Three demonstrators stripped and simulated sexual activity during special Kristi Himmelfartsdag (Ascension Day) services in the Oslo Cathedral on Thursday. They reportedly were protesting the recent dismissal of an Oslo pastor over his public accounts of his own sexual experiences.
VG Nett reported that the demonstration in the cathedral occurred just as the cathedral’s pastor led a procession up its main aisle. The three naked persons were posed at the alter, “in Adam and Eve position,” Pastor Caroline Haugland-Formoe told VG Nett.
The demonstrators’ reported goal was to show their support for Pastor Einar Gelius, who had to leave his post as pastor for Vålerenga Church in Oslo after he published a book last year called “Sex in the Bible.” In addition to chronicling various references to sex in biblical text, Gelius also reflected on his own sexual behaviour in passages that some church officials equated to pornography.
Police arrested the three persons after their unusual protest on Thursday, which Gelius himself said he found shocking.
“I become quite shocked over this type of stunt,” Gelius told VG. “It’s nice to have so much support, but this was over the line. I don’t even know these people.”
They reportedly are part of a group initially formed to protect rain forests, and which gained wide publicity several years ago for performing a sex stunt on stage at a summer music festival in Kristiansand.
Church officials were not pleased by Thursday’s demonstration. Harald Hegstad, leader of the local bishops’ council, said the church distanced itself “from this type of action” on church premises. The Oslo Cathedral is often used as a site for other protest actions, most recently involving rejected refugees whose applications for asylum have been turned down.
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