Since the separation of state and church in 2000 when church revenues were untied from general taxation, the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden has lost more than 200,000 of its members.
“In the short-term, we are talking about relatively low losses, possible to handle. One percent fewer members per year during the last three years is not alarming,” said Gunnar Nygren, financial controller at the Swedish archbishop’s office. “But in the long-term, say ten years, we will face serious consequences,” he cautioned.
The Church of Sweden is now member-supported by a church fee equal on average to 1 percent of a member’s income. The fee finances about 80 percent of activities in 2,200 parishes. The system is seen by some as a demand for payment, leading them to leave the church for financial reasons.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).