If you thought the anti-Islam stance of Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right, unelected political party Stram Kurs, would make him a natural opponent of theocracies – after all, they’re very rarely found outside Muslim countries – then think again.
Japan was one until Emperor Hirihito had to denounce himself as a god at the end of World War II, Florence had a flirtation in the 1490s, and Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, was also the mayor of a small city in Illinois before taking his followers to settle in Mexico in what is today Utah.
All of this leaves the Vatican State as the only theocracy outside the Arab World … or at least until now.
Named after Santiago the slayer
Step forward the lawyer with the lighter. Paludan has this week confirmed that he has founded Sankt Jakob Maurerdræberens Kirke.
Significantly, perhaps, he has named the church after James, the patron saint of Spain, who over a thousand years after his death helped the country free itself from its occupation by the Moors in the 13th century.
According to Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper, Paludan’s immediate goal is to get the church recognised as a denomination with the authority to perform marriages and baptisms.
To do this, he will need to submit a set of statutes, a creed and a list of adult members, of which one will need to be the priest. Until then, the church is little more than an idea, although it does have an address in Rødkærsbro in central Jutland and a CVR number.
If it is granted, Paludan intends to become the church’s archbishop, and he is looking forward to performing marriages and baptisms himself.
Echoes of Breivik the mass-murderer
Paludan is adamant his church will be firmly anti-Muslim. He is already well known for burning several copies of the Koran, and he chastises the tolerance recently shown by the Danish Lutheran Church to mosques in Denmark.
“We are in the process of ensuring that we live up to all the requirements so that we can become a recognised denomination, and then we must acquire some church buildings,” he explained.
“It is a Christian church, but we do not have much focus on turning the other cheek. We are inspired by Saint James, who drew his sword when necessary. So it’s a bit of a crusade.”
Paludan’s rhetoric echoes the manifesto of the Norwegian mass-murdering terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 69 people – mostly school-kids – on an island near Oslo in July 2011 to draw attention to his call to deport all Muslims from Europe.