Archive for October 2010
Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is facing a crisis after a TV programme last week, in which church member and leader of the country’s Christian Democrats, Mrs. Päivi Räsänen, presented a fundamentalist view on the issue.
Immediately after that TV programme was aired, a wake of resignations hit the church, now already exceeding 20 000 and counting.
On Saturday, some 4,500 members resigned from the church. On Sunday, a further 5,600 had quit, according to figures released by the Finnish-language online service eroakirkosta.fi.
Under normal circumstances, resignations total about 400 members over the course of three days.
I think it’s a good thing that this is happening. With homophobic and misogynist statements, churches everywhere are continuing to dig their own graves. What I do find amazing, though, is that homophobic remarks seem to trigger more membership-resignations than reports on the rape, abuse and torture of children, neatly topped by an organized cover-up of those crimes.
It’s not like people didn’t leave the Roman Catholic Church in the aftermath of the child-abuse scandals, but the numbers are nowhere as high as one would expect. The general consensus still seems to be that the continuous abuse of children is to be blamed on a “few bad apples”, and that the church as an organisation carries little if any responsibility.
The public seems quite ready to accept that there is a very real and dangerous connection between the church, the ideology they stand for, and things like homophobia and misogyny, but extremely reluctant to accept that the enormously high rate of child abuse is also a flaw that is innate to the very structure of the church and its absolutist ideology, an inevitable side-effect of how the organisation is run and the twisted ideas of how to deal with human sexuality that they operate under.