(4 June 2013) Per Eckerdal, the Church of Sweden's bishop in Gothenburg, marched Sunday in the annual "Rainbow Parade" organized by homosexual activists. It was the first time a Swedish bishop has participated in such an event.
Eckerdal is shown holding one end of a large gay rights banner in the parade in an article in the Church of Sweden's online newsletter at this link: http://www.kyrkanstidning.se/inrikes/ goteborgsbiskop-i-regnbagsparad
Asked what sort of signal his participation sends from the Church of Sweden, the bishop replied, "I think it has some sort of symbolic function for those who feel anxious and questioning…. I do not have the reputation of being a publicity seeker who jumps on every new thing. If I walk in the parade, it's because I've thought it through and mean something by it."
"It is important for me to show solidarity, that the church is present in this connection. I gladly participate and manifest joy in that so many people who have previously lived a hidden life may arrive. It is a healthy sign for our society."
"All people have the right to feel happy and proud, regardless of sexual orientation. Nobody should have to hide what he is," Eckerdal said to the local paper.
Tord Nordblom, chairman for Frimodiga Kyrka (Bold Church, a conservative nominating group in CoS) in Gothenburg diocese, sharply criticized Eckerdal, "… we have a different view of marriage… the Swedish Church has been a bridge church in ecumenical contexts, but with this changed view of marriage, several of the world's churches have reacted strongly and some have even broken relations" with CoS.
"The bishop should be the one who stands up for the teachings and life of the Church and ensures unity in the diocese," Nordblom added, "now instead division is intensified."