A Swedish church's tweet naming teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg as the "successor" to Jesus Christ has again received backlash after it was unearthed following the U.N.'s Climate Change Summit.
“Announcement! Jesus of Nazareth has now appointed one of his successors, Greta Thunberg,” the Church of Limhamn wrote on Twitter on Dec. 1, 2018. Limhamn is a municipality in southern Sweden.
This announcement, which was both lauded and criticized on Twitter, was unearthed following Thunberg's speech at the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit in New York City on Sept. 23.
The church's support for climate activism was shared in nearby Malmö, where the Church of Sweden said it would be ringing its church bells in solidarity with the global climate strike that was held Sept. 20-27.
“In conjunction with the Global Climate Strike, church bells ring and we gather for prayer for the future of the earth,” the church announced.
“We pray that we believe that man is responsible for nurturing and managing Creation so that children are given the opportunity for a future. We pray that we know that climate change affects the most vulnerable — poor, children and women. We pray that we believe in man’s ability to change and change.”
The Limhamn church retweeted Twitter users who supported what they described as a "humorous" post about the teenage activist being a successor to Christ, insisting that their use of the word was legitimate.
“Here you can read more about the word ‘success’ and its different meanings /nuances,” the church added in a post on Twitter on Dec. 3, 2018.
Following a backlash on Twitter, however, the account was abandoned days later on Dec. 6, 2018, with a message saying: "Dear twitter, If we have hurt someone we apologize, it has never been our opinion. Our sense has been to talk about Jesus Christ in our own way. Now we leave the arena. Thank you for your commitment, joy and debate. God bless you! Jonas Persson, ward pastor."
"The tweets have not been deleted, but the account was true to its word and has remained inactive since Dec. 6," the Washington Examiner noted Monday.
The national church of Sweden is evangelical Lutheran but is no longer the Nordic nation's official religion.
The 16-year-old Thunberg has over 2.7 million followers on Twitter.
Thunberg's international activism has been both applauded and criticized in recent months. Environmental advocates and their supporters consider her words a powerful contribution to the fight against climate change. Critics say she is being used in an inappropriate manner by adults with an agenda of their own.
“People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg asserted at the U.N. last week. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.”