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Church of Sweden unveils first-ever LGBT-inclusive altarpiece and homophobes are seriously triggered

Lily Wakefield December 2, 2019
Church of sweden altarpiece

Paradise by photographer and artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin. (Karin Rosvall/ St Paul's Church)

The Church of Sweden has unveiled the country’s first-ever LGBT+ altarpiece, the artwork behind an altar, and homophobes are very upset about it.

The painting, titled ‘Paradise’, shows same-sex couples wearing fig leaves in the Garden of Eden and was created by the lesbian artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.

St Paul’s church in Malmö unveiled the altarpiece on the first day of advent (December 1) to create “greater inclusion and identification in the Church”.

St Paul’s said in a statement: “It is with pride and joy that we receive Paradise in St Paul’s Church. We need images that open up for greater inclusion and identification in the church.

“We are grateful to Elisabeth’s artistry, which enables us to build a credible church that shows that we all, regardless of who we love and identify as, are accommodated in Paradise.”

One of the pastors at the church wrote on Twitter: “On Sunday, history is written. Sweden’s only LGBT altarpiece (Elisabeth Ohlsson Wallin) is received by St Paul’s church in Malmö… We are so happy and proud!”

However, many on social media were upset about the celebratory and inclusive piece of art. One person wrote: “Not impressed. This is not about Christian values, but only political activism. Shameful!”

Another added: “This is an anti-Christian heresy that abhors the altar and the Eucharist. Those responsible should be excommunicated.”

Ohlson Wallin is know for causing controversy with her art among conservative Christians. In 2012, she recreated Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper but with a trans Jesus. When the piece was shown in Serbia, it had to be watched 24/7 by armed guards.

The Church of Sweden is known for being progressive when it comes to LGBT+ rights. The church began allowing same-sex couples to  receive religious blessings in churches in 2007, and has allowed same-sex marriages since 2009. 

In 2017, the Church of Sweden advised clergy to stop referring to God using male pronouns in favour of more inclusive language.

 

More: altarpiece, Christian, Church of Sweden, Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, garden of eden, homophobes, Malmö, St Paul's church

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