SF backs off ‘Ministry of Life Philosophy’ suggestion
Less than 24 hours after Pernille VigsÃ¸ Bagge, a spokesperson for the Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) suggested that the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs Â– commonly known as the Church Ministry (kirkeministeriet) Â– change its name to the Ministry of Life Philosophy, she backtracked.
After telling TV2 News on Sunday evening that the ministry should change its name in order to accommodate Muslims and others of “different faiths and philosophies”, Bagge reversed field on Monday afternoon and said that it was not SFÂ’s policy nor her personal belief that the ministry should change names.
The reversal came after her suggestion met with scathing criticism from politicians around the country and online.
Konservative (K) party leader Lars Barfoed, for one, said he was firmly against the suggestion.
“The Church of Denmark is recognised as part of our constitution,Â” he said. Â“Our entire culture is based on Christian humanist values.”
He said that SF’s suggestion struck at the core values of Danish society.
Integration minister Karen Haekkerup (Socialdemokraterne) dismissed the entire debate and said that the government was not interested in changing the ministryÂ’s name.
“The conversation in Denmark should be about creating jobs and how to get the economy back on track,Â” she said. Â“That’s what we need to talk about.”
Commenters on political websites around the country scoffed at the new name that Bagge suggested and had a few ideas of their own on how the ministry should be dubbed.
Â‘The Ministry for Tax-Funded SuperstitionÂ’ was suggested by a commenter on Jyllands-PostenÂ’s website . The comic duo Wuffmorgenthaller went a step further and suggested it be dubbed Â‘The Ministry for All Forms of Silly SuperstitionsÂ’. Several commentators compared the whole affair to the classic Monty Python bit about the “Ministry of Silly Walks”.
Bagge called the debate – and her opponents – “ridiculous” on her Facebook page Sunday night.
“Ridiculous commotion over the TV2 segment [Sunday night]. The ministry today is called the Ministry for Eqaulity and Church,Â” she wrote. Â“In terms of content it is logical that the religious community in Denmark be gathered under one ministry. ThatÂ’s the way it was previously. K, who are in a rage, themselves proposed a new church arrangment when Per Stig was minister. [Dansk Folkeparti] is responding to the word Â‘MuslimÂ’, which incidentally I didnÂ’t mention. Relax.Â”
By Monday afternoon she was taking pains to distance herself and her party from her comments.