Church of Sweden Raises Eyebrows by Protesting Mining as 'Spiritually Unsustainable'

CC0 / / Sweden mine
Sweden mine - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.02.2022
The Church of Sweden has emphasised its own push toward becoming climate neutral by 2030 and urged the authorities to take "moral responsibility" and decide against the mine on which many pin their economic hopes. In response, netizens on social media berated the church for becoming political.
The Church of Sweden has penned an open letter to the government, taking a stance on the issue of prospective mining in Kallak, Norrbotten County in the northernmost part of the country – in a move that social media has labelled mundane and unbecoming.
In the letter signed by Luleå Bishop Åsa Nyström together with Archbishop Antje Jackelén, the Kallak mine is called "spiritually unsustainable", despite northern Sweden already being rich in mining pits.
"Who will pay the price for what the government calls the green transition?", the signatories write in their letter.

Furthermore, the representatives of the Church of Sweden list various arguments against the mine urging the authorities to take "moral responsibility" for what they called a threat to "spiritual and public health".
"The Church of Sweden has an ambitious roadmap with the goal of achieving climate neutrality for our own operations by the year 2030. We are thus strongly committed to a green transition. On a theological basis, we work with a fourfold concept of sustainability: ecological, economic, social, and spiritual-existential. The mine in Kallak is in conflict with all four dimensions of sustainability", the letter maintained.
The church's representatives also emphasised the ethnic dimension because present-day Jokkmokk municipality, where the prospective mine is located, has been a core area for the indigenous Sami people "long before Sweden became a nation".
On social media, however, many were unimpressed with the Church of Sweden having a say on secular affairs.
"Who will pay the price if the mine is not opened?", one user queried, reversing the opening line of the letter.
"So the Church of Sweden would rather mines be opened in Congo with children as labour? Unfortunately, that is the alternative. But when did the church become so political? Scary...", another individual mused.
"It's getting so ridiculous when an archbishop is so desperate to be seen. Everyone knows that the green shift will require mineral mining. There are no arguments here on the larger issue and definitely nothing that calls for church interference", another netizen maintained.
The Kallak Iron Deposit is one of the largest of its kind in Sweden, identified in the 1940s and thought to contain millions of tonnes of ore. While in 2014, local authorities said no to further mining in Kallak labelling it as "ancestral lands" for the indigenous community, the Swedish state's geology decision-making body overruled the county, leaving the government with the final say in the matter. Those in favour of the mine say it will provide hundreds of jobs to the local community otherwise marked by depopulation and economic woes.
Church in Sweden - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2021
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At over 5 million worshippers, the Church of Sweden is Europe's largest Lutheran denomination. Formerly a state church, it is known for its liberal views on numerous social issues, including its staunch support of feminism, sexual minorities, and migrants.
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