For another example of how ‘religious toleration’ can mean exactly the opposite, travel to Denmark. The Economist (link requires payment of vast sums of money) is reporting the views of one Thorkild Grosboel. “There’s no heavenly God, there’s no eternal life, and there’s no resurrection.” He is, of course, fully entitled to those opinions, but there’s a catch. Grosboel is the pastor of a small town north of Copenhagen – and he wants to keep his job. The local bishop has, quite correctly, barred Grosboel from the pulpit, but, incredibly (a not inappropriate word), the Economist notes that ‘some liberals within the church urge greater leniency’.
There’s nothing particularly new – or shocking – about clergymen questioning their faith. The curate with ‘doubts’ is a familiar figure from literature and anecdote, but these are doubts best not shared with parishioners. Grosboel, by contrast, seems to have moved – and moved very publicly – from doubt to certainty, the certainty, presumably, that the rites at which he officiates are nothing more than mumbo-jumbo. To continue to perform them is an insult both to his church and (if it stops to think about the implications) his congregation – post-modernism can only go so far, even in Denmark.
Grosboel should show some manners – and quit.