Missionary Church of Kopimism
"Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing.
All around the world file-sharers are being chased by anti-piracy outfits and the authorities, and the situation in Sweden is no different. While copyright holders are often quick to label file-sharers as pirates, there is a large group of people who actually consider copying to be a sacred act.
Philosophy student Isak Gerson is such a religious file-sharer, and in an attempt to protect his unique belief system he founded The Missionary Church of Kopimism in 2010. In the hope that they could help prevent persecution for their beliefs, the Church then filed a request to be officially accepted by the authorities.
After two failed attempts, where the Church was asked to formalize its way of praying or meditation, the authorities finally recognized the organization as an official religion. The Church’s founder is ecstatic about this news, and hopes that it will motivate more people to come forward as ‘Kopimists’.
“I think that more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones,” Isak tells TorrentFreak. “There’s still a legal stigma around copying for many. A lot of people still worry about going to jail when copying and remixing. I hope in the name of Kopimi that this will change.” (http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-recognized-as-official-religion-in-sweden-120104/)
"“For me it is a kind of believing in deeper values than worldly values,” said Isak Gerson, a philosophy student at Uppsala University who helped found the church in 2010 and bears the title chief missionary. “You have it in your backbone.”
Kopimism — the name comes from a Swedish spelling of the words “copy me” — claims more than 8,000 faithful who have signed up on the church’s Web site. It has applied for the right to perform marriages and to receive subsidies awarded to religious organizations by the state, and it has bid, thus far unsuccessfully, to buy a church building, even though most church activities are conducted online.
As regular church attendance drops among the 9.4 million Swedes, the Church of Sweden has been selling off disused churches, but it has not yet responded to the Kopimist bid.
“We have something similar to regular priests,” said Mr. Gerson, 20, who claims a permanent link to the divine through a Nokia smartphone. “We call them ops, or operators, and their task is to help people with things like meetings. There are not that many rituals. We are a tolerant community.”
Asked whether he believed in God, Mr. Gerson replied: “No, I just believe in our values. It’s just a belief in holy values.”
The Kopimists rose out of Europe’s growing piracy movement, which was born in Sweden about a decade ago. In elections to the European Parliament in 2009, the country’s Pirate Party got 7.1 percent of the vote, though in national elections the next year its share plummeted to less than 1 percent." (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/world/europe/in-sweden-taking-file-sharing-to-heart-and-to-church.html)