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Kopimism, the Pirate Party, and separation between church and state


14. August 2013 15:03

(This is a continuation of the Kopimist Creation Myth. This sermon has previously been published in Swedish.)

The Pirate Party is a religiously unattached political party that wants to see a secular state where the state and religion are separated.

Freedom of religion, i.e.: everybody’s right to believe in what he or she wants (or nothing at all) is a fundamental human right (Article 9 in the ECHR), and quite rightly so. Everybody shall have the right to practice and live by their own religion, as long as it does not infringe other people’s human rights.

The state should not be a part of the church, and the church should not be a part of the state.

Kopimism is a politically unattached young religion that has official status as a religion in Sweden, after a decision by Kammarkollegiet — blessed be its name! The Missionary Church of Kopimism is a church that is also politically unattached, and wants to see the Kopimist ideas spread over the world by copying.

So far, there are no problems, of course. But to complicate things, there appears to be a quite obvious overlap between people who are active in the Pirate movement and Kopimism, respectively. Many have pointed this out, and nobody has denied it.

The Missionary Church of Kopimism was started by Isak Gerson and Gustav Nipe, both active Pirates. Nipe’s daytime job is to be the chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party’s youth organization Young Pirate. That is admittedly a link.

Me, I am a member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party. I mostly blog about pirate politics, but I have also written a number of blog posts on Kopimism, and intend to continue doing so. Both the Swedish Pirate Party’s founder Rick Falkvinge and our current party leader Anna Troberg have been blogging about Kopimism, Swedish Wikipedia notes.

So it would be slightly silly to try to deny that there appears to be quite a strong personal union between the two movements.

I see no conflict between being politically active in the Pirate Party for a secular society, and being a Kopimist. On the contrary, I see it as to parts that fit perfectly together. If I want the right get to heaven my own way and to believe in what I want (like Kopimism), then it is natural that I defend that right for everybody. ”First they came for the Jews, but I wasn’t a Jew…” etc.

If you are a follower of a religion (in particular a small unpopular religion) the smartest thing to do is to be in favor of the secular state, for purely egoistic reasons if nothing else. If you let the religion that happens to be the strongest at a particular time get control of legislation and police force, you never know where things will end up. Or more accurately: You know precisely, because that has already happened far too many times in history, and is still going on today.

”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s,” Jesus said in his days. If he meant that state and church should be separate, I agree with him. That is how it should be.

  • The Pirate Party does not think that file sharing should be legalized because Kopimism sees free copying as something holy. We think that file sharing should be legalized becuse it’s a good idea from a democratic, economic, and cultural perspective, on purely political and humanistic grounds.
  • Kopimism is not trying to get some sort of religious exception for Kopimists only, that would give us a special license to share files without risking punishment. This is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Kopimist church has been founded by people who are politically active in the Pirate Party, and are already working to legalize file sharing for everybody.

The Pirate Party and Kopimism are two different movements, a political and a religious one, that have different goals and work in different areas. But that doesn’t prevent any individual from being active in both, if he or she feels like it.

And remember, it’s only religion we’re talking about. Religion is never more serious that you choose to see it. What is one person’s most sacred belief, may be just a more or less silly joke to another. This is how it’s always been for all religions, and Kopimism is no exception.

To all who see Kopimism as a joke, I hope that you at least think it’s reasonably funny. If not, all you have to do is to surf on to something else.

As long as we all remember to treat each other in a nice and respectful manner, even if we happen to have different opinions on religion or anything else, it’s not a problem that we are all different. This is an asset, and just how it should be.

Copy and Share!


Read the entire Kopimist Creation Myth.

CC-BY-NC Christian Engström

Illustration by Idee, CC0


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