The Tolerance Act (Swedish : Toleransediktet) was a Swedish law, enacted by Gustav III of Sweden 24 January 1781. It guaranteed freedom of religion and full citizen rights for all Christian immigrants and foreign residents in Sweden.
Since the Uppsala Synod of 1593, Lutheranism had officially been the only religion allowed in Sweden, though the foreign embassies were given dispensation, as well as other foreigners temporarily residing in the country. The Tolerance Act was introduced in line with the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment. There was also an economic motivation, namely, that religious toleration would make it easier for foreigners to work in Sweden. This was the point of view of Anders Chydenius when he presented his motion on the issue at the 1779 Riksdag."Touched by the misfortunes of my fellow citizens and sensitive to the growth and strength of my native country, I have expressed my thoughts," he said. "The prejudices that seek to exterminate villagers by force of conscience and persecution are, thank God, long since dispelled." According to Chydenius, freedom of religion did not have to pose a threat to the Lutheran faith. He cited several examples that would have a reassuring effect: "Denmark is not Jewish, even though these unfortunate people there live in peace and visit their synagogues in public."
The clergy rejected the proposal at the Riksdag of the Estates, but the issue was settled by the approval of the other three estates.
According to the act, Christian immigrants were to have free and unrestricted religious practice and civil, but not full political, rights. They were also guaranteed the right to bring up their children in their faith. However, the immigrants were denied access to state offices and parliamentary rights. Nor were they allowed to hold public processions, establish public schools or monasteries, or engage in any kind of proselytizing. No monks were allowed to enter the country, "of whatever religion or sect they may be".
Anyone who insulted the worship of foreigners or blasphemed their doctrines and practices was to be punished with a fine. If the priests of the state church were called upon to visit ill immigrants, they were not allowed to trouble their consciences with religious disputes and controversies.
The new law earned Gustav III a letter of thanksgiving from Pope Pius VI, and the king responded by expressing his joy at having won the approval of such an enlightened ruler.
The act was followed in 1782 by the Judereglementet ('The Jewish Regulations'), which guaranteed freedom of religion specifically for Jewish immigrants. This legislation was a step toward full freedom of religion in Sweden. However, it only applied to immigrants and foreigners, while the Lutheran Swedish citizens were still restricted in their practice of religion by the Conventicle Act (konventikelplakatet).
The Tolerance Act was replaced by the Dissenter Acts from 1860 and 1873, which made it legal for a Swedish citizen to leave the established Lutheran church and join another officially recognised denomination, but conversion to one of the so-called foreign religious communities was still hedged about by strong restrictions.
Similar reforms were made elsewhere in Enlightenment Europe, such as the Patent of Toleration in 1781 in Joseph II's Austria, and were a fundamental idea in the United States Constitution. However, the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 and the Toleration Act in 1689 in England had a different background.
The Conventicle Act remained in place for native Swedes until 1858, which completely restricted their freedom of worship outside of that of the Church of Sweden, whose status was regulated by law as a state church. The final act was the law of 1951, which allowed for complete freedom of conscience by allowing citizens to renounce or abandon one religious confession without replacing it with another, thereby formally also legalizing atheism.
Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs, "the right not to profess any religion or belief", or "not to practise a religion".
The Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, the first law in North America requiring religious tolerance for Christians. It was passed on April 21, 1649, by the assembly of the Maryland colony, in St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland. It created one of the pioneer statutes passed by the legislative body of an organized colonial government to guarantee any degree of religious liberty. Specifically, the bill, now usually referred to as the Toleration Act, granted freedom of conscience to all Christians. Historians argue that it helped inspire later legal protections for freedom of religion in the United States. The Calvert family, who founded Maryland partly as a refuge for English Catholics, sought enactment of the law to protect Catholic settlers and those of other religions that did not conform to the dominant Anglicanism of Britain and her colonies.
Religious intolerance is intolerance of another's religious beliefs, practices, or lack thereof.
The separation of church and state is a philosophical and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the state. Conceptually, the term refers to the creation of a secular state and to disestablishment, the changing of an existing, formal relationship between the church and the state. Although the concept is older, the exact phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from "wall of separation between church and state", a term coined by Thomas Jefferson. The concept was promoted by Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke.
A state religion is a religion or creed officially endorsed by a sovereign state. A state with an official religion, while not secular, is not necessarily a theocracy. State religions are official or government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, but the state does not need to be under the control of the religion nor is the state-sanctioned religion necessarily under the control of the state.
Religious toleration may signify "no more than forbearance and the permission given by the adherents of a dominant religion for other religions to exist, even though the latter are looked on with disapproval as inferior, mistaken, or harmful". Historically, most incidents and writings pertaining to toleration involve the status of minority and dissenting viewpoints in relation to a dominant state religion. However, religion is also sociological, and the practice of toleration has always had a political aspect as well.
An edict of toleration is a declaration, made by a government or ruler, and states that members of a given religion will not be persecuted for engaging in their religious practices and traditions. The edict implies tacit acceptance of the religion rather than its endorsement by the ruling power.
The Catholic Church in Sweden was established by Archbishop Ansgar in Birka in 829, and further developed by the Christianization of Sweden in the 9th century. King Olof Skötkonung is considered the first Christian king of Sweden.
Anders Chydenius was a Swedish-Finnish Lutheran priest and a member of the Swedish Riksdag, and is known as the leading classical liberal of Nordic history.
The Flushing Remonstrance was a 1657 petition to Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant, in which some thirty residents of the small settlement at Flushing requested an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship. It is considered a precursor to the United States Constitution's provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights.
The Catholic Church in the Nordic countries was the only Christian church in that region before the Reformation in the 16th century. Since then, Scandinavia has been a mostly non-Catholic (Lutheran) region and the position of Nordic Catholics for many centuries after the Reformation was very difficult due to legislation outlawing Catholicism. However, the Catholic population of the Nordic countries has seen some growth in the region in recent years, particularly in Norway, in large part due to immigration and to a lesser extent conversions among the native population.
The Patent of Toleration was an edict of toleration issued on 13 October 1781 by the Habsburg emperor Joseph II. Part of the Josephinist reforms, the Patent extended religious freedom to non-Catholic Christians living in the crown lands of the Habsburg monarchy, including Lutherans, Calvinists, and the Eastern Orthodox. Specifically, these members of minority faiths were now legally permitted to hold "private religious exercises" in clandestine churches.
Aaron Isaac was a Jewish seal engraver and merchant in haberdashery. He came from Pommery, a German-speaking area then part of the Swedish Empire, during the reign of Gustav III, and was persuaded to come to Sweden where there were no seal engravers at the time. He did this on the condition that he could bring with him at least ten Jews, in order to have a minyan (quorum) for prayer. His native language was Yiddish.
Religion in Sweden has, over the years, become increasingly diverse. Christianity was the religion of virtually all of the Swedish population from the 12th to the early 20th century, but it has rapidly declined throughout the late 20th and early 21st century.
A conventicle originally signified no more than an assembly, and was frequently used by ancient writers for a church. At a semantic level conventicle is only a good Latinized synonym of the Greek word church, and points to Jesus' promise in Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are met together in my name." It came to be applied specifically to meetings of religious associations, particularly private and secret gatherings for worship. Later it became a term of deprecation or reproach, implying that those of whom it was used were in opposition to the ruling ecclesiastical authorities; for example, it was applied to a cabal of mutinous monks in a convent or monastery. Ultimately it came to mean religious meetings of dissenters from an established church, held in places that were not recognized as specially intended for public worship or for the exercise of religious functions. It implied that a condition of affairs obtained in which the State made a distinction between a form or forms of religion whose practice and propagation were authorized by statute, and such as were expressly prohibited by enactment. This usage has received legal sanction in Britain.
Dissenter Acts were laws, enacted by the King of Sweden with the consent of the Swedish Parliament, which gave nonconformists who wanted to leave the then established Church of Sweden the right to do so, provided that the dissenters then joined one of the state-approved denominations. The first such edict was decreed in 1860 by Karl XV and the Ståndsriksdag; the second one in 1873 by Oscar II and the reorganized bicameral Riksdag. Neither the Ståndsriksdag, divided into four Estates, nor the newer Riksdag could be said to be truly democratic, though, as the suffrage was restricted to males who owned property. The 1873 edict remained in force until the 1951 Religious Freedom Act (religionsfrihetslag); the Church of Sweden remained the established state church until 2000.
The Conventicle Act was a Swedish law, in effect between 21 January 1726 and 26 October 1858 in Sweden and until 1 July 1870 in Finland. The act outlawed all conventicles, or religious meetings of any kind, outside of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, with the exception of family prayer or worship. The purpose was to prevent freedom of religion and protect religious unity, as such unity was regarded as important to maintain the control of the Crown over the public through the Church. The law only applied to Swedish citizens, while the religious freedom of foreigners was protected by the Tolerance Act.
Peter Spaak was a Swedish Protestant Reformer.
The Conventicle Act was a decree issued 13 January 1741 by King Christian VI of Denmark and Norway and forbade lay preachers from holding religious services – conventicles – without the approval of the local Lutheran priest. The law was repealed in 1839 in Denmark and 1842 in Norway, which lay the groundwork for freedom of assembly.
The Dissenter Act is a Norwegian law from 1845 that allowed Christian denominations other than the Church of Norway to establish themselves in the country. It was enacted on 16 July 1845, and remained in effect until it was replaced by the Act Relating to Religious Communities, etc. in 1969.