Norwegian Humanist Association

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Norwegian Humanist Association
HEF logo.png
Abbreviation HEF(Human-Etisk Forbund)
Formation April 9, 1956; 61 years ago (1956-04-09)
84,300 (2013)[1]

The Norwegian Humanist Association (Norwegian: Human-Etisk Forbund, HEF) is one of the largest secular humanist associations in the world, with 84,300 members.[1] Those members constitute 1.7% of the national population of 5,038,100,[2] making the HEF by far the largest such association in the world in proportion to population.

Founded in 1956, the HEF is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). The Norwegian Humanist Association is an organization for people who base their ethics on human, not religious values. Most members are agnostics or atheists. HEF supports the following statement of the IHEU:

Humanism is a democratic, non-theistic and ethical life stance which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their lives and therefore reject supernatural views of reality.

Former HEF secretary general, Levi Fragell, was president of the IHEU (1988–2003) and is Chair of IHEU’s Committee for Growth and Development.[3] In June, 2007 Åse Kleveland became chairman of the Board of the organization.

According to its bylaws, the organization works to ensure access to humanist ceremonies and spreading knowledge of humanism. The organization previously also worked for a separation of church and state (the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway was the state church of Norway until 2012).[4] A civil confirmation organized by HEF has gained popularity among the Norwegian young during recent years. About 17 percent of Norwegian 15-year-olds are now taking part in HEF's civil confirmation.

On July 9, 2006 a prominent member of the Norwegian Humanist Association, Mr. Jens Brun-Pedersen, called for prime minister Jens Stoltenberg to advocate the separation of church and state. He argued that the second article of the constitution of Norway which defines the "Evangelical-Lutheran Religion" as "the official religion of the State" and the 12th article of the constitution which requires half of the ministers of the cabinet to be members of the state church is discriminatory, and that Norway can't criticise countries advocating sharia law when the constitution favours Lutheran members of society.[5]

The Norwegian Humanist Association hosted the 18th World Humanist Congress of the IHEU. The Congress was held at the Oslo Congress Center in Oslo, Norway, on the 12–14 August 2011. The theme was Humanism and Peace. HEF also hosted the 3rd in 1962 and the 9th in 1986.

A youth wing of the HEF, Norwegian Humanist Youth (Humanistisk Ungdom), was founded in August 2007. The current President of the Board is Anders Garbom Backe (for the period 2013-2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Trus- og livssynssamfunn utanfor Den norske kyrkja, 1. januar 2013". Statistics Norway (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  2. ^ "Population". Statistics Norway. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  3. ^ Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved December 27, 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Finngeir Hiorth (1997): Church and State in Norway
  5. ^ Visionary or missionary? - Jens Brun-Pedersen, Dagbladet July 9, 2006

External links[edit]