Central figures in the right wing Christian media in Norway have expressed a deep admiration for conservative American Christians. Now, they want to put on the Tea Party mantel.
“We won America, now we must win in Norway.” So said a writer in Norge IDAG, a right wing Christian newspaper, in the aftermath of the American election earlier this month. Editor Finn Jarle Sæle has time and again stated his admiration for Sarah Palin, and the editorial from the November 8, 2010 on the election clearly expressed his admiration for Tea Partiers:
. . . They won America.
Now we must do the same in Norway. We must, like them, say that Jesus is the foundation of our laws. That’s what Norway’s first national legislation stated at Moster in 1024 and repeated in the Constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814.
The time has come to bring Norway back to the precious principles of our Constitution. Our nation needs a change based on the rule of law, which our fathers gave us. This is how they think in America. They quote George Washington. He said nobody can rule a nation with justice without God and the Bible. They quote the man who abolished slavery, the great Christian president Abraham Lincoln, who said the Bible is the foundation for the law of the land.
The Tea Party says no to socialism and no to secularization. They have said a strong yes to liberty. They elected a libertarian, Rand Paul, to the Senate. Because they know that ultimate freedom, or libertarianism, comes with finding Jesus Christ.
We know that only good, old Jesusland has freedom and prosperity. And we think that those who take away the philosophy of Christ and remove Jesus from our schools, kindergartens, and Constitution, take away our freedom and our prosperity. They surrender us to a controlling state unequipped to give us either freedom or benefits. As a last resort, the state tries to save itself with more and more taxes and more and more control.
So let’s stand up in the spirit of Henrik Wergeland. Norge IDAG wishes to inspire extra-parlamentarian opposition, small and big tea parties. Soon, we too will win elections. We cannot follow the traditional methods that, for a long time, have led to losses for Christians. We win because we no longer just sit on the sofa. We win when we understand our possibilities as Christians. We are the largest people’s movement besides those that have formed around organized sports.
Our first task is to turn each pessimist into an optimist. We will claim God’s blessings over Norway. As before, Deut. 27 and 28 shall be fulfilled. When we follow God’s laws, we are the richest nation in the world. Then, we will start winning Nobel Prizes just as Israelis do. He puts us higher than any other nation, the Bible says, when we keep the covenant from Moster and Eidsvoll, which built Norway. It has helped our country so far, despite the infiltration of socialism and secularization . . .
This is just an excerpt, but you get the picture.
At a time when the more moderate Christian Democratic Party (est. 1933) struggles with massive loss of popular support and strives to find its way back to political power, right wing groups are networking heavily and taking cues from conservative American Protestantism.
Kristenfolket (The Christian People, or just The Christians), a coalition inspired by the Moral Majority, tries to encourage Norwegian Christians to vote for conservative political parties based on a nice bouquet of issues such as support for Israel, defense of traditional marriage, and Islamophobia. In 2009, Kristenfolket and other conservative Christians gathered at Moster, where the first national law based on Christianity was signed, to reclaim Norway for Christ and pray for God’s blessings over Norway. (If God really listened to their prayers, he must be a left wing social democrat.)
Whether they have actual political power or not is hard to estimate. But judging from their economy, they’re on the rise. While the Norwegian State Church, to which about 80% Norwegians belong, struggles to raise enough funds to create a reality show about the life of an ordinary minister, Visjon Norge, a charismatic right wing TV station has a record high offerings and a loyal base of viewers who donate money to the station.
As American style historical fundamentalism seems to seep into Norwegian fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and charismatic wings of Norwegian Christianity, I cling to the fact that Norway is a nation of coffee drinkers. I hope that keeps most of us sober.