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The northern European Scandinavian country of Sweden has gone through a transformation from a poor agricultural society to an advanced industrial society in the latter part of the 20th century. Although the majority of Swedes belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden, profound changes have taken place in church-state relations, and traditional Christian beliefs are declining in an increasingly religiously diverse society.

In 2000, a law introduced in Riksdagen (Parliament) defined the Church of Sweden as an open, democratic Lutheran Evangelical church, free from the state. Although membership has declined from 95% of the population in 1973 to 80% in 2003, the Church of Sweden is the country's largest organization, with 7.2 million members in 2002. A large majority participates in rites of passage ...

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