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World News

Danish pastor who proclaimed there is no god dies aged 72

by Press Association

A Danish Lutheran minister who attracted international attention by proclaiming that there is no God or afterlife, but retracted his comments after being suspended, has died aged 72.

The Rev Thorkild Grosboell had been suffering from cancer, his daughter Mette Kathrine Grosboell said.

"He was a great man. He should be remembered for that," she said.

Mr Grosboell was suspended by his bishop after a May 2003 newspaper interview in which he said: "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection."

Helsingoer bishop Lise-Lotte Rebel, whose diocese included Taarbaek, a small town north of Copenhagen where Mr Grosboell was the pastor, handed his case to the government requesting that it take the necessary steps to dismiss him.

In Denmark, Lutheran ministers are employed by the state and only the government can fire them after a recommendation from their supervising bishop.

Mr Grosboell eventually retracted his statement, apologised and his suspension was lifted.

More than 80 per cent of Denmark's population belongs to the State Evangelical Lutheran Church, though only about 5 per cent attend church services regularly.

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