Atheist Pastor May Keep State Job In Denmark

A Danish pastor sparked an uproar recently when he announced that he does not believe in God, but he still may be able to keep his state-paid job.

The Rev. Thorkild Grosboel, a Lutheran minister, reportedly said, "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection."

Grosboel was suspended from his pastoral duties June 3 by the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, but his future in the ministry has not yet been determined. In Denmark, the final decision over whether Grosboel should be defrocked falls to the Danish government's Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. Under Denmark's constitution, Lutheran priests are employed by the state and cannot be dismissed by bishops.

Some 85 percent of Danes belong to the state-supported Lutheran Church, but only 5 percent of the country's 5.3 million people attend services regularly.