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Finland for Thought » Traditions | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

Finland for Thought
             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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Church is Gay

Tags: Politics,Traditions — Author:   @ 4:55 pm

The Finnish national broadcaster YLE had a tv-debate over Church and gays last Tuesday, aptly named Homoilta (Gay Night), there has been propositions of amending the law for gay marriage, or actually “gender-neutral-marriage” that would replace the current marriage laws and registered partnership laws. The debate went fine – so fine that after listening to the Christian Democrat’s Päivi Räsänen and Evangelic-Lutheran reverend Leena Huovinen and bishop of Tampere Matti Repo voice their opinions, a record of 5500 church members have so far resigned through the free-thinkers’ website www.eroakirkosta.fi in only four days. Update Monday 18.10, the amount has risen to 20 000, normally there is a peak in December as the “church tax” (*) liability depends on the membership at the end of the year. As the average payment of tax per member is 300 euros, its estimated the church has lost about 6 million euros.

(*) To those readers who are unfamiliar with Finland, the Ev-Lut. Church is one of the “State Churches” with taxation rights, to which traditionally 85% of the population belongs – and pays about 2% church tax – how many people actually go to church on a Sunday is maybe 2% of that, most people seldom visit unless its for a baptism, confirmation, wedding or funeral. The church also gets taxes from businesses, which none of them are tax-exempt, so tbe it a halal butcher or a kosher bakery – all pay taxes to the Ev-Lut Church. The church does have obligations, such as maintaining graveyards etc. but most of its historical chores, such as keeping population data has been taken over by the government.

The new archbishop Kari Mäkinen is “bewildered and sorry” of the reaction. He would rather see people would stay as members and voice their opinions within the church, but I guess the old “voting with your feet” and with your purse is a more effective way to convey your message. This might imply, that the conservative opinion within the church and among Finns has seen a rise, but people do then also vote with their feet as for some conservatives the church has had too liberal opinions. Tightrope walking trying to please everyone.

For those who understand Finnish (and can get the feed) http://areena.yle.fi/video/1354542
No doubt it’ll eventually end up in youtube with subtitles.


How to avoid serving in the Finnish army

Every male Finnish citizen must join the army or face the consequences. It’s 2010, yet the country still fears Russia could invade at any moment (after their embarrassment during the winter war, the Ruskies willl be sure to attack during the summer) …yet the Russians haven’t scared the Finns enough to join NATO – so at about age 18, fresh out of high school, Finnish boys leave home for the first time and spend six months running around in the woods.

The women folk say, “They leave as boys, and come back as men!”, but it’s more like, “They leave as boys, and come back as alcoholic boys.”

Why don’t Finnish women have to join the army?

Finnish law states that Finnish women are paid 20% less than their male counterpart for doing the exact same job. (Also, “periods” and “childbirth” are cited as being tougher than joining the army)

This sounds like a shit deal – how do I weasel my way out?

Most Finnish boys join the army fresh out of high school, right before their first year in college (or working at Hesburger), so they don’t piss away six months of their life later on, when life really matters. Finns have up until their 30th birthday to join or else they’re sent to prison. But if you have trouble holding on to slippery soap in the shower, here’s some army alternatives…

Civil Service – Would you rather fingerbang your girlfriend than sleep in tents with boys? Well then join the civil service…and everyone will say you’re “gay”! Or you’re “a communist”. Instead of six months in the forest, you’ll spend one year performing some meaningless task for the state. You get to enjoy yourself like any young adult should, but the entire Finnish society will ridicule you until you die: Your father will be ashamed of you, your friends will make fun of you, your neighbors will talk behind your back, and your future perspective employers will turn you down from jobs.

Become a Jehovah’s Witness – All other religions must do their civic duty, but somehow the Jehovah’s Witnesses are immune because violence is against their religion. Do you also believe in non-violence but don’t believe in some sort of magical sky daddy who won’t wake you from the dead until the Earth is free of sin? Tough sky-shit! But the JW’s have a civic duty of their own: knocking on stranger’s doors and handing out copies of The Watchtower. I don’t know about you, but I’d take six months in the forest or a lifetime of being gay over that!

Don’t be Finnish – If you’re a foreigner in Finland, and you’re thinking of applying for Finnish citizenship cause you met some cute blonde chic, and now you’d like to impress your friends back home with dual-citizenship…wait until your 30th birthday – then you don’t need to join the army. It’ll take you until you’re 30 years-old anyways to learn Finnish to pass the citizenship exam, so don’t worry. (or in my case, until I’m 90)

Flee the country – Definitely the longest alternative – some have chosen to flee the country for several years hoping that their prison sentence will have expired upon their return. …just like Bill Clinton.

Don’t Pass Go, Go Directly to Jail – Finnish prisons aren’t so bad. In fact they’re some of the finest in the world. There’s more freedoms than North Korea, cooler weather than Afghanistan, and better food than Great Britian. Zing!

Tell’em you’re gay! – Wrong country, that only works in the United States.

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