protestant and episcopally-led. Everyone who is baptised automatically becomes a member. Just 2.4 per cent of members attend every week.

The monarch is supreme authority of the church and has to be a member, although not the monarch’s spouse. However, Mary Donaldson converted from Presbyterianism when she married Crown Prince Frederik in 2004.

Atheist Society spokesman Anders Stjernholm said:

We are very pleased with the preliminary results. While our bus campaign calls for a broad debate about the foundations of faith, the withdrawal campaign targets the many Danes who have long considered leaving folkekirken, but have been putting it off because the process is too cumbersome.

One vicar, Lena Kjems, who lost 14 members, said:

We can see that in most cases these are young men aged 18-25, and so we, as a city parish with many students, have been hit especially hard.

Stephen Evans of the UK’s National Secular Society:

It’s not at all surprising that Danish citizens are cancelling their church membership. Nobody should be auto-enrolled into a religion, particularly when it comes with the imposition of a church tax to fund an institution that you may not support.

In secular democracies churches have to learn to stand on their own feet and not rely on unwilling citizens or the state for financial support. That goes as much for the Church of England here as it does the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark.

Hat tip: Peter Sykes

70 responses to “Atheist ad campaign success: thousands ditch Danish church”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    @Cali Ron
    ‘ Nobody can understand god’s ways because he doesn’t exist.’

    Is right. And Hutton’s claim that we can disregard all the nonsense and contradictions which the bibles contains simply because we are somehow unable to ‘understand god’s ways’ is pretty much the most feeble, pathetic and contemptible excuse which the religious can ever throw at you. On an intellectual level it is truly shameful.

  2. Bob says:


    You accuse me of being on benefits.

    You lying arab! I’m not on benefits.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Read it again, idiot. I said that you refuse to work and that you live on hand-outs. Something which you yourself have previously admitted to – although you attribute those hand-outs to your imaginary friend. I quote: ‘I’ve never had a professional job with an income to match… God provided for our needs to such an extent that we have a house that is more than adequate for our needs with no mortgage on it.’

    And by the way, don’t you think accusing me of being a ‘lying Arab’ is rather racist?

  4. Bob says:


    You DID accuse me of living on benefits (Wed 13/4/16 at 2.52pm) and, yes, you are a lying arab.

  5. AgentCormac says:

    Didn’t, didn’t, didn’t!!!!

    There you go Bob – intellectual debate the Hutton way.

    And if you aren’t living on benefits, perhaps you could clarify for us all how you managed to raise a family in a house with no mortgage without ever doing a day’s work.

  6. Daz says:

    To be fair, “never had a professional job” is not the same as “never had a job.”

    But, Bob; “Lying Arab”? Really? Got any more racist clichés you’d like to throw in?

  7. AgentCormac says:

    Bobby boy hasn’t contradicted me on the ‘never had a job’ front – which I’m sure he would have done if it wasn’t true. And I assume by ‘never had a professional job’ he means his parents made him get a paper round or similar when he was a child. But I’m sure he’ll soon clear it all up for us, especially the assertion that his invisible friend has provided everything for him. How nice to find a cheque from god on your doormat every now and again!

  8. barriejohn says:

    All that Bob has to do is to clarify what the source of his income has been. Surely that would be better than throwing racist insults around? Without that information this argument is going nowhere, as no one can be sure what his statement means.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    He has been asked the question, barriejohn, but somehow I don’t think we’ll be getting a reply. And without that information we can only speculate on how he has paid his way. Or indeed how others who do graft for their income and pay their taxes have been financially burdened with carrying him all his life.

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Well, in one last futile attempt to get Bob to start engaging again on this topic I have submitted a comment on his blog asking him to explain how god has bankrolled his life. I know he won’t publish said comment (he never does), but quite frankly his silence speaks volumes and tells us everything we need to know about where the Hutton income has actually come from over the years. And I fear it is literally at the expense of the decent, honest and hard-working people who live in his locale and who, by way of gratitude, he harangues with his delusions on a daily basis. Nice work, Bob!

  11. Bob says:

    @my critics and disaffected friends

    I work part time in secular employment. Because I don’t have a mortgage (it was paid off a while ago) I can survive on little income. My Gospel work is done “without charge” (1st Cor 9 v 18).

    However, it is true that some have freely given money to me, without solicitation, and I have used this to cover travelling expenses.

    If you want to criticise my views that is free speech and I accept that, but it is most unfair to accuse me of being on benefits.

    As far as being racist is concerned, while I have every respect for arabs and don’t wish to do them harm I would encourage you to read Genesis 16 v 11-12.

    Regards to all


  12. barriejohn says:

    “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Gen. 16:11-12 KJV)

    And that justifies hatred of Arabs!

  13. AgentCormac says:

    So you do have a job and you do accept hand-outs. So not god providing for your needs afterall.

  14. Bob says:


    The Lord raises up people to provide for His work. When people give to God’s work then He gives to them.


    I don’t hate arabs but I feel sorry for them.

  15. Daz says:

    “I don’t hate arabs but I feel sorry for them.”
    …And see nothing wrong with portraying them as liars based on nothing but a putative common ancestry. (That’s pretty much the definition of racism, Bob. Oh, and what is it you actually feel sorry for them for, exactly?)

    “I don’t hate gays but I feel sorry for them.”
    …And see nothing wrong with treating them as second-class citizens, demonising them as “perverts.”

    “I don’t hate unemployed people but I feel sorry for them.”
    …And see nothing wrong with implying that they’re all lazy good-for-nothings who should be starved to the point where they’re willing to endure being preached at and moralised at, in order to obtain a stale bread-roll and a bowl of soup.

    “I don’t hate atheists but I feel sorry for them.”
    …And see nothing wrong with smugly crowing about how they’re bound for hell, whenever one of them dies.

    Bob, if the upshot of your “feeling sorry” for people is that they get treated worse than they would have if you’d ignored them completely, what, precisely, is the practical difference between that and hatred?

  16. Bob says:


    Calm down, dear!

  17. Daz says:

    Bob, darling, I’m perfectly calm.

    I notice you didn’t bother to answer the question though.

  18. barriejohn says:

    AgentCormac: When you are “saved”, God provides for ALL your needs. Money quite literally drops into your lap!

    Peruse that little lot if you will. I was fed loads of that nonsense as a young Christian; mostly complete fiction, with a smattering of happy coincidence thrown in for good measure.

  19. AgentCormac says:

    What a strange and perplexing little dreamworld you live in. Reality is definitely something that happens to other people, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the link. There are some deeply deluded folk out there.

  20. Bob says:


    Many thanks for the link, it was very encouraging to read of examples of God’s provision. I have known this in my own life many times, and continue to do so.