Swedish transport officials have blocked a Christian man’s request for a number plate paying homage to his religious beliefs on the grounds that it could offend others.
The Swedish Transport Agency rejected Cesar Kisangani Makombe’s application to add the word Christ – Kristus in Swedish – on his car registration plate.
“We deny any words that we believe can cause offense. Among other things we say no to everything that has any religious connotations no matter which connotations,” Mikael Andersson, press officer for the Transport Agency, told Swedish newswire TT, according to The Local.
The man also tried the word Jesus for his car plates, but that option was already blocked. There’s no way for people to appeal the decisions made by the agency officials, who reportedly so far rejected 94 license plates.
The man said he’s dropping his efforts to change his number plate, though he objects to the agency’s verdict.
He pointed out to regional newspaper Göteborg Direkt that Sweden is a Christian country that has Churches and even a cross on its flag, yet claims displays of religiosity are offensive.
“As a Christian you should not make war on those who make decisions in this country, instead we must pray for them,” he told the newspaper.
Swedish numbers normally have three letters and three numbers, but an option is available to people to ask for a personalized plate, according to The Local.
This month, however, new cars in Sweden will use a different pattern – three letters, two numbers and another letter – as the available non-personalized combinations are running out.
The majority of Swedes consider themselves as Christian, but the country’s young adults are increasingly among the most irreligious in Europe, with about 75 percent of them claiming they have no religion, according to a study by St Mary’s University in London.
Older population still define themselves as Christian, but few people actually belong to a congregation and are regular churchgoers.