The question of how accommodating churches should be toward other religions has risen sharply in importance over the past few years.
Eva Brunne was made the world’s first openly lesbian bishop by the church of Sweden back in 2009. She has a young son with her wife and fellow lesbian priest Gunilla Linden.
Brunne recently told a priest in Stockholm that he should remove all signs of the cross and have markings of the way to pray toward Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers.
The church is the Seaman’s mission church, located in Stockholm’s eastern dockyards.
Brunne said she wanted a place where sailors of other faiths could come to pray.
She said that Muslim visitors to the church were “angels.”
In a post on her official blog, Brunne defended her idea, saying that to do otherwise would be “stingy towards people of other faiths”.
She also argued that airports and hospitals already have multi-faith prayer rooms, and it is time for the mission church in Stockholm to adapt.
Father Patrik Petterson, a priest active in the same parish as the mission church, took issue with Brunne’s views on his blog.
He said that the bishop’s words were “theologically unthinking,” and wrote: “Ignoring the rhetorical murmuring. The only argument bishop Eva really put forward in support of her view is ‘hospitality’… How do you respond to that? Not much of a basis for discussion, as one colleague put it. The theological, ecclesiological, pastoral and working issues are left untouched.”
The church director of the Seaman’s mission church stated: “I have no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors coming here and praying. But I believe that we are a Christian church, so we keep the symbols. If I visit a mosque I do not ask them to take down their symbols. It’s my choice to go in there.”
What do you think of the bishop’s comments that crosses should be taken down and the way to Mecca marked in the Seaman’s church?