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Prayers for soccer teams criticized

Sist oppdatert:
The Norwegian Minister of Culture and Church Affairs said that it is a little too much when priests pray for their soccer team in church.

«I do not wish to comment on what people pray for in private, but I think this is a little too much of a joke when praying in church,» said Valgerd Svarstad Haugland (picture), minister of culture and church affairs, to the Norwegian paper Dagsavisen.

It was Vicar Einar Gelius in Vålerenga church who thanked God for Vålerenga’s 4-1 victory over Rosenborg.

«It’s going well for Vålerenga for the moment and it is a positive lift for many people and that is what we want to thank God for,» Gelius said.

Lars Sperre, priest in Tempe church in Trondheim, followed by stating that he and the candidates for confirmation will pray for victory for Rosenborg.

«I think it is important that priests wish to make services as close to people’s everyday life, but it is too absurd to pray for a soccer team,» said Svarstad Haugland. «It’s just too absurd.»

Svarstad Haugland receives support from theology professor Jacob Jervell who claims that this type of prayer is close to blasphemy.

«I’m an avid soccer fan myself, and I say that in heaven Viking wins all games, but God is not a member of Viking, and it would never occur to me to pray for victory for my favorite team,» Jervell said. «This is not the church’s role and a practice like that is completely worthless.»

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