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Swedish Pastors: Open Church to Polyamorous Relationships by Sven R. Larson

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Swedish Pastors: Open Church to Polyamorous Relationships

In an op-ed on June 15th for the Kyrkans Tidning, the official newspaper of the Swedish Lutheran church, two pastors in the southern city of Malmö call on the church to “receive people” who practice polyamorous relationships:

The mission of the Church of Sweden is conciliatory diversity. During [Pride month] diversity becomes particularly visible in the colors of the rainbow. One of the spectra of the rainbow is polyamorous identity.

The two members of clergy, Ms. Gunilla Hallonsten, senior pastor for the parish of the city of Malmö, and Ms. Helena Myrstener, pastor for the St. Johannes church in the city, define monogamous marriage as a “traditional, classic, Christian view of marriage.” This kind of marriage, they say, is understood as “a divine order” that we human beings are unable to “rationally” understand.

This traditional “theology,” the pastors propose, “has shaped the dreams of many” that a monogamous relationship means finding the perfect partner. They then ask: “Is not the requirement hidden in this actually unattainable?”

To offer a theological foundation for polyamory, Pastors Hallonsten and Myrstener explain that God exists “in an ongoing process and relation that we know as the Trinity.” Within this triune existence, they suggest, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit live in equal relationships.

The Church of Sweden took its first step toward approving homosexual marriages in 1995, with full marital status granted in 2009. 

While opening itself to homosexual marriage, the Church of Sweden has also deepened its relations with Islam. In 2015, Nathan Söderblom, former Archibishop of Sweden, called for the church to be more open towards other religions. In February 2022, his successor Antje Jackelen invited representatives of other religions to an interfaith meeting with the purpose of increasing the church’s openness toward Islam. 

In 2019, the bishopric of Växjö explained that Swedes must “get used to” Muslim calls to prayer.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.