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Anti-Gay Campaign Causes Church Resignations

A Christian campaign against homosexuality has caused a rise in the number of resignations from the Lutheran Church. Some 500 people resigned on Tuesday, compared to the usual average of 50 for this time of year, according to the online church-resignation service Eroakirkosta.fi.

Nuori nainen katsoo sillalta jäätä
Kristillisten järjestöjen kampanjavideossa 20-vuotias "Anni" kertoo, kuinka hän luopui uskon avulla biseksuaalisuudestaan. Image: nuotta.com

The number of resignations rose on Monday evening, and on Tuesday the number increased substantially. After six o’clock on Tuesday evening the number of resignations hit one every minute.

The reason for the rise is clear, according to the Eroakirkosta.fi press officer Johanna Sauna-aho.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback, which gives the reason for people’s resignation as this campaign," said Sauna-aho.

Christian organisations publicised the Älä alistu ('don't submit') campaign, which warns young people against homosexuality. The campaign included 'Anni's story', a video detailing one young women's story of how her faith helped her to stop being bisexual. In one video she compares her situation to that of a reformed murderer.

The campaign was not organised by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is the official name for the national church of Finland, but it is supported by several organizations that receive funds from the Church’s tax revenues. Members of the church pay tax to support its activities, and according to Sauna-aho, this was one reason many people gave for their resignation.

The Church said earlier on Tuesday that it did not believe that the campaign could lead to resignations.

The Finnish Lutheran Evangelical Association and the Finnish Lutheran Mission, who receive money from the church’s tax revenue, helped fund the campaign. Other organizers included the Finnish branch of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, the Finnish Bible Studies youth division, the Missionary and humanitarian aid fund, and the Finnish Luther fund.

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