“Do not submit!”, or religious propaganda in Finland

There are people that make me wish I was gay.

Mostly religious people who make me want to be as far from their revolting mass of stupidity and smugness as I can.

Suppose a campaign organized by several movements and organizations close to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, aimed at the young, was titled “Älä alistu!” (“Do not submit!”)

What’s your guess, what is that campaign all about?

Could it be a blindingly un-self-aware attack on Islam, which is Arabic for “submission”? (“Do not submit… to that god.”)

Could it have something to do with the sad lives of academic paper referees? (“Do not submit… that crap.”)

Well, neither. It is all about the gays. (“Do not submit… and incidentally, we are clueless asshats!”)

The campaign says the young need not submit to the browbeating of the society, the media, and their friends, and cavort around in blatant homo- and bisexualism. No, they need to listen to God, who will say (a) gay bad, and (b) I cure gay!

The feathers on this dead turkey include all manner of non sequiturs and pop psychologies: the star presentation is the video testimony of one Anni, an “ex-bisexual”, who tells as her understanding of God’s will that it would be wrong to be in a relationship with another woman since one of them would be the “man” in it, and hence would not the able to be a full woman, and being created a full woman with a desire to be a fabulous woman, that would make her and Jesus sad.

I wish I was kidding. (And gay.)

Then it’s with this cavalcade:

  • “but abstinence from sex works okay too”
  • “God can change you”
  • “I prayed and the Ghost came to me!”
  • “I went to this unspecified camp where I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus!”
  • “My girlfriend was so horribly angry when I told I wanted to be a hetero!”
  • “It says in the Bible I must be a hetero!”
  • “I decided I wanted back to Heaven to my Father!”
  • “After half a year of praying God to take this all away, take this attraction, this dirty filthy attraction away, it went away! It was God’s will!”
  • “When I was ready to accept God’s will God changed me!”
  • “It’s difficult to believe such a miracle could happen!”
  • “In the Church people try to shush me, say it’s a private business, but if we don’t talk of God’s will in the Church, where then? Where do people get the seed for talking this over with God?”
  • “All that God’s made is in us, but also all the world’s put into us, i.e. the original sin (and though I will not draw the connection can you see it?)”
  • “I’m a living example of getting rid of that part of oneself!”
  • “I can love women cleanly, purely now! As friends! Nothing more! And it’s better, really!”
  • “I trust in the Bible! I don’t care what people think!”
  • “To encourage others: Accept what you are, bring it to God, and let God talk to you and oh trust him, hear what he says, then ask for help! He can work miracles! He worked for me!”
  • “I need a man by my side!”

and the like, ten minutes of this tripe, propaganda aimed at the mild believers and all the others. That-all ends with Gal 5:1 where the do-not-submit name comes from, and with this triptych:

“Jumala on lahjoittanut sinulle elämän. / Olet vapaa tekemään omat valintasi. / Miten sinä haluat elää?”

That is, “God has gifted you with life. / You’re free to make your own choices. / How do you want to live?”

And the answer apparently is, your choice better be how God wants or you will be wrong, dirty, incomplete and not happy. (At least she didn’t mention hellfire. Apparently not youthful enough.)

The most widely commented quote is this: “If some murderer can redeem himself, why not a homosexual?” (“Jos joku murhaaja pystyy tekemään parannusta, niin miksi ei sitten homokin?”) Which is a brilliant bait: if you scream this equates homosexuals with murderers, the religious odium-thrower can sniffily note this is not exactly what the quote says, and derail the conversation there. Meanwhile, it remains obvious to all readers that it is just impossible to say that sentence unless the equality is in one’s head and one is either incredibly oblivious or wilfully baiting for a reaction.

According to the video Anni is twenty now, has a boyfriend, and dreams of a career in psychology; I assume as a practitioner, not as an exhibit. I wonder how prominently psychological training shows the sad truth of what happens when people try to “cure” homosexuality, whether with prayer or by other means.

The video is narrated in a nervous and (to my ear) occasionally near-teary monotone. It never shows the girl’s face, and says this is for reasons of security. There’s no mention of Anni (“not her real name!”) being harassed prior to the video’s publication, and she doesn’t seem to be in the closet (ha!) about her antipathy, so I assume the anonymity is either to cynically create the appearance of persecution, or because of the likely reaction to the video.

When one goes to visit a random Finnish forum where commenting is allowed, the level of arguments from the antipathy side (whether young or old) does not improve, but vitriol does. One often raised idea is that “Gay bad because if there were no heteros WE WOULD ALL GO EXTINCT snigger snigger let’s see them homos breeding!” Each time I see that one I can’t help thinking, extinct? If only.

As said, this is a campaign by a few more conservative youth and missionary organizations more or less affiliated with the Church, some even funded by the churchgoers’ tax money; but they’re not the Church. Archbishop Kari Mäkinen himself has quickly and loudly cried these prats do not represent the Church’s view. The view apparently is that (a) gays are nice, okay and God accepts you as you are and there’s nothing wrong with being one and oh don’t go away, and (b) because Those Other People are so active in the Church, we’re not going to marry you gays or anything; hope you don’t mind.

The reaction to this can be best clocked by the site eroakirkosta.fi (“leave the church”), which is run by a few freethinking souls and allows you to submit your note of separation electronically, in a matter of minutes. They run statistics; the usual rate is 50 souls lost (eh) per day; some ten times that left yesterday (Tuesday) as this whole fetid mess hit the news fan, and the projection for today (Wednesday) is several times more.

This is small potatoes compared to last October, when in a television debate over the whole gay business Päivi Räsänen (a she), the leader of the Finnish Christian Democrats, the 5% party of those with more religion than humanity, voiced similar views. As did a bishop, as did a few others, while the rest of the debaters did a flat what. Then, too, the poor Archbishop issued a similar protest; but the Church still bled double the rough usual rate of around 40 000 that year.

Here’s for the same more! (See this post and the links in it for more on that.)

(The again, this “usual rate” of 40k per year is accurate only for the past four-five years; looking back a few decades the number of joiners is steady at around 10k or less, while those that leave saw back and forth between that and 80k, with an average of maybe 20k or slightly less. The figure more pleasing to my eyes is the percentage of those baptismed into the Church of all that are born: that’s dropped from 90% to 80% in the last decade. There are around 5 million people in Finland… and one day we will all be free!)

(Free of this particular error, a Lutheran God with a free selection of hateful baggage, anyway.)

(I don’t seem to be able to wrap this post up. Not that leaving the Church equals hardcore insta-atheism, but (I’d say) most Finns are practically atheists already (apatheists?). When they leave the Church, this apathy becomes official. And as they leave, the Church gets less tax money, less prestige, less reason for really humanitarian people to operate under its umbrella; and the Church is one step closer to moving from irrelevance to insignificance to oblivion.)

(Meanwhile, they’re not doing much harm, except these conservative eedjits and their propaganda against healthy sexuality and other modern causes.)

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