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Hate mail sent to Bishop for blessing same-sex missionary couple

Helsinki Bishop Irja Askola has received hundreds of hate-filled messages and letters condemning her announcement on Sunday that she had selected a same-sex couple to do missionary work in Asia.

Irja Askola
Irja Askola Image: Yle

Many of the threats contained religious elements and several of them came from Christians who see homosexuality as a sin. Some of the writers also accused Askola of splitting up the church.

Askola told Ilta-Sanomat that while much of the feedback she was negative, she also received positive messages of encouragement and support.

She said that the decision to select the same sex couple was not a statement about the church’s stance concerning same sex marriage; rather it was the couple’s skills which got them selected.

The announcement to send the two men to the Mekong region -  which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province, China -  was made at the national mission party held in Helsinki on Sunday.

Askola was elected as Helsinki’s bishop of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, the first female to hold that post, in June of 2010.

The national church is Finland's largest religious body and one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world.

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