> Exodus From Finnish Church Over Anti-Gay Crusade
> April 2, 2011 By Sheri Lawson 1 Comment
> About 3000 people have reportedly left a Finnish Lutheran church
> over an anti-gay campaign which was launched to convince homosexuals
> they could be cured, as reported by Pink News on March 28. One woman
> named Anni claimed to have been cured of bi-sexuality and likened
> the transformation to being a reformed murderer.
> In Finland, being a homosexual was illegal before 1971 and
> discrimination based on sexual orientation was legal until 1995.
> But in a 2010 poll 54% of respondents support same-sex marriage,
> while 35% oppose it. It’s widely believed that after the 2011
> parliamentary elections gay marriage in Finland could be legalized.
> The mainstream medical association claims that homosexuality is not
> something that can be changed, and trying to do so may cause serious
> mental harm. Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of the Finnish Evangelical Lut
> heran Church, criticized the campaign to convince homosexuals they c
> ould be cured, and said it should be stopped admitting that gay peop
> le were not sick and had been created by God the way they were.
> The Lutheran Evangelical Association, which is Finland’s national ch
> urch, did not lead the campaign but they do subsidize the organizati
> on that did. Members pay money to support the church and thereby tho
> se it subsidizes. It may have been this that sparked the exit by so
> many from the church upon learning where some of their donations wer
> e going.
> The idea of gay rights has been a hot button topic for over a decade
> now as gay couples fight for their right to legally marry, and it
> doesn’t appear that advocates on either side of the divide are ready
> to give in any time soon.
> Only a handful of states in the United States have legalized gay
> marriage, far behind many other countries. The debate on whether or
> not legalizing gay marriage will harm society has resulted in tens
> of millions of dollars on both sides of the divide being spent to
> create (or fight) legislation denying gays equality.
> Long held beliefs that homosexuality is a sin against God has
> resulted in many within religious communities using their
> collective power to fight the ever-growing trend to accept the gay
> community as equal in every way under the law. And on the other
> side of the divide the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and
> transgendered) individuals and their allies, consider religious
> beliefs as having no place in civil law and they base that belief on
> the idea that church and state should remain separate entities.
> Only time will tell if that trend results in the GLTB community
> achieving full equality in Finland, the United States or across the