WARNING! Rant follows!
Did you know I'm a member of the Church of Norway?
Neither did I. Nor dd my mother or my father, who are both non-members, my father being non-baptised, just like me, and my mother having withdrawn her membership decades ago, long before I was born. So why am I a member of the Church of Norway? I have my suspicions:
The Church of Norway has a habit of claiming more members than can be proven, because the Norwegian government gives out currency for every member of the Church of Norway. Apparently, His Chosen Spokespeople on Earth consider the Ten Commandments, specifically the one that goes "Thou Shalt Not Lie", to be secondary to the holy and righteous goal of earning some quick bucks. People like that make me sick. And the fact that I have tributed to their coffers, potentially for over two decades, makes me angry. This is theft of government money - or, more accuately, fraud. They lie, cheat and steal, and they've used me to do so.
A message to the Church of Norway: I'm not your member. I've never been your member. I never will be your member. So give that money back to the government, dammit! Or, even better, donate it to Habitat for Humanity, where it'll actually do some tangible good.
I have discovered the reason why I, and several other non-Christians, have been unpleasantly surprised in this manner - upon the establishment of a membership registry for the Church of Norway, as a "cost-cutting measure" - which I suspect was, at least in part, informed by the fact that they would then receive subsidy from the state - they didn't bother going to the church-books for their lists of parishioners, but instead quite simply used the Norwegian census. This means that, as of 1998, every single Norwegian citizen was officially a member of the Church of Norway unless they specifically withdrew their membership after this date. This includes people, like my mother, who had quite specifically withdrawn their memberships before this point in time. This is dishonest business practices at best, methinks. Do I smell a scandal in the making?