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Thousands Of Finnish People Leave State Church After Anti-Gay Comments Made During Televised Debate!

| Filed under: PolitikInspiration

After a televised debate, during which Finland's Christian Democrats leader Päivi Räsänen made horrific anti-gay comments, a reported thousands of people have left the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church, including 5,000 on Monday alone!

According to the Helsinki Times:

“The number leaving increased sharply on 12 October following the broadcast of a debate programme focused on gay rights on Network 2 of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). By Monday 18 October, more than 24,000 people had left Finland’s Evangelical-Lutheran and Orthodox Churches.”


We are so impressed with so many people taking a stand for what's right!

Hopefully someday the USA can show that kind of commitment to equal rights!


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69 comments to “Thousands Of Finnish People Leave State Church After Anti-Gay Comments Made During Televised Debate!”

  1. 1

    YEAH WE DID! Räsänen has had many threatening calls and letter which is not OKAY, eventhough her comments were what they were… People have even threatened her family and kids! Violence is not an answer!

  2. 2

    Move to Finland douchebag.

  3. 3

    Good for them. Nice to hear.

  4. BCip7 says – reply to this


    Wow Finland is AWESOME! Those people who left that church are amazing!

  5. 5

    Wow…Finland still has Christians?

  6. 6


  7. Waboo says – reply to this


    In western Europe when crazy religious people spew hate, people leave the church. In the United States when crazy religious people spew hate, bigots donate more money en masse to build more churches. Ironic.

  8. 8

    yeah, we have been talking that all week (i live in finland).. One of my friend is gay and he was kind of upset that Päivi went to say something like that. But musy say that people here in finland is suprised that so many people have left the curch. But that's right thing to do!

  9. 9

    Good for Finland :) If only people here would start taking more action.

  10. 10

    Rasanen's comment are NOT the official stand of the state church. I am a Christian and belong to the church, and I am appalled. But leaving the church is not the answer!

  11. 11

    Those people are so brave. Thats how you move forward in a peaceful way.

  12. 12

    Re: Bambinog – When people spread hate the best thing to do is walk away. If i was sitting in church and someone said anything antigay: i would quietly walk out, stop donating money to them, and find a more loving/accepting place to go.

  13. 13

    I call bullshit.

    How do you leave a church? You stop going. There's no forms or paperwork to fill out. You just stop going. Yet somehow they're not only able to determine how many people stopped going to church but they were also able to determine why? Was there a survey or something not referenced in the article?

    Again, bullshit.

  14. Elina says – reply to this


    Re: Scatter – There certainly IS paperwork to be filled in Finland.

  15. 15

    Celebrity News? No, just more of your homo bullshit.

  16. 16

    Re: Scatter – Yeah, there definitely is paperwork. In Finland you also have to pay taxes for church etc.. It's not like you just stop going. They do have actual records of people belonging to church.

  17. 17

    Re: Scatter – In many European countries, many are legally registered with their country's national church(s). Usually when they are born, by their parents. It's a throwback to earlier days when one's religious orientation was something that was deemed to be of public importance. It's not unlike being a card carrying member of the GOP or Democratic Party. To no longer be associated with the state recognized church, one does have to fill out paperwork to no longer be a member of it.

  18. 18

    I am so proud to say I am one of those people who left the church after the whole discussion between Päivi Räsänen and others. The whole issue has just got out of hands.
    I have nothing against religion but people need to understand that you cannot completely live by the rules of over 2000 year old book.
    And since we all should be equal "in the eyes of God", this whole situation just seems idiotic.

  19. 19

    The number is now well over 30,000. it may not seem as a very large number to the americans but remember that there are only 5 million people in finland! and personally, i'm proud to be in that 30 000 :)

  20. 20

    Iam from Finland and this event really shaked Finland around.
    The point of view Räsänen makes is really from the dark ages, and she picks the parts from bible she wants to follow. In Finland you do have to fill out a form to leave the church because we pay a ridiculous church tax just to be a part of the church. Räsänen keeps saying that being a gay is a birth defect and its a horrible thing to say.


  21. 21

    The Lutheran church is the official religion of Finland….people who are Finnish pay taxes to the church each year, in a small amount…its like 5 euros a year, or something really nominal like that. Most younger Finns do not believe in God or religion really, yet they still belong to the church, as they like to marry in the church and you have to belong and pay your fees to do that. Some dissociate from the church because they resent paying fees (which i find silly since they are so minimal….and the churches are nice older buildings and heritage sites which it costs to maintain)…

    The people who 'left' the church over the gay comments were most likely people who didnt care very much about church, didnt go to services, and don't believe in God anyhow. They are not people who really 'gave up their religion' due to anti-gay comments…so i wouldn't get too excited and proud about that. It really is not such a big statement, it just means that a bunch of people who were too lazy to dissociate previously, all thought it would be 'cool' and 'trendy' to do it all at once.

  22. 22

    Nice to see progressives in the church takes action and tell the leaders enough is enough.

  23. 23

    For the most part Finns are really inactive when it comes to standing up for rights of their citizens, otherwise there would be better laws to protect women - half the friggen population- from rape and violence, and children from child molesters.

    Finland is full of alcoholic heavy metal listening people, who generally hate foreigners and refuse to accept any change in their way of life.
    The people are basically sheep, they do as they are told, NEVER JAYWALK - that means even in the coldest weather if there is no traffic they still stand there and wait to cross the street on a walk signal!- they do as they are told and stay in their place. They just love an opportunity to be recognized by the rest of the world, and I guess these people coming on here think they are pretty special and popular for leaving the church over this whole gay thing. Look at how pathetically eager they are to come on here and brag about leaving the church. so sad!!!

    it's not a big deal for you to leave the church clearly, as you did it so easily and happily…some sacrifice to leave something you could give two shits about in the first place! lol
    and then brag about it for self satisfaction and popularity with perez hilton. FAIL!!!!!!

  24. 24

    Well, as a typical American, I can't leave any church, because I'm not a member of any church. I actually was 20 years ago, but I have a feeling that leaving the Unitarian church in response to a statement by a major Lutheran church official wouldn't be widely recognized as any sort of protest statement.

  25. 25

    Re: samdavid

    Get your facts right. The tax amounth is one percent of your incomes not only 5 euros. So for most people it´s at least 200-300 euros a year.

  26. 26

    What is this story doing on a celebrity gossip website? You've really lost your focus, Mario - and your edge. This site used to be great, but now it sucks.

  27. 27

    Who gives a shit that these people walked out. There are worse and more important things out there than yet again some asshole making anti-gay comments. From just these past couple of weeks, with everyone making these videos, you'd think that gay people are the only ones being bullied and facing problems.

  28. @v@ says – reply to this


    Most of the people of the world want peace and balance. Greedy power mongers are the ones stirring things up.

  29. 29

    Re: Min1234

    okay so 200 euros a year…that's like 16 euros a month…really making you broke each month lol
    in north america when people go to church they usually give weekly donations to their church, and pay more yearly than that…plus in the states they pay for healthcare, and in north america they pay for university/education

    so, 200 euros a year for your church, cry me a river! lol

    and whatever…go brag some more about your huge sacrifice, when clearly you find the financial gain a big deal…was hardly an un-selfish act of solidarity with gays in finland….


  30. 30

    Finland is one of the most highly ranked countries, along with Sweden and Norway, in terms of gender equality, so such a vehement reaction is not surprising. Finland is also the only European country whose language does not employ gender-based pronouns. (it employs gender-neutral pronouns) I always wonder if there is correlation

  31. 31

    Re: Suzannie

    rankings mean nothing, look at the laws. there is no law for equal pay for women in finland, and there is a lack of protection for rape victims.
    who gives a crap about gender neutrality in the language? that has nothing to do with equality in day to day life. Sure women work hard in finland, they are more educated and work more than men do…however, if a man of equal education works the same position as a woman, he still makes more money.

    foreigners can come to Finland and gang rape women and merely pay a fine and walk away unpunished for their acts of sexual violence. Police can abuse their power, drug and rape a teenager, and photograph them, and they aren't fired off the police force!!

    sure, FInland is the #1 place to live in the world lol
    full of alcoholics pissing on the streets in broad daylight, drunks swearing and shouting racist comments on the trams and metro, people avoiding conversation and any eye contact with others, no laughing or smiling allowed
    …it's the happiest place on earth!!

  32. 32

    Bravo & Congrats to the Finnish people!
    I wish us North Americans were as enlightened - but - we are NOT!!

  33. 33

    Re: Scatter
    Even here in the USA there are records of people leaving church…I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. We voted that ELCA churches had the right to have a gay pastor. Many people were against that (not me–I thought it was great!) and left, writing letters that they were leaving the church over that matter and filling out forms. Yes, some people do just stop going, but most regular members who leave over a priciple will do so officially.

  34. 34

    how weird that you don't have a church tax in America, since you are such a "believer"-country.

    I think most of the young people (in Germany) don't leave church, because you cannot get married in a church then or if you die, you don't get any blessings. There is just a so called "Trauerfeier" where people grieve, but not a real burrying with a pastor…

  35. 35

    @samdavid, I think you are confusing our country with another one ;) Maybe something starting with a U, ending with an A.. Perhaps an S in the middle. Just a thought. And I'd like to see where you got your information, it is highly entertaining and just makes me giggle inside. We all need a bit of humour in our days :) Right? Well, as a Finnish woman, I will now proceed to walk to my underpaid job lead by men, get raped by numerous foreigners and policemen and I shall NEVER jaywalk (because that's obviously a bad thing). Get your facts straight.

  36. @v@ says – reply to this


    Re: rubidubidoux – Hi! What are the laws in Finland regarding carrying handguns, or say, something like pepper spray if you're a woman who works at night and would just as soon fend off a rapist on your own?

  37. 37

    I liked gay people better when they blended in with society and didn't flaunt their obnoxious flamboyant life style. Ya'll don't want to be equal, you want special treatment you fucking fudge packing divas.

  38. 38

    Re: @v@ – handguns and pepper spray are illegal in finland.
    and btw, samdavid, i think you're going a little offtopic, this whole article is about people leaving the church because of anti-gay comments, so alcoholics and rapers are a bit outside the topic, aren't they?
    go find yourself some other country to dis.

  39. 39

    At first I wanna say that I'm all for Gay-rights and all that but I also think that leaving the church just cause of something that a narrow minded person has said is not the right thing to do! In times like these we who are all for gays should stay in the church and prove them wrong! I don't believe that God would whant his children to go away from the church just because everybody doesn't see the things the right way! How can we ever think that the church will change it's mind about the gays if there's no one to take their side inside the church??!!

  40. Logan says – reply to this


    To any person who decided to talk shit about the "gay agenda," suck a fat one! Also…. who is the problem??? the Evangelical church? They're a problem everywhere!!! I should know, my sister was overtaken by them about 2 years ago. It's pretty sad to see what happens. Trust me.

  41. 41

    Re: Scatter – No, of course there is paper work when you leave the church! When you officially leave church, you dont pay church taxes anymore! They know exactly how many people have left. At least, here in europe its like that and in america probably too, you just dont hava a clue

  42. 42

    Re: Scatter – we have to officially leave the church. We pay taxes to the church and we belong to the church, BUT we dont actually GO to the church. I've been in church like 10 times in 18 years. Finns go to church rarely if never.

  43. 43

    that really gives me hope, fingers crossed we can all make a stand in the name of equality.

  44. 44

    Re: lizzyca – people won't stop going to church, just try find another one which is more accepting. or at least i suspect that is what they're thinking. i believe this was the best way to make a statement. silence is sometimes louder than words. people should not sit ideally by and listen to people spew hate

  45. 45

    i am soooo proud to be one of those people who left the church. some priests of the lutheran church have even left. i did not leave the church just to follow a mass movement. i left because these are the things i believe in and to me, it is disgusting, how in such an equal country as finland, the representatives of a christian party still speak such rude and discriminating words. as a finnish resident im not saying that finland is perfect in any means. there are still issues of racism and discrimination based on sexual orientation, but this shows that finland is on it's way to be a country of equality and freedom of act and personal thought. i am proud for this act of protest against these crude comments and i will stay behind these opinions. this coming from a mere teenager.

  46. 46

    Re: Scatter – umm im from finland and yes you have to sign something to leave the church..you dont just stop going

  47. 47

    this is fantastic
    usa is not normal in their attitude to gay people other countries are shocked at how effed up the attitudes to gays marrying is in the usa why can they not marry in every state do they not pay taxes

    im not gay but i feel gay people shouldnt be treated as second class citizens in their own country!!!!!

  48. 48

    Re: Scatter – Well actually what you said is bull shit! In Finland people are members of the church and unless YOU FILL an application, you will continue to be one whether you go to church or not!!

  49. 49

    Are there Unitarian Universalist churches if Finland? If so, they are very accepting of the LGBT community and people could check that out. Threatening people is just wrong. Two wrongs never make a right!

  50. 50

    What is right??? For who, you Perez? That doesn't make it right because YOU want it to be. You need to wake up and realize it. Stop promoting your own agenda.

  51. 51

    Seriously I think this is just wrong.. There's a lot of people in the Finnish state church standing up for gay-people! (Including myself) I think it's ridiculous to leave the church, because ONE person has a different view, even though the view might be as extreme as Räsänen's. I think leaving a "shinking ship" now results in our state church going down to the middle ages. That's not how it should be.
    The truth is that people in Finland and Yle who broadcasted the program knew what Räsänen's view was before this program. She was asked to attend, she did, told the same views she has had always. Then people leave just for this? It's not her fault she was asked to attend and to tell her views. I blame Yle for this..
    But seriously, some real believing Christians left our church for one people's view, I think that's wrong. I'm gonna stay in the church and make a change rather than leaving.

  52. 52

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is more progressive, I guess. They ordain men and women, straight and gay.

  53. ElliV says – reply to this


    My opinion was that leaving the church isn't the right thing to do – it would only leave the church filled with the most conservative christians. The notorious Päivi Räsänen isn't an official representative of the church.
    However, now after 30 000 people have left the church it seems to be willing to take some serious action in order to guarantee equal rights for its gay members. Most of the bishops have expressed their wish to lead the Finnish state church into a more gay friendly direction.

  54. 54

    yaay go us!

  55. 55

    Hey but you gotta remember, that people have left the state church as a protest to "gay positiveness" too, not only as protest to the anti-gay comments. Sure, it really is positive that people are fighting for what they think is right and what should be done. I'm really looking forward to see the outcome of this. Might take years though…

  56. Eepo says – reply to this


    I think the size of the protest suprised all, especially the Lutheran church. Some 35,000 have left the church (you can do it online) in 12 days. Thats a lot in a small country. The church can only blame itself, its very divided and unable to to speak in one voice. The local Lutheran 'talibans' have used this and been very noisy. Now it's clear people dont tolerate these extreme opinions, it seems generally Finns are more liberal what their church has expected. Even the chairperson of the Conservative Party in Finland said he thinks the gender-neutral marriage is the way we should go, same rights for all.

    Some background:
    You can say Finland is a secular society, the churches are pretty empty on Sundays. But still almost 80% of Finns belong to the Lutheran church, its a strong institution and the Lutheran traditions are important for many. All members pay state-collected church tax, around 1% of all your incomes. So its a question of money also and that worries the church. The protest means they will loose millions of Euros.

  57. 57

    Re: wiseguy

    as I said, her comments are not the official stance of the church, so leaving the church is not the solution to this problem.

  58. 58

    Re: samdavid – It's is pretty nominal, but not 5 euros a year. It's a certain percentage of your yearly income, depending on the congregation one is registered to and e.g. I pay (well, paid) 350 euros a year.

  59. 59

    Re: samdavid – I never was too attached to church, it was more of a habit to be a member. And I've never been too active towards the church. I do admit that. This debate however got me thinking more about my values and views of the world and life. And I realised that I personally can't be a member of an organisation that is still, in 2010, debating on whether or not everyone should have equal rights or not. It doesn't matter to me how much progress they've made over the years and how willing they are to discuss this matter over. For me it's too late, this should have been made ages ago. I do appreciate people who are patient enough to still do the talking and who are trying to make a difference inside the church. I personally vote with my feet.

  60. 60

    "How do you leave a church? You stop going. There's no forms or paperwork to fill out. You just stop going."

    Not true at least in Finland´s Evangelical-Lutheran church. If you are a member, you pay taxes to the church (quite small amoutnt in year) and can vote in the church elections. You also can arrange churc marriage and I think that the graveyard place come also cheaper. For the last part I´m not sure.
    If your parents have babtiset you to the church, you have to leave the church and do some paperwork and send it to the church.

  61. 61

    samdavid, what do u think u know about finland? first of all, instead of 5 euros we pay 200euros taxes per year(average, depends on how much u get paid) and
    its not a big money but for me i can use it for an alcohol instead lol jk, but i dont believe in god, i dont go to church i dont pray i dont do any of that shit, and finns aren't really religious either so no wonder in next 10 years under 10% of the ppl will belong to the church.

    ”Finland is full of alcoholic heavy metal listening people, who generally hate foreigners and refuse to accept any change in their way of life. ”

    alcoholics, yes. but all that other crap is untrue, maybe some ppl are like that but mostly not and u can find that kinda ppl from everywhere not just in finland.
    you have kinda harsh toughs of our country, remember you can also find sun from the brunches

    and i dont like finland/finns a lot but i think our education,health care,politics, laws etc, are kinda great and basically better than in any other country and we are also free people no matter are you gay, single mother, fat or whatever but no one is going to judge you like they do in US for example.

  62. 62

    Re: samdavid – Have you got your ass kicked in Finland or something. Little Biggot.

  63. 63

    Seppo Autti:
    I didnt leave the church because of that Mad Women on tv. They asked me to pay them the same money than all others pay, but I dont get the same services. And not to talk about the attitudes. Kind of strange club I think. And I believe God heras me with out the middle man.

    There's no paper work if you want to leave the Lutheran church, you can do it online in 20 seconds. Just go to Eroakirkosta.fi.

  64. 64

    actually, it's NOT the church who doesn't like gays but only some conservatives like räsänen!! so that's not a good reason to leave the church!

  65. 65

    the finnish church is less conservative than most other religions, and mos tof the church members and priests doesnt hate gays

  66. 66

    Re: samdavid – "okay so 200 euros a year…that's like 16 euros a month…really making you broke each month lol" - when I dropped to pension (due to inabilty to work and huge medical bills) - the first thing was to leave church - for financial reasons…. nothing to 'lol' about

  67. 67

    Re: samdavid – "okay so 200 euros a year…that's like 16 euros a month…really making you broke each month lol" - when I dropped to pension (due to inabilty to work and huge medical bills) - the first thing was to leave church - for financial reasons…. nothing to 'lol' about. Now I regret I can't do anything for this cause ! I can't leave the church a second time… Otherwise I always speak for gays and against any kind of racism.

  68. 68

    Re: samdavid – full of alcoholics pissing on the streets in broad daylight, drunks swearing and shouting racist comments on the trams and metro, people avoiding conversation and any eye contact with others, no laughing or smiling allowed
    …it's the happiest place on earth!!

    I only shout racist comments because those pesky foreigners keep stealing my booze while I'm relieving myself on the street. And smiling while they do it.

  69. 69

    Good! Glad a lot of people left that church. The bigoted nuts can go SHOVE their ill-informed ideas on orientation. This Päivi Räsänen gal sounds like a bigoted dizzy lady… >=[

    Re: theoceanlounge – Yikes