Are Finnish Lutherans “defaming” LGBTQ people?

File:Kitinoja church Seinajoki Finland.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Kitinoja church, Seinajoki, Finland. Photo by Kotivalo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

CW: homophobia

My previous post discussed a 2004 pamphlet published by conservative Lutherans in Finland, whose content has led to charges being brought against the pamphlet’s author, Dr Päivi Räsänen (a member of Finland’s parliament) and Rev Dr Juhana Pohjola, Dean and Bishop Elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (a conservative breakaway from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland).

Prosecutors accuse the pamphlet of “threatening, defaming or insulting” LGBTQ people. Defenders of the pamphlet and of Drs Räsänen and Pohjola portray it as doing nothing more than “articulating historic [by which they mean non-LGBTQ-affirming] Christian teaching on human sexuality”.

My post was quite long (as it quoted the pamphlet at some length), so I thought it would be useful to summarise the key points at which the pamphlet goes far beyond merely “articulating historic Christian teaching on human sexuality”. As detailed in my previous post, the pamphlet’s assertions include:

  • Telling children about the existence of same-sex relationships may turn them gay.
  • Allowing same-sex marriage may turn people gay.
  • Treating same-sex relationships as equal to opposite-sex relationships may encourage sexual abuse of boys by adult men.
  • Children who’ve been sexually abused are more likely to turn out gay.
  • Conversion therapy works and is a good thing.
  • LGBTQ people should be encouraged to feel guilty, and laws that may reduce feelings of guilt among LGBTQ people (such as allowing them to register their relationships legally) are therefore bad.
  • LGBTQ people have lots of casual sex, which is bad.
  • But it’s also bad to encourage LGBTQ people to have stable, committed relationships.
  • LGBTQ relationships hurt the people involved and “perhaps” those close to them, too.
  • Lesbian couples (and single women) shouldn’t be given fertility treatment.
  • Homosexuality (sic) is a developmental disorder, like alcoholism or criminality.
  • Allowing LGBTQ people and relationships to flourish undermines marital morality among straight couples.

I repeat: whatever people’s views on “historic Christian teaching on human sexuality”, they need to be very clear that, when they defend this particular document, they are defending the propositions set out above – all of which, to my mind, are very clearly “threatening, defaming or insulting” LGBTQ people. I hope and pray that any Lutheran church bodies minded to give official support to Drs Räsänen and Pohjola would bear that in mind, and think again.